Saturday, July 13, 2013

Fred Shoemaker and Morgan Hoffman

One of my favorite people in the business of training golfers is Fred Shoemaker.  His book, Extraordinary Golf, is one of my favorites.  We had the opportunity to work with Fred while I was coaching at Texas A&M and I can honestly say, he made a huge difference to our team that year.  He told us a story that went something like this;

Fred Shoemaker Photo from shivas.org


"You are on the first tee of a big tournament.  There is a gallery and you are nervous.  You step up to the tee, go through your routine and top the ball into the rough in front of the tee."  He then asked, "How do you respond?"

The team answered with the usual responses, such as embarrassment, more nervousness, fear that you will do it again, anger, and dread for the day.  Fred nodded.  He then told us this story;

"You are on the first tee of a big tournament.  There is a gallery and you are nervous.  You step up to the tee, go through your routine and top the ball into the rough in front of the tee.  You go on to shoot 68 and win the tournament."  Again he asked, "How do you respond?"

The team answered differently.  First, they asked, "I win?" and Fred answered, "Yes, you win."  They then answered with responses such as refocus, laugh it off, deep breath and find a target, smile, bear down and get determined. 

If you knew that one shot had no effect on any other shot in your round, would that shot bother you?

Would you go into a "fixit" mode and start thinking mechanics?  Would you beat yourself up for not making a good swing?  Would you abandon your game plan?  Would you walk with your head down?  Would you give up on yourself?  Probably not.

This bears the question, can you choose how you want to act on the golf course instead of being reactive to results?  YES!

Morgan Hoffman had that experience yesterday.  Here is his card:


Morgan started on the back nine on day two and made an 8 on his second hole.  At that point, he was +6 for the event on a cut day with the number at -4.  He was 10 shots off the cut.  He followed his quadruple bogey with a par, probably got himself together and then shot -10 on his next 15 holes to make the cut on the number.  Morgan obviously held to Fred's belief that no shot or no hole needs to have an effect any other shot or hole, UNLESS YOU ALLOW IT TO AFFECT YOU!

Morgan Hoffman at the Walker Cup


The tours have countless examples of this competitiveness weekly.  Rarely is it this dramatic, but it serves to prove a point that to make it to the highest level of the game, you must be more than a ball striker and a great putter.  You must be a competitor.

The next blog is going to talk about competition on the golf course.  I am halfway through it, but I was so excited for Morgan Hoffman's ability to compete that I had to stop and blog about it.  There are a lot of examples of players getting out of their own way lately.  There was a 59 by a young man (I'm not allowed to mention the name of a student-athlete) at the North South.  There was a 60 in Utah by Chad Collins.  Lucas Glover shot 62 yesterday at Deere Run and barely got a mention.  Michael Allen shot a 63 at the U.S. Senior Open yesterday.  Fuzzy Zoeller had some advice for Allen going forward in the tournament.  He said, "Go play like you're broke."  In other words, go out there and compete! 

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