Golf

Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect

Golf is not a game of perfect, Dr. Bob Rotella, Golf Book

Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect
Dr. Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen

It’s funny how often I feel like I just don’t play to my potential. How often I seem to crumble under pressure or never really get going after a bad start. Does this sound like you?

As I was playing the other week, partnered up with a new group, I got talking to one of the players. He was telling me about how he had changed his mental approach to the game. He said he’d taken his game down a few strokes by simply focussing on the things that matter. He credited this new found focus to a book. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not that cynical and am a huge believer in the mental aspect of the game and how it can help or hinder you, though how powerful could a book really be? He was convinced it could help me. So one week later, what do I think?

In one word, YES!

This book was quite a revelation. A revelation of common sense and things that I really deep down understood and knew. So, probably not that much of a revelation after all! However, it is written in a way that really speaks to me and provides a validating clarity for some of the things I often question.

The way he describes the approaches to the mental game and the stories he tells about his work with tour pros are insightful and very helpful. Bob Rotella understands that “Winners learn to accept the swing they bring to the course on any given day and score with it”. This is one of my problems. “Without realizing it, they’re (me, and probably many golfers) doing everything possible to undermine their own game”. Some of the quotes that tell me I’m doing damage to my game were spelt out clearly in this book. Things like; “A little doubt or a little indecision is sufficient to impair performance”, “Dwelling on mechanics or trying to correct a swing flaw in the middle of a round (is hurtful)” or “The important thing is to adjust (to your swing for the day). Too many players get obsessed with straightening out a hook or a slice that they could simply play with. Without realising it, they change their goal from shooting their best score to fixing their swing.” These are all things I am guilty of!

One of the strong themes that runs through this book is that “The foundation of consistency is a sound pre-shot routine.” and that confidence and deciding to be confident is very important. He describes techniques used by many pros such as visualising and having a 100% focus on what the ball will do. Some of these ideas are described in such straight forward terms like, “Confidence at the level of any shot is nothing more than thinking about your ball going to the target. If you’re thinking about the ball going to the target, you’re confident.”

Of course as golfers we know these things can be very hard to do. Dr. Rotella states, “A golfer chokes when he lets anger, doubt, fear or some other extraneous factor distract him before a shot”. This book tries to teach you about how important the mental game is and how you can work on becoming a mentally stronger golfer. He also understands that golf is about mechanics and that without sound mechanics you’re still going to have a high handicap. He gives meaningful tips about practise and how to maximise this time working on both mechanics and the mental game.

For me, this book answers a lot of questions about why I can shoot par on the front nine and then 7 or 8 over on the back, or vice versa. I can feel my mental game drifting. Sometimes, I just can not seem to get back in that place where I’m scoring well. This book tells me that it is something I need to work on. To sustain that focus and be able to stay “loose and trusting” throughout a round requires commitment and focus. My mental game needs training just like my swing.

If this sounds like you, I would definitely recommend this book. An easy read with realistic and helpful advice. You just have to be ready to hear it like I was.

“In the end, you will realise that you love golf because of what it teaches you about yourself”. Dr. Bob Rotella got that spot on. Because what I learn on the course definitely helps me off the course too.

Do you have a book that helped your game? Golf Blog Australia would love to hear. Feel free to leave a comment.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

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Adam Scott Number 1!

Well, it’s been a long time coming. Finally we have another world number 1!

Adam probably doesn’t feel it’s a massive thing given he’s been around the top ten since 2004. Then again, maybe he feels like I’m sure every Australian who love the game – unbelievably awesome!

Well done Adam! It has been such a long time since Norman held the spot and I’m sure the whole nation of golfers here in Australia have the same grin I do tonight.

Send Adam a congratulations here at the PGA Australia website.

Golf Blog Australia wishes you all the best in holding the spot and a great year ahead for Australian golf.

What an inspiration. Just what the up-and-coming juniors and golf in general in Australia love to see. A world number 1!

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Sandhurst Golf Course (North)

Sandhusrt Golf Club is the home of the PGA Australia. It is located in the prestigious sand belt of Melbourne. As you would expect, the golfing complex is amazing, with fantastic practice and teaching areas, and boasts two 18 hole championship courses (Champions and North).

When I was presented with the opportunity to play, I didn’t hesitate! Very fortunately, teaching comes with a wonderful perk – school holidays! One of my former colleagues had recently turned professional and started a traineeship. He plays tournaments regularly and often has the chance to bring along a friend. Finally it was my chance.

With a 7:30 meet, for an 8:00 shotgun start, it was early as I made my way to the course. It was one of those drives through the mist that seemed to promise a magical day. As I got there (way too early – very excited!) the sun was starting to come up over the 9th green. Amazing view, coffee in hand, life is just awesome, right?

The course has a great layout with a real mix of holes. Long and short par fours, threes and fives. There are some holes that do present with great scoring opportunities if you want to be aggressive. But all are well guarded and the price will be paid if you miss in the wrong spots. The fairways are wide in places but demanding in others. All holes feature well placed fairway and green side bunkers. The greens were a real highlight; firm, fast and true.

The course was in immaculate condition. Tees, fairways, greens and bunkers could not be faulted. Well done to the green staff here, what a job.

I really enjoyed the experience. The following would have to be my favourite holes on the day…

The 3rd: A 181 meter par three titled “Wall”. This hole has a fairly straight forward tee shot with plenty of room to miss on the right hand side. The green is large and features gentle undulations that run off the green in some parts. The green is guarded left and also long by a 4 foot stone wall. Missing either direction would be very damaging to your scorecard!

Sandhurst Golf Course, The Wall, Sandhurst Golf Course  North,

Sandhurst Golf Course 3rd “The Wall”

The 9th: A long par five at 512 meters. This hole has water running all the way up the left hand side, fairway bunkers that sit right in the middle and a moat that crosses in front of the green. Danger lurks everywhere here! The smart play is to drive well away from the water and fairway bunkers. Consider hitting a shorter club because going at this green for 2 is almost unthinkable (didn’t stop me from trying!). Layup to a comfortable shot and shoot for the center of the green from there.

Sandhurst Golf Course 9th, Bluidy burn, Sandhurst Golf Course North

Sandhurst Golf Course 9th “Bluidy Burn”

The 18th: A longish length par 4 at 392 meters. What a finishing hole. It is again guarded by water down the left. Well positioned bunkers in the fairway make for a demanding drive. The play here is to go long center right to avoid the shorter bunkers. This will leave a tricky approach over the fairway bunkers to a long narrow green. Putting is difficult as the green has some large undulations. A magnificent finishing hole which again rewards the brave. I could just imagine trying to finish a tournament on this demanding hole with the club rooms in the background.

Sandhurst Golf Course 18th, Woe Betide, Sandhurst Golf Course North

Sandhurst Golf Course 18th “Woe Betide”

All in all, a very tough course with some challenging holes which require power, precision and a good short game. What an amazing day and great company. After all, that’s what I love about this great game; the camaraderie amongst the group – the applause of good shots and the slurs for the bad ones. It’s not everyday you get to have a potential pro helping look for your lost ball in the water, rough, trees, moat…!

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Metropolitan Golf Course

Recently, I was lucky enough to play Metropolitan Golf Course and well, it really is a treat!

From the moment you arrive and see the immaculately manicured lawns and gardens you know you’re in for something special. Everything about this course exudes luxury, precision and a feeling of excellence. The new clubrooms are modern and spacious however I still love the hallway in the old building which meanders past photos of previous champions into the change rooms full of beautiful wooden lockers and Record Round boards featuring names like Greg Norman. You know your game’s going to be tested. In particular your sand game – bunkers, bunkers and more, yes, bunkers! Everyone of them beautifully presented and challenging.

This course really does deserve to be ranked in the top courses in Australia. Condition is amazing and the layout has a variety of holes which are just awesome. Every hole presents you with decisions to make and really will test your abilities both with the club in your hands and also your mind.

As you head out to the first tee, the green grass rolls like perfect carpet around the open practice area and surrounding greens. You can’t really help but feel like a Pro about to embark on a major championship. The nerves begin to rise and your heart pumps as you stand over the ball on the opening hole.

I really enjoyed almost all the holes on the course but the following would have to be my favourites…

The 2nd: A 160 meter par 3. The green is very generous as with most of the holes here. The drive is quite demanding to hit. Visually a tight hole with bunkers defending the green short left,  mid right and left, and long left. The play here is to shoot for the center of the green.

Metropolitan Golf Course 2nd

Metropolitan Golf Course 2nd

The 6th: A fantastic 470 meter par 5. This hole would have to be my favourite on the course. You need to drive the ball keeping it out to the left and short of the bunker. From here you can take a long club and have a go at the green, but beware avoiding the bunkers will be difficult. The safer choice is to lay up and hit a wedge in. The bunkers long are real trouble. Making par from there will be very, very difficult.

Metropolitan Golf Course 6th

Metropolitan Golf Course 6th

 

Metropolitan Golf Course 6th

Metropolitan Golf Course 6th Green

The 16th: At 345 meters this par 4 is not very long but the green is hidden around a dogleg right. From the tee you have choices. Go long and shape it around the corner and leave yourself an easy pitch or chip. Get this wrong though and you’re in the deep pot playing a long bunker shot or running the ball through into trouble. The smart play is to layup and play a full short iron into the green which is well guarded by very difficult bunkers.

Metropolitan Golf Course 16th

Metropolitan Golf Course 16th

 

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

 

Tip: How to Re-Grip a Golf Club

It makes sense that one of the most important components of a golf club is the grip – it’s the only part we actually have any physical connection with.

I have changed my own grips before and to be honest, it’s not that hard. Cheap, easy and rewarding (as is the case with most jobs you do yourself). There’s certainly no need to be afraid of giving it a go.

A friend of mine has been playing with the same set of clubs for a very long time. The other day I noticed his grips were shiny, hard and cracked – probably due for a change about 10 years ago! – so I offered to help him out.

You can use grip tape or rubber cement to attach grips. I have incorporated directions for both methods in my tutorial below.

What you need:

– Grips
– Grip Tape
– Solvent (Mineral Turpentine)
– Cutting Blade (Hook)
– Masking Tape
– Vice
– Rubber Shaft Holder
– Plastic Container
– Rag
– Air Compressor (Not essential but handy)

What to do:

How to re-grip a golf club

STEP 1 Secure your club and mark the alignment.
Secure your club in the vice using the rubber shaft holder. Don’t over-tighten the vice as you may damage the shaft. Just make it tight enough to hold it in place. A lot of grips have marking which need to be aligned with the face of the club and set square.
TIP: Place a piece of masking tape around the base of the grip (on the shaft). Use a ruler and mark where the old grip is set. This will allow you to align the new grip exactly like the old one. If you feel comfortable you can always align it later on by eye.

How to re-grip a golf club

STEP 2 Remove the old grip.
Cut the grip off using the cutting blade. Try not to cut into the shaft, particularly if you are working with a graphite shaft. A hook blade will make this much easier. Start at the bottom and cut back up towards the butt of the club.
TIP: If you have an air compressor, and your grips are still in good condition,  you may be able to remove them without damage by inserting a small air tool into the back of the grip to break the bond and then sliding them off.

How to re-grip a golf club

STEP 3 Remove the old grip tape or adhesive.
Remove the old grip tape or adhesive. This can be the hardest part of the job. To make it easier you can use a  plastic scourer dipped in mineral spirits. Make sure that the shaft is clean and free of any residue or dust. Take extra care when working with graphite shafts not to damage the shaft.

How to re-grip a golf club

STEP 4 Prepare the new adhesive.
Peel the backing off one side then place the tape onto the shaft. Carefully remove the backing from the second side. Wrap the tape around the shaft making sure it is even and there are no bubbles (not the end of the world if you do get a small one).
Pour some of the mineral spirits into the grip. Don’t forget to put your finger (or a tee) over the small hole in the butt of the grip so the spirits remain trapped inside. Shake the grip to coat the inside. Remove your finger (or tee) from the hole then pour the mineral spirits onto the grip tape (this will make the sticky glue on the tape slippery for a while).

How to re-grip a golf club

STEP 5 Put the new grip on.
Slide the grip onto the club, ensuring that you have pushed it all the way down. Align the new grip markings square with the clubface or if your placed masking tape to show you where square is then line them up with the mark you made on the tape. This can be easier if you remove the club from the vice and hold it facing down. Leave the club to allow the glue to bond. I generally wait overnight.
TIP: If you are having trouble getting the grip onto the shaft and aligning it, an air compressor makes this step very easy. Just attach the air nozzle into the hole in the butt of the grip and blow as you slide it on and align the grip.

STEP 6 Clean up.
Use a rag to remove any excess glue or spirits. Remove the masking tape you used for alignment.

I hope you find this tutorial useful and your re-gripping project rewarding.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Whittlesea Golf Course

I got the opportunity to catch up with some friends today at Whittlesea Golf Club. I have not played there for a while now and it was great to have another look at this interesting and demanding layout.

The layout is fairly long with a handful of longer par fours, interesting par threes and shorter par fives. There’s lots of water in play and you can choose to take it on if your’re brave. It makes scoring much easier if you take this approach and just a little treacherous! This keeps things interesting and the scoring ticking over if you have the length to reach the par fives.

As summer has just ended I was expecting the course to be quite dry. I know that the course has watering for the greens and tees however the fairways only get rainfall. To my surprise the course has held up well over summer. Of course there were dry patches and some very thin lies, but all in all there were enough green patches around to place your ball on (card span) using preferred lies.

I think the biggest surprise was the condition of the tees and greens. They presented well with a good cover and rolled quite well (though a little slower and softer than I was used too). I noticed around the course that the very few bunkers they have are being filled in and mounded which I think is a really smart move – much easier to maintain, cheap, look good and don’t cause a heart ache for the unsuspecting golfer! The other thing I noticed is that there were some growing Kikuyu patches starting to spread around the fairways. I’m pretty sure they had been planted years ago and are still providing cover. Slowly but surely these patches will thatch together and give good cover. It would be great to see them actively planting more of these patches to speed up the process.

I have always enjoyed the layout and my time at Whittlesea Golf Course. These are some of my favourite holes…

Whittlesea Golf Course

Tapping in for birdie on the 5th

The 5th: At 341 meters it’s a mid length par four which requires a good drive as the fairway curves left to right and up a hill. Position is key to scoring well here, too short and you’re blocked out, too long and you’re in the bushes. Once you find yourself in the fairway with a look at the green you will need to negotiate an uphill approach to a double tier green that slopes from back to front and right to left. Find yourself on the wrong tier and a three putt is a real possibility.

Whittlesea Golf Course

The tee and green on the 8th at Whittlesea

The 8th: A short par three at 127 meters. You will need to keep the ball left here as the right side of the hole slopes severely down and the next shot will be very difficult. You do have room to the left here and you can use the bank (side of the hill) to roll the ball onto the green. A fairly straight forward green but being below the flag will help a lot.

Whittlesea Golf Course

13th at Whittlesea. Tee, Approach and Green

The 13th: My favourite on the course. A longer par four at 373 with water in play all the way down the right side. Bomb it long here and you’ll have a chance to score. The approach difficulty really depends on the drive. Leave it short and you’ll have to carry water and avoid more water to the right of the green. Hit it long and you’ll have a much eaiser short iron into the two tier green. Put the ball anywhere towards the centre of the green and a two putt here should be a piece of cake!

I hope to return to Whittlesea Golf Club soon for another game and to check out their fantastic looking clubrooms. Well worth a visit.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Cobra Tour Trusty Wedges

Cobra Wedge, Cobra Golf

Appearance
A very nice looking club with a traditional shape. They are a good size and looking down at them they instil a feeling of confidence.
Putting the clubs down at address they have a very straight leading edge with minimal to no offset. They look like precision clubs that are aggressive and ready to tackle any challenge.
The top line is not too thin and the club sits squarely on the ground making it easy to get your alignment right.
The clubs are a matte silver colour which reduces glare and the back K Notch section is polished to a shiny silver. They have a nice orange printed name on the back with great branding and graphics which gives the clubs a prestigious look – you know that the designers have thought about both performance and aesthetics. You have a real feeling that you’re playing with some very special clubs.

Tour Trusty, Cobra, Cobra Golf

Tour Trusty, Cobra, Cobra Golf

Performance
Before I talk too much about performance let’s look at some of the technology in these clubs. Cobra says their “15% larger and wider cnc milled grooves create more spin and control trajectory on even the shortest wedge shots”, that the “Notch K-Grind Sole optimises performance and versatility” and their “Proprietary Variable feed Rate (VfR) milling delivers optimised surface roughness across the face to maximise spin on all shots”.
These clubs perform very well from tight fairway lies, thick rough and also from the sand. There is no doubt that these clubs are designed to spin. They rip the ball and I found myself being able to spin the ball back on full shots, sometimes too far, coming off the green. There is no doubt that the larger grooves and milling works based on the fact I managed to control spin from even long rough! After about two months of use the spin is still good and I find the spin a bit more controllable now. I guess the milling is a bit duller. All this extra spin is great when it comes to shorter chip shots, I am really able to control the ball when I make an aggressive downward strike.
The thing that I love most about these wedges is the K-Grind Sole. I often find myself in tricky positions around greens and need to open the club up to play flop shots. This club, while feeling a bit larger and heavier in my hands (which I like because it gives me a good feeling of where the club head is during the swing), seems to be able to open up with the leading edge very flat to the ground. This ensures you are able to slide through the turf and pick the ball up nice and clean – no chance of a thin (unless you get it wrong)!
The shaft and grip are amazing. They feel great in the hands and the shaft is well suited to the club, giving it a responsive, positive and solid feel at impact. Even shots that find the toe and heel feel pretty good and travel well through the air. I find that I hit these clubs fairly high and they land very soft with plenty of spin to stop the ball.

Tour Trusty, Cobra, Cobra Golf

Price
At around $135 AUD these wedges are great value.

Specifications
These wedges come in two degree increments. They are available in 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64 degree options. The 56 and 60 degree models come in two bounce options.
All wedges come with Dynamic Gold S200 shafts and Golf Pride New Decade Multicompound grips.

Cobra Tour Trusty, Cobra, Wedges

Recommendation
I would recommend these wedges to just about anyone from low markers to mid to high handicappers. If you are in the market for new wedges then do yourself a favour and try these out.

The clubs tested were: 56° with 12° of bounce and 60° with 6° of bounce.

For more information on these wedges visit Cobra Tour Trusty.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

All opinions expressed are my own. Information accurate at time of publication.

Review: Heidelberg Golf Course

I guess if I’m going to write reviews on courses then a good place to start would be with the course I’m a member at. Heidelberg golf course has come along way in the time I have played there (around four years now). The Santa Ana fairways have established well and provide a lush consistent surface to hit from. Unlike some other courses they are not cut too firm which always gives you a chance to be aggressive with your shots.

The greens are always in great condition and roll true. I’d say they would be the real strength of the course, however constant work means other areas are fast closing-in on being the ‘draw card’.

This course always presents a challenge. You need to be able to work the ball left and right, play disciplined shots for position (if you want a good chance to score well) and read the subtle breaks on the greens.  I find it to have a good mix of longer and shorter holes all of which can be played aggressively to give yourself a chance to make birdies but each with elements of risk. The straight hitter will manage this course well. Going in the thick trees will almost always result in a punch to safety.

I have a few favourite holes to play…

The 2nd: A 165 meter par three. It’s the first real challenge to negotiate. This hole has water left and the thin, wide green is guarded by bunkers front and back. The smart play here is to shoot for the right side of the  green and try to putt at it from there.

Heidelberg Golf Course

2nd at Heidelberg

The 12th: A reasonable length par four at 365 meters. This hole is one that can be attacked, however if you get your drive wrong (left or right) you’ll be struggling to make par. A well positioned drive gives you a chance to attack with a mid to short iron. There are three pot bunkers to the right and a larger bunker to the left. This green can play difficult with a slope from back to front. Finish above the hole and you’ll need to putt with care.

Heidelberg Golf Course

12th at Heidelberg

The 18th: A fantastic finishing hole which requires a drawing drive to get close enough to play a short iron. Push the drive and you’ll still get a good look at it however you will have a much longer shot in. Again, this green is guarded by three well positioned bunkers which require good management (and execution) to avoid. This green is one of the more friendly on the course and gives you a reasonable chance to make birdie if you find yourself on in regulation.

Heidelberg Golf Course

18th at Heidelberg

This is my impression of the course and a few of my favourite holes. It is a fairly demanding course and requires a lot of committed shot making. If you haven’t already, I hope you get a chance to play Heidelberg one day. If so, please feel free to let me know what your favourite holes are.

 Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Image sources: Heidelberg Golf Club

Welcome to Golf Blog Australia

Welcome to Golf Blog Australia.

I’m Luke. A school teacher with a passion for sport, in particular golf.

My home course is Heidelberg Golf Club where I play off a reasonable handicap which sits somewhere around 10.

As I’m sure is the case with many golf enthusiasts, I was hooked the moment I struck that first ball! Some of my fondest memories center around my early experiences with golf – playing with family, laughing at badly hit shots (which were more frequent than the good ones!), or just spending time with my father and messing around with my two brothers.

I still regard these early days as the real gems in my golfing life. My dad passed away several years ago though I still think about him every time I go for a hit. I even carry some of his old gear in my bag for good luck – I’m sure it will start working soon!

I’ve been fortunate to have played some of Victoria’s best courses, including Kingston Heath, Moonah Links, Metropolitan, Huntingdale and many more. Over the years I have had many second-hand sets of clubs from Prosimmon to Titleist Blades and Taylormade Cavity Blades. I only just recently bought my first set of brand new clubs (more about them in My Bag). I have an unusual style, hitting all of my shots right handed and putting left! Yes, I know it’s strange but you should see me play tennis! I’ve always been able to strike the ball well but control is often a problem for me.

I have a young family with two children under three. Time is not what it used to be. Practise and more than one game a week is difficult to manage but every now and then the wife unchains me and I get out. Being a teacher I’m also lucky to have school holiday time which usually allows me to string a few more rounds together. I often find my game improving in this time.

This blog will chronicle my golf progress and experiences as I attempt to improve my game (maybe even get a lesson or two!) along with featuring equipment and course reviews, so feel free to stick around and follow along.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia