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Mental Game
Sand Traps       Wind       Water Hazards
Andy's Story
      The first golfer I helped was my older brother of three years, Andy. Living across the street from a golf course; we played a lot of golf. He was a pretty good golfer, but three years his younger, I was the better golfer. Andy had a terrible hook, along with a short temper-not well suited for golf. When I got a little older(10 years old), he was finally able to take advice from his little brother!
      Andy had a really strong grip but he set up right of the target as well as playing the ball back in his stance and teeing the ball too low. I told him to weaken his left hand; play the ball further to the front; raise the tee or get longer ones; and the hardest thing was to convince him he was going to have some bad shots but don't let it make him mad. I told him the game of golf is a game of misses not where you want the ball to go, but accept it and playing the next shot without anger and rage.
    I am not sure the last tip was always successful, but when he made the adjustments, he became a really good golfer. Andy now lives on a golf course and plays well to this day. Most importantly, he knows how to have FUN.

Torrey Pines Golf Course, CA
      Golf not only requires physical ability and endurance, but requires the right mental frame of mind and discipline. It can be hard to at times to concentrate for a four to five hour round of golf. Along with trying to keep your head into the round for so long, you also have to overcome the shots that you really have a problem with. The problem may be it getting out of sand, playing in the wind, or hitting over water.
Torrey Pines Golf Course, CA
Sand Traps
      Hitting out of the sand is a real problem for most average golfers. Number one, you really don't practice this shot. Yeah, don't kid yourself. But hitting a few balls from a practice bunker doesn't really count. The tour pro hits hundreds of practice sand shots every week and they never have to put up with the crappy bunkers like we do. There are a lot of reasons we suck in the sand. It could be that the sand might not be sand; but in fact it is just dirt! Disregarding this, even if it has good sand, few golfers like to hit out of a bunker. The best way to be a GREAT sand player is to NOT get into the bunker in the first place. This is why I am a good bunker player. I avoid them at all cost.
      Unfortunately we all get in the sand once in a while. I have found that the best way to deal with this is to make sure you are using the right club. If the sand is hard you don't want to use your sand wedge as it has a lot of bound, which is the worst thing you could use. When the sand is hard you need to pick a club that has less bounce; like a nine iron or lob wedge.
      When you are not in a greenside bunker you most likely don't what to use your sand wedge. Depending on the height of the lip, you have to make sure you use the correct lofted iron to clear the bunker. After you determine which club you need to clear the bunker, make sure you get good solid contact with the ball. It doesn't make sense to take the club you may need to reach the green if it doesn't get the ball out of the bunker. Just take you licks and go on.
      Remember you want to hit just behind the ball - not hit the ball. The sand between the ball and club face will get the ball out. The exception would be when you are in fairway bunker you need to hit the ball and sand at the same time. At this time I am not going into details about this shot, but I will cover this at a later time.
Torrey Pines Golf Course, CA
      Hitting when there is a cross wind can be a real struggle as it will accentuate your slice or hook. A lot of golfers try to hit their natural shape into the direction of the wind, hopping that this will make their shot go straight. This is NOT going to happen!
      It is much better to let the cross wind take your slice or hook with the wind, but you need to aim further to the right or left to compensate for the wind. Believe me it is much better to ride the wind than try to fight it. The reason for this is that if you play a hook and try to hook it into the cross wind and you don't hook it the wind will push it out of bounds or in the rough or worst.

Torrey Pines Golf Course, CA
Water Hazards
      Water hazard give most people the most trouble. It's not usually the actual water, it is just they can see it; the mind fixates on it; and in it goes. I had mentioned previously, my friend Bert had a real mental problem; he just couldn't shoot over a water hazard, as he usually dumped it in the water or just completely missed his shot. I instructed him to take one to two extra clubs and swing real easy and try to concentrate on the back of the green or something past where he needed to land. It wasn't easy for him at first, but when it finally clicked, he was able to play a shot over water.
      When you are on the tee try to look at a target much further than you can drive because most of the time you will be short of your target. This will take the pressure off trying to pin point the actual distance where your drive will end up. The other benefit to doing this is you will most likely get more distance out of your drive. Trust me it works!
Torrey Pines Golf Course, CA

Distance Marker Chart
Distance Colors
250 yards Yellow
200 yards Blue
150 yards White
100 yards Red
Verify Colors at Pro Shop before you begin. Distance is to the center of the green unless the marker says otherwise. Sprinkler heads might be the markers.
No matter how you spell it, you found the right place.