PGA Tour player Cameron Tringale took the time after his 3rd round at last weeks Shell Houston Open to speak with our high school junior golfers and their parents about how he practices. Golf is the worst trained sport. Why do we train different than all other athletes?

The main focus of our talk was about how to train for performance (lower scores) on the golf course. It doesn’t matter how it looks, it matters how many shots it takes you to get it in the hole!

Me: How much does technique factor in to being a “good golfer”?

Cameron: “I would say less than 10%. There are guys out here that have perfect Trackman launch monitor numbers, and their swings look perfect on video – but they suck – well don’t suck, but you’ve never heard their name. Technique plays a part in playing good golf – you need to hit the ball consistently solid, then understand what direction the ball is going to fly. Once you establish and understand your ball flight, you need to turn off the trackman and video and get creative, learn how to hit shots and be as competitive in your practice as you can. Challenge yourself through games and drills in your practice, so when you get to the golf course it will seem easy.

Me: Well we aren’t PGA Tour players, but these players have taken private lessons for a while, shoot 70’s-80’s, how would this apply to them?

Cameron: Same way. You might need to spend a little more time on technique to get the swing to a decent position, but you don’t need a perfect swing. You need to learn how to play golf and be creative to hit different shots. You don’t get that by working on your swing technique the entire practice.

Me: What is your pre shot routine like? Do you have swing thoughts?

Cameron: Depending on how that feel that day I might have a swing thought. I typically like to have a swing thought – but that’s just me.

Me: How many swing thoughts? 1,2,3…?

Cameron: 1 swing thought at the most, anything more than that and my head would be spinning! Typically my swing thought is transition (top of the swing) and i add an element of tempo to combine with my swing thought. Some days I have a really good feel, hitting it well and all I think about is the shot I am going to hit and consistent tempo.
If a PGA Tour player cannot think about 1 swing thought, why do we try to think about 5 different swing positions in our golf swing? It’s not possible!

Me: How do you make corrections on the course when you are not hitting it well that day?

Cameron: First thing you always have to ask yourself when hitting a poor shot is – How committed to the shot was I – did I completely trust it? (post shot routine) If your answer is no, then you cannot blame it on a specific swing technique flaw. My first goal is to execute my pre shot routine, establish good feel for each shot in my practice swings then commit to that feel and hit the shot. If I notice I am fully committing and trusting the shot and see a pattern of mishits throughout the round (you keep slicing it right), I will then find one key thought to implement to fix that flaw. After the round, I will go work on that technical flaw until I feel comfortable with it and then focus on my feel so I can apply it on the course in my next round.
Most amateurs will miss it right and left throughout their round because they do not ever commit to their shot. This makes it impossible to identify the swing flaw and fix it since you do not have a consistent pattern – trust each shot, focus on tempo – then see what your ball is doing!

What you should learn from the talk with Cameron Tringale
The same key elements that apply to tour players to play well, apply to the avid amateur golfer. The problem is, we start golfers with a golf lesson whether they are beginner or intermediate and focus solely on the technique of the golf swing. What other sport do you train this way? When you started little league baseball, you started with a practice then went to games. It wasn’t until you wanted to be a high level baseball player did you start taking private hitting or pitching lessons. You start playing the game by learning how to perform in live action in practice on the field and in a game, not by breaking down all your technical positions in your hitting and throwing motion.

Regardless of what scores you shoot now, this should be your development process. Implement block, random and deliberate practice to train your brain to be athletic, simulate playing on the golf course, competition and pressure.

Practice’s should be structured to work on each aspect.
1. Fundamentals (Block) – Stance, Grip, Posture, Alignment, Ball Position
2. Distance Control (Random) – Know Your Yardages. Hit a different club to a different to a different target each ball on the range.
3. Simulate Golf Course (deliberate) – Play on the golf course is the best way to practice. When you have time to make it to the golf course, focus on playing, pre shot routine and scoring your golf ball. If you can’t make it on the golf course, simulate golf course shots and pressure. How do you do this? Pick out a course that you know or you will be playing next. Play the course on the driving range. Go through your pre shot routine, switch clubs and get feedback from each shot (post shot routine). Never hit the same shot twice – just like you wouldn’t in a golf tournament!

Where to Start – Learn how to hit it consistent solid through drills that emphasis contact. Then you can proceed to the following ↓

What direction does your ball tend to curve?
Find a qualified coach to refine that ball flight pattern
Balance all practices with block, random, and deliberate practice structure
There are so many practice strategies players need to implement to improve their game – and they are SIMPLE! Unfortunately, golfers only train technique by racking ball after ball on the driving range hitting their 7 iron or Driver over and over again. Let’s change that and you will be amazed by your fast improvement!

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