Five Quick Tips Before Playing Golf after 4-6 Months Off

  1. Check Your Grips & Your Grip
  2. Become Athletic, Relaxed Athleticism
  3. Check Your Expectations at the 1st Tee.
  4. Simply Enjoy Being Outside
  5. Don't Get Too High on a Good Start or a Bad Start
  • Check your grips because if they are old and worn down, this will affect how tightly you hold the club. Gripping the club too tightly introduces tension, which is a killer to any golfer.  If you do not have time to put new grips on, wash them with warm, soapy water for the short term. 

Check your grip on the golf club to make sure you can see 2 knuckles on your left hand (right handed player) and make sure the right hand "v" points up to chin (illustration below).

  • As any athlete will tell you, they tend to perform their best when they are relaxed but ready for anything.  If they are ready and relaxed they can more clearly react to whatever comes their way. This is exactly what the early season golfer should do, simply react to shots. Don't think technically just try and produce a shot.  If you succeed great, if you fail great.  Learn from what worked and what didn't and leave it at that.
  • Checking expectations at the 1st tee is great for any player, early or late in the season.  It is especially important early in the season as many of us will be rusty that we cut ourselves some slack.
  • To follow up on checking expectations, a great way to have lower or preferably zero expectation is to simply enjoy being outside on a nice day!
  • Last but not least, stay even keel.  A great start to the season is a nice positive way to begin and can be a momentum builder but it can also cause raised expectations.  On the flip side, a bad start is not the end of the world either.  

Happy May Day! 

Kevin Trobaugh, PGA Apprentice at Des Moines Golf & CC.  

I grew up working, golfing and practicing at Fox Ridge Golf Course.     


Ranting About the Rules of Golf

As far as I am concerned on Sunday, Lexi Thompson won the ANA Inspiration Tournament at Mission Hills CC in Rancho Mirage, CA.  She receieved a 4 stroke penalty after her 12th hole on Sunday.  From the previous day's round for failing to replace her ball correctly after marking it on the green.  Clearly if you watch the video, Lexi Thompson certainly did not play the ball from the correct place.  She moved the ball a quarter inch to the left as she marked her ball back on the green to clean up a 2 foot putt she had on the 17th hole Saturday.  

How did she get the penalty?  From a fan, a viewer at home who paused and rewound the video.  The governing body of golf allows for spectators and fans to call in if they see any possible rule infractions or discrepancies.  

Why did she receive 4 strokes?  Lexi received 2 strokes for mismarking her ball and 2 strokes for signing an incorrect scorecard. 

As I said, she definitely moved her ball a fraction of an inch to the left.  It is unfortunate that it happened and she handled it like a true champion making 2 birdies in her last 6 holes to still force a playoff before losing on the first playoff hole to So Yeon Ryu.  Had Lexi received the penalty by the end of the day Saturday, I would have no problem with her receiving a penalty of 2 strokes for strokes.  However, the additional 2 strokes for signing an incorrect scorecard is not fair to the game. Getting penalized on top for signing an "incorrect scorecard".  

These types of rules are where golf needs to make big strides in simplifying the rules of the game.  They have started to with the new rule changes for 2018 and many of those are great.  The next step is to attack this issue of having armchair rules officials being able to affect golf tournaments. My suggestion would be if by the end of the day a rules infraction is found then penalties can be added.  If not, than you CANNOT go back and add penalties the next day, week, or month.  In reality golf is the only sport affected by fans being able to call in.  

It may just take a bit of out of the box thinking in order to keep these types of disasters from happening.  The integrity of the game was not compromised by Lexi.  She gained no advantage for what she did even though it was incorrect.  Her lie was not improved at all.  As Rickie Fowler said outside influence needs to end, if the tour wants to have someone manning a camera on each green looking for these things, fine.  But fans should not be allowed to have a direct affect on outcome. 

Kevin Trobaugh, PGA Apprentice at Des Moines Golf & CC.  

I grew up working, golfing and practicing at Fox Ridge Golf Course.     


The Data on Breaking Barriers & Parallels of Self-Awareness in Golf and Business

How do I break 100, 90, 80, 70, 60?  By going through understanding progressions mentally and physically.  Breaking barriers is basically all mental once you understand what is physically needed to do so.  Please look forward to posts and videos about our mental state and strategies on the golf course!  What I want to talk about is the actual data behind breaking barriers, why they get broken.  Now I have a lot to learn and a lot of knowledge and understanding to gain, but through learning from smarter individuals than myself, I have come to an understanding of the numbers of how and why certain barriers are broken.

The key to breaking scoring barriers or thresholds is very simple.  Improve your bad shots.  As Ben Hogan says, "golf is a game of misses, you are only as good as your misses."

No matter your skill in the game all players who shoot a good round for their skill level all have one thing in common; their bad shots are better than normal.  What do I mean by that? For a tour player who shoots a round of 64 or 65, their bad shot hits the green 25-30 feet from the pin and they two-putt par. On the flip-side, a tour player who shoots a round of 74 or 75,  rather than hitting the green to 25-30 feet, their miss ends up in a bunker or in a tricky spot.

Why is this true? Let's take look at some simple stats and scenarios of a tour player and a bogey golfer.

The 100th ranked player on tour from will 2 putt or better 91% of the time on average from >25 feet and the 100th ranked player will make about 7% from 25-30 feet.  Quick mental math means that tour players only 3 putt 2% of the time from >25 feet.  So simply if a tour player can get on THE GREEN his chances of making par or better are high.  IF the player misses the green for his bad shot rather than hitting it to 25-30 feet, his chances of making par or better go down and his bogey percentage goes up.  A quick stat shows that the 100th ranked player on tour has a 60% scrambling percentage or they will get up and down 60% of the time.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, let's think of a bogey golfer.  This is the player who on a good round may shoot 85 but during a bad round on a tougher golf course than they may be used to, will struggle to break 100.  For a bogey golfer it can bit more volatile because golfers struggle in different areas, HOWEVER, most bogey golfers who play the correct tee boxes for their driver distance give away strokes within 125 yards.  Although many bogey golfers struggle in this area, they may struggle with slicing the ball, inconsistent contact, lack of distance, etc.

This is where understanding your game comes into play.  It takes self-awareness of your game to know what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are.  Just like an entrepreneur who is building a business, they must be self-aware and perform a SWOT analysis.  Please, be honest with yourself.  Maybe you absolutely suck at bunker shots (Look for my video on bunker shots soon!). If that is the case, the way I see it you have two choices: either avoid that weakness as much as possible or adapt and learn to play from the beach.  Maybe you have a great idea for an app, but you don't know to develop and build it.  Again, the way I see it is that you have two choices: learn how to build an app or find a product developer who can do it for you. If you can't do it internally yourself, you may need to go external and hire or partner with someone who can.

Either way it takes self-awareness and an honest understanding of where we need to improve in order to break scoring barriers. 100% the point I am trying to make is that the bad needs to be better in order to break scoring barriers whether you are a tour player, a bogey golfer, an aspiring entrepreneur, or a successful business.

Please, please, PLEASE if you want to learn how to break scoring barriers, please contact me. 😊

Kevin Trobaugh, PGA Apprentice at Des Moines Golf & CC.  

I grew up working, golfing and practicing at Fox Ridge Golf Course.