The Sherpa rises from the golf “Ashes”…

Author: The Golf Sherpa  |  Category: Practice Fundamentals

In the immortal words of James Tiberius Kirk to Dr. “Bones” McCoy…”I’ve…got a plan”.

Yes dear readers, instead of sinking into a wallowing pile of self pity and depression, the Sherpa has decided to chart my plan for returning to the sacred game. 

On that glorious day when my surgeon (Dr. Sawbones) declares my left hand more functional than a creepy paperweight, I wish to be prepared, without any delay, to begin practicing once again.

My approach? 

Hint…no new wheels are going to be invented.  I will operate from pure, old fashioned and practical notions.   The Sherpa is resolved to KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (aka KISS methodology).

Too many complicated theories have crept into so called “golf knowledge”, that make a logical and relatively straightforward game seem mystical and out of reach…kind of like the pretty cheerleader that you knew was never going to date you…no matter how cool you  and your chess club buddies were.

I digress…

I resolved first to take my own advice and have a practice plan of attack.

I also resolved to put my ego into park and review each key fundamental for the gift that it is.  No detail will be trivial, no core premise will considered less important than it’s peer and above all I am committing to reacquaint myself with each fundamental with curiosity and total committment.

Few times in your life are you motivated…or forced…by circumstances to pour a new foundation in a well worn “house of golf”, and the Sherpa has developed a sense of expectation and excitement for the journey ahead.

So…to specifics.

I will share with you in the next series of posts my “Sherpa Syllabus” of “golf fundamentals 101″.

The Sherpa will live by and practice these funddamentals, just as the Golden Bear did each year with Jack Grout in preparation for a career that included 18 majors.  I will be happy just to hit it pure again…occasionally.

Today’s practice notion in the Sherpa Syllabus of “Re-Entering the Game 101″ is…

Aiming.

Thought I was kidding huh?  No joke, I am literally going back to each fundamental and applying concrete sequential steps for reviewing, re-examining physics and understanding relevance of each principal within the golf game.

Onward..

Practice objective: Use fact based knowledge to practice the science of consistently aiming at very specific targets with the objective of doing so with more observable accuracy and confidence.

Key fact(s):

  1. A ball that spins backward at a relatively high rpm when compared with sidespin rpm has a strong tendency (like a gyroscope) to follow the path on which the ball was originally sent by the golf club.
  2. Some balls are engineered to spin more than others.
  3. Wedges impart relatively high backspin…when compared with mid and long irons.

Practice Regime: 

The very specific objective is to aim and send balls at targets.  To do so I will optimize the conditions for practice and observable feedback, while removing as many variables from the system as possible.

From the facts and objective, therefore, I will use low spin balls and practice this module only with short irons and wedges.

Why?

I want to see where I am hitting it (ie where I am aimed when the club hits the ball).  Remember dear reader, this is not a ball flight practice objective.  Using a low spin ball will lower the effect of sidespin, keeping backspin relatively high…giving the Sherpa the truest sense of where I am sending the “pill”.

With these optimized conditions and assuming good weather, the practice will be structured as follows.

  1. Select a target within wedge or short iron range.
  2. Use a rangefinder or step off the distance so that you know the yardage and are comfortable with it.  This is not a yardage drill per se, but knowing will keep you from being distracted by yardage during this session…key in staying focused on you stated practice objective.
  3. Lay down an aim club which aims exactly at your target.
  4. Lay down a parallel club to aim youself with.
  5. Lay down ten low spin balls (range balls will work).
  6. Align your feet, knees and shoulders with the club from step 4.
  7. Hit ten balls and don’t concern youself with yardage…only aim.

At this point, I will have G money with me to address any alignment issues, but don’t fear, this can be a solo outing as well.  My point is just that it is usually more productive if you have a buddy with you to validate that your feet, legs and shoulders are aligned at address.

Did you hit most of them left?  If so, aim a little right.

Do not try to change your swing….today you are aiming.

As you move through trial and error you will soon discover whether you need to aim a bit right, left or precisely at the target to get the observable objective you seek (ie hitting the target area somewhat consistently).

Every person is different and so will be your alignment bias that eventually reveals itself in this practice regimen.  

I have a very good friend who is a scratch handicap, who would see that his bias requires him to aim a little right  and play a slight pull.  This is his natural tendency and because he  knows and trusts it he is an aiming “machine”.

Bottom line:  There is no single perfect alignment.  Each body is endowed by the creator with capabilities, biases and limitations.  The purpose of  this drill is to reveal what aim bias works for you so that as things become complicated under pressure, you will know on a very real and trusting basis what yours is. 

No kidding…to aim consistently, you need to know your personal tendency like you drivers license number or your wedding anniversary.

Play on…

The Sherpa.

Sometimes even the Sherpa needs a Guide…(for Tee Times, that is)

Author: The Golf Sherpa  |  Category: Sherpa Certified Products

This coming weekend, the Sherpa is going to share 27 holes with his best friend whom he has not seen in over 3 months.  The complicating factor is that the Sherpa and his compadre are each going to have to drive half way to meet  (so that neither of us spends the entire day on the road). 

Initially, that presented a unique problem for the Sherpa.

You see dear readers, I am totally unfamiliar with the area in which we are going to meet, and being the Sherpa…I was expected to set up our Tee Time.   In the words of Dr. Bones McCoy (of the USS Enterprise), I am thinking, “Damnit Jim, I’m a Golf Sherpa… not a travel agent”! 

Right about this time, I get a twitter message from the good folks at GolfSigma.  They wanted me to look at their golf reservation site and review it.  Hmmm…

It was a no-brainer…I needed help and they wanted me to give their service a whirl. 

Wow! 

The Sherpa is low tech, but the site made it ridiculously easy for me to search the area, find a decent course and then handed me off to a website that would do the booking.

So now the Sherpa is thinking “self, what is the catch”?  Naturally, being world-famously frugal, I went directly to the website (of the actual course) and the price was exactly the same…again wow.  GolfSigma had not tried to upcharge the Sherpa’s wallet with any “hidden” or “transactional fees”.  In fact, GolfSigma didn’t add any fees because they don’t actually sell you anything.

So now I’m thinking, “how do they make money?  Where is the Sherpa getting pinched”? 

So I look around GolfSigma’s website some more and there in black and white is their business model.  Basically, they are a kind of ”Google for golf ” service (if you will), who makes it super easy to find and book Tee times.  They don’t affiliate with any websites so there are no back end pricing deals. 

They just find you a tee time, connect you with a seller and live off of advertising.  You just pay for your tee time and go your merry way.

No muss no fuss.

Bottom line: The Sherpa loves these types of business models, because their primary existence serves to make golfers lives easier and less expensive.  This aligns beautifully with what the Sherpa tries to do for your golf game with each post I so lovingly put forth.

GolfSigma is now “Sherpa certified” and I strongly suggest you give them a whirl when you are setting up your next tee time.

Have a safe and low cost weekend dear readers.

Play on…

The Sherpa