Your Best Club's Between Your Ears
HOW DO YOU PLAY GOLF WHEN YOU ARE NOT HITTING THE BALL WELL?
Renowned golf coach Jeff Ritter lets us sit in on a great lesson he shares with a junior golfer for getting the most out of the best club in your bag - the club between your ears! We won't always have our A-game in every round - and when we don't, we need to adjust and find a way to get that little ball from tee to hole in the fewest shots possible. Jeff shares the sage wisdom of one of the best players of all time, Jack Nicklaus, who said, "I won a lot of tournaments with different swings". There are no style points in golf and no rule that says that we have to hit all of the standard shots at all times. Some days we need to rely on the "driver" between our ears and hit the shots we know we got.
The Mental Game of Golf
The game of golf is hard. But it's even tougher when you're not playing up to your normal ability level. It would be easy to take the attitude that you will pack it in and only play when you have your A-game. But if you want to play at a high level, you must learn to play with the "game you got" that day.
Jack Nicklaus famously said, "I won many tournaments with different swings." This means that he understood that with as many tournaments as he's entering, he's not always going to have his best stuff.
Some days your ball might be traveling right, so if you go out there to the practice range and every ball is slicing right, instead of trying to figure out why and make all sorts of swing changes, adapt and play your shots with the expectation that your ball is going to fly right that day.
You always have to remember that to win, you've got to dig deep and find a way. You have to be a competitor. That means when you go to the first hole - you might need to say - the ball isn't flying the way I want it to, but I'm going to find a way to get that ball in the hole. If that means changing the kind of shots I'm hitting, then so be it. If my regular swing is slicing, but when I go to a 3/4 swing and hit a knockdown shot, I feel like the ball flight is straighter, then hit that shot all day. There are no rules in golf that say you must hit specific shots. Your objective is to get the ball from point A to point B.
The Shot You Got
One of our mantras is to play the shot you got! Do whatever it takes to get the ball from the tee to the fairway to the green and in the hole. Sometimes, when things aren't going well, you can flip that around and have fun. Please take it as a challenge. You know you don't have your best stuff, but you're still going to crush the field today.
From a mental perspective - embrace that golf is hard. Embrace it, let it soak in. Accept that you're not always going to have your best stuff. But just because you don't have your best stuff doesn't mean you still can't win. And when things are going sideways, take that as a personal challenge - this is what I got today, but I'm still going to find a way to grind it out and get that golf ball in the hole.
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Jeff Ritter is Founder and Director of MAKE THE TURN Performance at Pronghorn Academy. The Golf Digest Editor’s Choice as “Best Academies in the West,” Ritter is also ranked as the #1 Coach in Oregon by Golf Digest. A Lead Coach For Golf Channel Academy, as well as ranked among the Top 25 Teachers in America by Golf Tips magazine, Ritter is an expert communicator with an impressive pedigree working with top amateurs, elite juniors, collegiate standouts as well as players on the professional tours.
An accomplished coach, author and speaker, Jeff is known for his unique approach to teaching the game. His passion for inspiration, body health and mental flexibility has set him apart as a purveyor of not only playing well but living well.
A consistent presence in the world of golf media, Jeff is a regular featured guest on Golf Channel appearing on programs such as Morning Drive. In 2016 he was host of PGA National Instruction Day on Golf Channel, the most watched golf instruction event in history. In 2014 he created the MAKE THE TURN Weekly Challenge Series for Golf Digest TV. The program was the most successful series on the Golf Digest platform, garnering 20 million viewers. In addition to his role at Pronghorn, Jeff is also National Director of NIKE Junior Golf Camps overseeing 200 + locations throughout North America.
His inspiring perspective on game and lifestyle development has Jeff traveling internationally to share the MAKE THE TURN message of living more powerfully through the game of golf.