Showing posts with label golf excellence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label golf excellence. Show all posts

The 12 Steps to Integral Golf Excellence - David Geier, CIGC

Integral Golf…what is it?

First things first. The basic meaning of the word integral means essential, whole, necessary for completion. As it applies to golf, integral golf would include everything that a player would need to be able to play their best golf on a consistent basis.

Integral Golf begins with the human being who is on a journey to becoming a more consistent, well-rounded, mature, and balanced person. That’s right, a more evolved human being. The integral golf blueprint (or road-map) looks very different from traditional golf instruction, which primarily focuses on a “fix my swing” mindset. Philosophically, a traditional golf model leaves out many of the steps necessary to become an integral golfer. This may be why so many golfers fall short of reaching their goals and potential in golf or life.

An integral golf model starts with a vision. It is long term orientated with short term goals supporting the journey. A visionary question like, “What kind of player do I want to become within the next three years”, is more integral compared to a golf student who simply wants to fix a slice (less integral).
An integral model of golf includes the following 12 steps or categories which are necessary for overall player and game development.
  • Equipment Fit and Training Aids – These are the tools the player uses to play the game. The equipment should be fitted to the player for length, lie angle, loft, flex, grip size, and clubhead weight. Putters should also be fitted for length, lie angle, grip size, clubhead weight. Most putters are too long for golfers using a more tradition step up to the ball. Training aids can be useful for getting feedback during skill development.
  • The Four Skills of the Putting – This first step would include the skills of the putting technique, aim, reading the putt, and distance control. If putting is 40 % - 45% of a golfer’s score, why are the practice greens nearly empty at the golf course and the practice ranges?
  • The Four Skills of the Short Game – This category would include the basic strokes of chipping, pitching, and punching. The variations of chipping and pitching would be learned to control the trajectory and distance of the shot being performed.
  • The Nine Alignments of the Full Swing – The category is about the force and motion being used for maximum distance with accuracy. The full swing is not about positions of the golf swing, but rather, the geometry alignments made during the swinging motion. The alignments, as shown during a video analysis, can show the quantity of load during the backswing and the quality of stored energy during the downswing phase (release point to impact to follow through) of the swing.
  • Training and Practice Routines – Too many recreational golfers simply go to the range to beat balls. Professionals, on the other hand, have consistent routines to keep their skills sharp – putting through driving. These routines include drills as well as shot making. Drills are usually performed by the golfer in a learning/training/skill building mode, while shot-making is usually performed in a non-thinking, subconscious performance mode. There is line that goes, “we become good at what we practice”. If a golfer simply beats balls, what do they become? You got it, a ball beater. Recreational players need to develop training and practice routines with the help of a golf trainer based on correct technical, mental and emotional skills.
  • Statistical Analysis – Keeping stats in one way to measure improvement towards a pre-selected metric score. By using a stats chart to measure a player’s number of strokes (putting), percentages (greens in regulation, fairways hit, scrambling saves, and sand saves ) distance (driving, irons, wedges), and scoring range, a player can remain objective in viewing the progress of their game.
  • Physical Fitness, Nutrition, and Hydration – Most professional golfers today train like athletes. Back in the day, a professional golfer was looked upon rather strangely if they did crunches, lifted weights, or didn’t drink coffee on the day of a tournament. Gary Player was one of the first professionals who took care of his body. Player also had a great positive mental attitude. Today, fitness, nutrition, and hydration are all basic building blocks for playing one’s best.
  • Mental Skills and Brain Training– No, they are not just for the professional golfer and can help any golfer to be more mentally quiet and stable. Mental skills and brain training include goal setting, the acquisition of golf knowledge, affirmations, shot planning and other pre-shot decisions, attitude, positive self-talk (taking to yourself nicely in a positive, supportive manner), visualization (seeing the end of the shot before making the shot), sound therapy (listening to music to train the brain to produce a certain brainwave range) and biofeedback (re-training the brain for fluidity, flexibility, and adaptability).
  • Course Management – Comes in two flavors. Strategic thinking on the golf course. Where do I want the ball to end up? Self management – managing my mental thoughts and emotions during good and bad times on the course.
  • Emotional Intelligence – There are personal and social skills that make up the category of Emotional Intelligence. Some personal skills are self-awareness, accurate self assessment, initiative, achievement drive, confidence, and trustworthiness. Social skills include empathy, leadership, service, building bonds and teamwork . The awareness and management of one’s emotional states are essential to play one’s best golf. Have you ever heard of playing joyful golf?
  • Centering Exercises – These are related to higher levels of personal development and consciousness. They include meditation exercises (breathing, walking, body, and witness meditations) and transpersonal exercises which take the human person beyond the level of ego-centeredness. Compassion for all sentient beings, peace, stillness, vision, seeing and accepting multiple perspectives, patience and being non-judgmental are just a few of the skills learned at this level.
  • Cultural Standards of Golf – These standards deal with the rules of golf, etiquette, sports-manship, care for the course, and a player’s wardrobe.
We live in an information age today. By understanding the 12 Steps to Integral Golf Excellence, the golf trainer and student can begin to place all of the essential information into its proper categories. Then, to better serve the golfing community, teachers and trainers can create educational blueprints and roadmaps (curriculums) showing the land of the land and what the terrain looks like. An Integral Golf Model can show both the teacher and the student what the journey looks like and that golf can be learned one bite at a time, much like eating an elephant.

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