I was once told that to become great at golf is a 5 step process and I loved the idea.

1. Can you produce in the practice area (Ball striking, chipping and putting)?
2. Can you produce on the course?
3. Can you produce in a tournament?
4. Can you produce in a tournament on Sunday?
5. Can you produce in a major on Sunday?

For the first time in many years, I passed step one on Friday before I left on this trip. I stripped it on the range, found my chipping touch and finesse on all shots on the chipping green and sand area and I have been putting well for a few weeks now.

Sunday, I passed step 2 with flying colors. A blog reader who lives in Springfield played with me on Sunday (He is a very skilled and long hitter. He out drove the other two pros in the group consistently.). His quote…”You can win any PGA Tour event playing like that.” He was not patronizing me either. I was stripping 320-350 yard drives down the middle of every fairway. My iron shots were flying at the pin and several finished in gimmie range. My wedge and chipping game was better than it has ever been, even before my pre-Dave Pelz struggles and every putt I hit was the right speed and many went in.

I estimate I would have shot between 62 and 66…and definitely not higher than 66. Brett can chime in here and vouch for how good I looked.

Monday was a perfect recipe for putting me to the test on step 3. I didn’t sleep much because I was so excited and anxious to play after controlling all shots so well on Sunday. The best test was the pace of play. It took an hour and forty minutes to play the first five holes. That is not a typo 1:40 to play 5 holes.

I failed my first attempt at step 3 miserably. Aside from a pure 7-iron to three feet on the par 3 sixth hole, I was a complete chop. My rhythm was atrocious and I refused to release the club…which allowed me to miss in both directions.

I am not worried in the slightest. Sunday is something to build on and the failure on Monday shows me I have to work harder to make the Sunday swing second nature so it can withstand things like lack of sleep, slow play, a golf course I hate, or any other external factor that has gotten in my way in the past.

I have shot many low scores in the past several years, but Sunday was different. Sunday was easy. Sunday shows that I am moving in the right direction by simplifying my mechanics and thoughts. What Monday showed me is I am not there yet and still require too much thought on technique and not allowing me to direct my focus on hitting shots and scoring.

It also proves that stress brings out any bad habits that haven’t been purged yet. I hope none of this came off as if I am making excuses. I am searching for what I need to do to be a professional golfer again. The next two weeks I can be seen hitting 50-60 yard wedges until I throw up or pass out. Probably mix in a bunch of mid iron shots as well. I believe these are the two areas of practice that will groove a good swing and good rhythm. Pounding drivers for hours at a time was good for me to win long drive contests, but it does not make me or anyone else better.

BTW-everyone should be able to immediately improve their game after reading today’s post. What improves will be different from person to person. It’s all about improving your approach and having realistic expectations.

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7 Comments

  1. Brett Picotte

    I really enjoyed my time with Monte on Sunday and Monday. It was like getting 3+ hours of golf instruction from (in my opinion) one of the best golf instructors in the world. After his Sunday round (where he made golf look very easy), he gave me a lesson that will completely change my game (my release is horrible). As he struggled on Monday, he was discussing his problems out loud and included my swing in the discussion. The whole experience was priceless.

    Monday was brutal. According to the paper this morning, three golfers withdrew because of the heat (the heat index was over 100). The paramedics were called to help another golfer. When you throw in the pace of a 6 hour round, it was BRUTAL!

    It’s obvious Monte is on the right track. His brain just wouldn’t let him execute his new swing in competition. It won’t be long before that changes. Good luck, Monte, and thanks again.

    Brett

    P.S. The qualifiers from yesterday: Two shot 65, and the other 5 shot 66.

    Reply
  2. Walter

    Monty
    Yoga and meditation

    Wally

    Reply
  3. sensei

    “It’s all about improving your approach and having realistic expectations.”

    Monte. what are your “realistic expectations”?
    Reading your posts about your game I always read about unrealistic expectations like ”You can win any PGA Tour event playing like that.”
    In my eyes you are still in the in the vicious circle of “try and hope”.
    You only have a chance if you switch to “automatic”- physically and mentally.
    If you remember your best drives in Long driving competion what picture or feeling comes to your mind?
    Complete conviction in your ability?
    Absence of doubt?
    A “whatthehell” feeling?

    As a wise guy once said being asked how to play golf without thinking:
    “Not thinkin’!”
    “Not golfin’!”

    Let go! and good luck on your trip to the Tour.

    Reply
  4. Monte Scheinblum

    Wally…lol. Tried it, didnt work.

    Sensei. Long term there are no unrealistic expectations for me. Short term my expectations are to get my swing to a point where all my thinking can be about playing golf and not swinging. My expectation is to make a Monday qualifier in a Nationwide event, make the cut, then reevaluate.

    Reply
  5. Brett Picotte

    One of the coolest things for me was Monte’s power. I’ve competed in a few LDA Long Drive tournaments, and I can hit it pretty good at times. I nailed one on one of the holes, and Monte blew it by me by 30 yards with what seemed like effortless power. He really wasn’t swinging that hard to hit it 350 yards with a normal length driver.

    I’m working on my release, Monte. You were right, it’s pretty easy to let something just naturally happen (instead of what I’ve been doing).

    Like you, I’m going to hit 50 yard shots until I can’t take anymore.

    Reply
  6. Walter

    Monty
    Do you plan what clubs you will need on a particular course. Plan to use only the shots you can make. Go for a really long jog, at the point of exhaustion, you will be surprised at the person within you you will meet. Good luck
    Wally

    Reply
  7. Dean

    Monte, Brett

    Where do I find the list of Monday qualifiers for Nationwide events?

    Monte, stick with it, your time will come.

    Reply

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