I happened to catch an episode of “12 Nights at the Academy” with Kelly Tilghman this week and her guest was none other than the King himself, Arnold Palmer. I always stop what I’m doing and have a listen when Arnold has something to share and I wanted to pass along some words of wisdom from the King himself.
Ms. Tilghman asked him for advice on practice habits and focus for three different levels of golfer:
-A high handicap player
-A mid handicap player
-A scratch or low handicap player
I was very excited to hear what he had to say about each level of golfer because after all, Arnold is the King.
The first type of player he commented on was the High Handicap player. Arnold began with the importance of a good grip like his father showed him when he began playing and then stressed a high handicap player should always work on the basics: Grip, posture, balance, and solid contact.
“If you work hard on the basics, the rest of the game will begin to fall into place.”
Great advice if you ask me, I think golfers are trying to do too much as high-handicap players, the basics are where they need to focus for sure.
The next player Arnold was asked to comment on was the mid-handicap player. The 12-18 handicap player that can get the ball around the course pretty good, but needs to shave off a few strokes to bring their handicap down. Arnold said that these players are already pretty good, but in order to get to the next level, they too must work hard on the basics:
“Working on the basics of the game allow the mid handicap player to progress to the next level more quickly. A mid handicapper will get more out of the basics than trying to do too much.”
Again, I have to agree that in my experience, mid handicap players are trying to do too much by trying to implement everything they read or see on TV, this will surely hold them back.
The last player Arnold was asked to comment on was a scratch player, or low handicap player. Arnold turned to Kelly and said:
“When I talk to a scratch player, I would tell them the same thing I tell myself when things are going bad, when I am struggling with my game…I do what my father told me and go straight back to the basics. I work on stance, alignment, balance, grip, and making solid contact. “When I get all these things working well, the game comes around pretty quickly.”
Once again…I have to agree. The low handicap players I work with are always trying to find something magical to bring them back when the game goes south. The answer is…as it is with every level of player…work on the basics.
Simplicity is the KEY to playing this game well; the more you try to complicate things, the worse it gets. I know this to be a fact, and when you hear it straight from the King, there should be no argument. I thought I would comment on this show because Center of Gravity Golf is built around the basics and a validation from Arnold himself, although not direct, is worth it’s weight in gold.
The message here is pretty clear, work on the basics…keep it as simple as you can, get good at grip, balance, alignment, and solid contact and the rest will take care of itself. That’s how COGG is structured, and it works very well for any level of golfer.
Rob Bernard | Center of Gravity Golf | PGA of Canada Professional