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Instruction

Make The Turn Challenge #14: Play Recklessly

By Jeff Ritter

I believe one of the keys in life to getting what you want is learning to let go of all of the things you spend so much time trying to control.

The key to this whole idea is embracing the paradox that rules the world we live in. Golf is full of paradoxes such as "relax to generate more power" or sometimes even "swinging in the direction your ball is missing" in order to better find your target.

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As it relates to playing nervous or tight for a moment, think of the word "disease." Broken down it's, "dis-ease," or without ease. If you're trying to control the motion or outcome of your shots too much, then your swing and mind are working way too hard and are in a state of disease. This is what happened to me; especially the more I worried about NOT hitting the window referenced in this week's challenge video.

I've found that to be unconsciously brilliant and disease free, you have to learn to generate an attitude where you actually feel a bit careless or even reckless. If you find yourself attempting to control too much, try throwing caution to the wind and let go with reckless abandon. Like a skydiver jumping from an airplane who's not at all concerned about their parachute opening, you'll be amazed at just how good letting go can feel!



Jeff Ritter is the CEO/Founder of MTT Performance. The program operates out of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @mttgolf ... Read
Instruction

Make The Turn Challenge #12: Beverage Blast

By Jeff Ritter

Although eating gets much of the focus in the area of nutrition, what you drink is just as important.

Many golfers chug sports drinks, guzzle sodas or sip on Arnold Palmers throughout their round. There's no one cooler than the "King" but unfortunately Arnold Palmers don't make the cut on the better beverage list.

Many of these processed beverages are loaded with refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and other hazardous ingredients that can only be identified with a chemistry book. And that's simply not good for you.

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Hydrating properly not only has a positive impact on your game. It can aid weight loss, increase energy, improve digestion and support overall health.

This is something that might take a little time to fully incorporate into your lifestyle, but
it's going to make a huge difference. For me the biggest impact came from making just a few small changes.

First, I started drinking more water. Before my morning coffee, I always down a tall glass or two to rehydrate and get a step ahead of the long day I'll be facing on the lesson tee. Secondly, I dropped indulging in the coffee's at Starbucks with all of the fancy names. These drinks aren't coffee, they're desserts and will make you as fat as starting the day eating birthday cake. Black coffee with an all natural sweetener called "Stevia" has become my "go to" for the last 5 years. For lunch, no more sodas.

In fact, no more sodas at all. I drink unsweetened brewed tea and add a lemon wedge for flavor. Trust me you'll get used to it. On Sunday's I watch a lot of sports, so if I'm craving a soda-like drink I'll have a "Zevia" which is an all natural soda replacement beverage sweetened with the same stuff I'm putting in my coffee. It's actually pretty good and comes in a ton of flavors. Finally, when letting loose, I'm drinking more red wine. Pino Noir tops the better booze list, so that's what I'm getting when the wife and I enjoy a nice dinner together.

All of these little adjustments have helped me and I know they'll do the same for you. Little steps lead to big results. Prove that you can enjoy a better beverage plan for just one day at the course and you can count this nutrition challenge as complete.

Benefits
Better Hydration
Improved Focus
Protects Against Harmful Additives and Chemicals


Jeff Ritter is the CEO/Founder of MTT Performance. The program operates out of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @mttgolf
... Read
News & Tours

Underrated moments in golf history: Jack Nicklaus drains 100-footer in Johnny Miller's face

By Brendan Mohler

You must see this putt to believe it. But first, the backstory.

Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer played a ceremonial round in August 2010 to mark the grand opening of The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton, Mich., a Nicklaus design that will host this week's Senior PGA Championship. Miller faced an uphill double-breaker of more than 100 feet on the 10th hole and wanted to chip the ball instead, but Nicklaus understandably didn't want a divot in his brand new green. Johnny further complained that chipping the ball was the only way to get it to the hole, so Nicklaus decided to show him how it's done.

Imagine being in the gallery that day. No practice swing. Hardly even a look at the hole. Nicklaus just throws down a ball, puts a HUGE stroke on it and watches it rattle in the cup. This has to be one of the proudest moments of Jack's career -- you know, besides the 18 majors he won.

Related: That time Phil Mickelson turned a post-round TV interview into an instructional video

Dan Hicks needs to ask Miller about this putt during the next NBC telecast. We'd love to hear his thoughts.

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Instruction

Sequels often don't live up to the original but Tom Watson's new DVD proves that wrong

By Keely Levins

Four years removed from Tom Watson's original release of "Lessons of a Lifetime," a DVD instructional set sold in five languages and more than 40 countries, the eight-time major champion has updated the series with a focus toward better players.

loop-tom-watson-dvd-518.jpgA new, third DVD has 20 extra lessons that include tips for improving your short game. Watson's added advice on mental strategies is particularly revealing; who wouldn't want to hear how one of golf's coolest customers calmed pre-round jitters?

There is a nice mix of old-school knowledge and new-school thinking. Watson tells stories of his dad teaching him basics that he still uses today. Then he straps on a GoPro video camera, using it to show how much his head moves during his putting stroke.

The new DVD is sold individually ($25) or as part of a three-disc set ($50).

... Read
Instruction

Make The Turn Challenge 8: Fire Up Your On Switch

By Jeff Ritter

How many times can you recall hitting a terrible shot and then saying to yourself, "I knew that was going to happen!?" If you've played golf for any period of time, it's probably happened more than you care to remember. Conversely, you've probably also had just the opposite occur. Can you go back to a moment when everything seemed perfect, where you knew you were going to crush that drive or sink a putt and you did?

What is it that makes one shot agony and the other pure ecstasy? Aside from golf being a difficult game where a few sideways shots are inevitable, the secret to your success might be in your ability to capture or better yet consistently "produce" that can't-miss feeling.

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The key is understanding the coolness associated with high-level mental performance. That is, embracing the fact that the "feeling" is something that's entirely controlled by you. Even cooler is the fact that the ideas you DECIDE to entertain don't even have to be based in reality, as long as they produce the result of an elevated mood. The formula is simple. Get pumped and then swing away. What gets you fired up? Hey, that's up to you. Let your imagination run wild and you'll find an unlimited number of ways to ignite your can't-miss mindset.

It's more important to "feel" powerful than it is to be powerful and that feeling comes from right between your ears. This challenge is a lot of fun, but also requires a strong commitment to complete. Prove to yourself that you can mentally fire up your "on switch" on every shot for 18 holes and you can count this mindset challenge as complete.

BENEFITS
Increased Likelihood of Success
More Fun
Better Shots



Jeff Ritter is the CEO/Founder of MTT Performance. The program operates out of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @mttgolf

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Instruction

We can all learn a thing or two from Gary Player

By Keely Levins

loop-gary-player-dvd-set-300.jpgGary Player's new DVD set -- Gary Player: A Game for Life Instruction Series -- aims to help you improve your golf game. It's secondary purpose, however, is to essentially shame you into working out more given that the 78-year-old Player remains more fit than the vast majority of golfers playing the game at any age.

The box set ($100, agameforlife.com) targets three different areas: sand play, scoring (which covers short game and putting) and life (covering diet and fitness). A concept repeated throughout the series is "turn three shots into two." Often, the best way to do this is with your short game. Working off the stat that 70 to 75 percent of shots in golf are from 100 yards and in, Player spends extended time on different shots you need in and around the green.

He's not overly technical with his instruction ideas, and effective follows his explanations up with how to apply his thoughts and techniques to the average golfer's game.

... Read
Instruction

Make The Turn Challenge #3: Start Your Engines

By Jeff Ritter

One of the biggest differences between recreational players and the pros is the ability professionals have to exhibit a higher level of control over their golf swings. This control is not only a component of the mechanics associated with producing various shot shapes, but also the speed at which each swing is made.

jeff-ritter-start-your-engines-518.jpgThis “Start Your Engines” challenge comes from a drill Davis Love Jr. taught Davis Love III back when he was developing as a player. To create a higher level of awareness for sequencing and rhythm, Davis was directed to make “Full Swings” with his driver hitting the ball only a short distance. He would then gradually increase pace extending the carry until he was swinging at full capacity, achieving max speed and distance.

Years after learning of this practice, I was watching Davis play in the J.C. Penney Classic. Faced with a shot of 200 yards over trees to the green, Davis told his caddie, “Give me the club that will get me over the trees and I’ll get it there.” If my memory serves me correctly, he hit a towering 7-iron 200 yards to pin high. Seeing his thought process in action, I couldn’t help but think that his training in developing the skill to gear up or down aided his ability to pull off that shot.

Tour players are rarely playing at full speed. Instead they have a zone which allows them to exhibit their best rhythm, while producing a reasonable combination of distance and accuracy. They have a high level of body awareness and can adjust speed or movement to meet any situation. Recreational golfers, however, always seem to be locked in at full throttle, possessing relatively low body awareness and a constant "go for broke" mentality.

As it relates to learning or making a swing change, pace is critical. If you’re always operating at full speed it’s tough to have an awareness for how you’re moving. Just like listening to a radio with bad reception, the static makes it difficult to hear the music. This “Start Your Engines” drill is all about training yourself to swing through different gears as means of building awareness and rhythm. The awareness that allows you to develop a better golf swing and the rhythm that delivers the pace that allows you to consistently hit your best golf shots.

Demonstrate that you have the patience to master this swing speed challenge and you’ll be one step closer to separating yourself from the competition.


Jeff Ritter is the CEO/Founder of MTT Performance. The program operates out of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @mttgolf.


 

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News & Tours

Underrated moments in golf history: Sergio Garcia climbs a tree to hit a one-handed shot

By Alex Myers

Most golf fans remember Tiger Woods won for the eighth time at Bay Hill in 2013. Yada yada, been there, done that. But what happened for a first time at the same tournament? Sergio Garcia climbed a tree to hit a one-handed backward shot.

Related: When a Woods "walk-off" performance at Bay Hill meant something else

At least, we think it's the first time Garcia has attempted such a shot when he scaled a tree on the 10th hole during Sunday's final round to get to his ball. After toying with the idea of hitting a shot between his legs -- never a good idea -- Garcia got settled and pulled it off perfectly:

What a moment! After hacking his ball back to the fairway, Garcia went on to make an incredible par bogey double bogey on the hole and salvage a top 10 top 25 withdrawal two holes later.

Related: Counting down the top 25 viral videos of the year

OK, so the story could have had a happier ending (Garcia didn't even flash a smile after his athletic dismount) and it's not even Garcia's most memorable shot involving a tree. That, of course, came at the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah. But it's still pretty memorable. We just wonder why he put so much effort into it only to walk off the course shortly after.

Sadly, Garcia isn't in the field at Bay Hill this week to celebrate the one-year anniversary of a shot that went viral. To any player who is, good luck trying to top it.

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News & Tours

9 fascinating GIFs of Ben Crane doing strange things

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

As part of our brand new video channel, Golf Digest and Conde Nast Entertainment paired with Ben Crane to produce a series of soon-to-be released videos, "#GolfSecrets with Ben Crane." The trailer was released on Wednesday, and it featured Ben Crane in his signature helmet, goggles and red jumpsuit doing some rather interesting things. . .

Related: 13 Strangely Mesmerizing Golf Action GIFs

Like when he looked strangely satisfied with the sunshine.

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Or the time he was slightly creepy.

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We feel for you, man.

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He had this way of making normal words sound really intense.

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And slightly scary.

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But not everything he said was normal.

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After all that, he found time to beat-up a pool noodle.

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And show off his mad skills.

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And, of course, dance like some kind of angry chicken.

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Here's the full video:

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News & Tours

When a "walk-off" performance meant something else for Tiger Woods

By Alex Myers

A bad back has dominated any Tiger Woods talk of late, but a "walk-off" performance used to refer to something much different than a WD for TW. Woods' clutch play throughout his career has produced numerous "walk-off" winning putts on the final hole, and nowhere has he pulled that off more than at Bay Hill.

Related: Does Tiger WD at an unusually high rate?

Woods pulled out of this year's Arnold Palmer Invitational, but those memories remain. Let's take a look, um, back.

In 2001, Woods arrived at Bay Hill in a bit of a "slump" despite having won the final three majors the previous season. He was (gasp!) winless in his first five events before arriving at Bay Hill (remember the days he used to play five events before Bay Hill?), but got on a roll that included him capping the Tiger Slam at the Masters a month later.

At Bay Hill, Woods found himself in a tie with Phil Mickelson -- they were the top two players in the world rankings at the time -- on the final hole of regulation and after a wild drive left, he hit an incredible approach shot to about 10 feet. He converted the birdie putt (:43 mark of the video) for a dramatic win, gave a huge fist pump, and celebrated with then caddie Steve Williams. Note: This will be a recurring scenario.

Fans had to wait all of seven years to see a similar finish. Woods won this event two other times in between, but he did so by a combined 15 shots. In 2008, the difference was Woods was in search of a fifth straight win. Oh, and this time it was a 25-footer and he was battling journeyman Bart Bryant instead of the No. 2 golfer in the world. Woods doesn't discriminate when it comes to his on-course victims.

"Only perfect. That's all that putt was," NBC analyst Johnny Miller said. Of course, Woods would win that year's U.S. Open and then miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his left knee. We don't think the injury stemmed from his violent cap throw celebration.

Related: Our favorite go-to sayings for Tiger Woods

When Woods returned to Arnie's event the following year, he was still looking for proof that he could return to the player he was before the surgery. With Woods tied with Sean O'Hair on the final hole, Miller and Dan Hicks set the stage as if they knew what was going to happen next.

"He's got that beautiful cut shot, that he can aim it at the stands there and work it to the hole. And we know he can make that putt," Miller said. Good call:

"Again! At Bay Hill! On the 72nd hole!" Hicks exlaimed. "That's the way to get back into the winner's circle, isn't it?"

Related: A collection of our favorite Johnny Millerisms

"The guy is absolutely out of this world," Miller added.

This year, Woods is just out of another tournament. He won't be around to author another "walk-off" putt this weekend, but you can bet that won't stop NBC from taking a stroll down memory lane.

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July 28, 2014

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