The Lesson Tee

Bob Madsen is the PGA Director of Instruction at Singing Hills Golf Club at Sycuan

E-mail Bob Madsen

“I love helping people, and I love teaching golf. I can’t wait to get here in the morning. I specialize in inventing fun and productive games, drills, and exercises for students to DO… as well as playing lessons on the golf course.”

Knowing vs. Wondering

March 5, 2024

Good players almost always know why the ball went where. They know what the club did and what their body did to make that happen. This sort of awareness is essential to getting better at golf in a hurry.

There is a big difference between knowing and wondering. Wondering doesn’t work. Sounds like this, “I wonder if I flipped my wrists.” “I think maybe I was aimed wrong.” “Maybe I came over the top.” “Maybe I need a new driver.” The list is endless. Wondering leads to scatterbrained and getting worse at golf, not better.

At Singing Hills, our lessons and coaching help players (not just the teacher) know what they did and why the ball went where.

Three Putting is Not Okay

February 16, 2024

Golfers three putt because of lag putts not gotten close and missed short putts. Eliminating three putt greens is a super-fast route to lower scores in golf.

Here are a couple of steps to take. The first step is to determine once and for all that you are going to dedicate yourself to putting better. There are no shortcuts! You have to go to a putting green and putt and putt and putt and putt and putt. Think in terms of twenty hours of time spent over a few weeks in order to really make a difference. I once asked a ski instructor what it really takes to get good at skiing. You know what he said? “Miles and miles of skiing.” You know what it takes to get good at putting? Yep. Miles and miles of putting. Step two might be lessons. Our Instruction Staff is loaded with games and drills that ensure fun, productive practice time.

Here is another step you can take. Always go to the practice putting green before you play. Always. Skipping this step is about as amateurish as it gets. Anyone valuing a low score must get a feel for the speed of the greens before going out. I recommend no less than ten or fifteen minutes.

Taking these steps will help eliminate three putts. Three putting is not okay.

Buddy Practice

October 25, 2023

Companionship is one aspect that you miss if you only practice alone. By contrast, having someone else there who’s encouraging and fun to be around can be wonderful. FYI, at Singing Hills, we specialize in having our students meet other students to buddy up with. Powerful stuff. A buddy can help keep the practice session organized and help keep you going. Can you list five more reasons buddy practice would be productive and/or more fun? Here’s a hint; Happy Hour afterward? Send them to me if you’d like.

Trapping vs. Scooping

September 14, 2023

A common misconception is that golfers have to get under the ball when in play. This is not true, as there is more to consider.

Think of golf as a game played along the ground. It’s different from tennis. Tennis does not require the player to interact with the ground. Both the ball and racquet are in mid air. In golf, the ball is going to be on the ground. Almost always. Unfortunately, golfers have even been told, “You have to get under the ball.” Absolutely not. In tennis, yes. Golf, no. The ground is in the way. You have to have courage when it comes to the club interacting with the ground.

You simply can not play good golf if you are trying to get under it; scooping, lifting, or shoveling. The ball must be trapped against the ground. The ground is your friend. Thump the ground in your practice. The club and ball and ground all together for an instant. The sound and feel are distinctive. Good players are going for that sound and feel. They relish that thud and how the ball jumps off having been trapped with nowhere else to go but up. We enjoy getting our clubs dirty too. It’s what happens when you practice off of real turf.

Progress

September 1, 2023

Progress is always slow, but sure. Right? Wrong. Progress can come swiftly. Sometimes even like a bolt from the blue.
Lessons have a bad rap because instructors have a bad habit of yielding to the student’s desperation and impatience. Teachers who do not freak out are worth seeking out.
True: when an actual lesson is presented, practice is often required and progress does take time: minutes, days, weeks, months, even years depending on the goal.
However, progress can happen suddenly and I always shoot for this on the lesson tee. Not quick fix or band aid, but BIG breakthroughs. I am constantly alert for huge “wins” when I am with my students. Here’s an example: I say “Use a half size narrow stance for half shots please.” The student does what I ask and after that first successful shot says “Wow. That’s cool. I love it. Half shots are going to be so much easier now. Thanks Coach.” That’s a golf breakthrough. Not just fast improvement, immediate improvement.
I enjoy this aspect of my coaching. I take pride in it and invite you to come see me in person. Chances are we could create some golf breakthroughs for you.

Games

August 17, 2023

See who can get closest to the hole with the lag putt. Closest to the hole gets a point. Play to ten. See who can hit their 7 iron the lowest or their wedge the highest.  See who can sink the most in a row from three feet. That’s a good putting drill. See who can go around a nine-hole “course” on the putting green in the fewest strokes. Play $5.00 chip ins. Steep stakes, but it’ll get your attention. The trick is to have the stakes be just right. Don’t want to lose a friend. Betting should be for a friendly amount. Not enough to be devastating. Lee Trevino used to play for more money than he had in his pocket. That’s brave. If a buck is too much, play for a quarter.

Starting Your Round

August 2, 2023

Getting your round off to a good start is important. It is really hard to shoot a good 18 hole score if you don’t get off to a good start. This means an early relaxed arrival to the course and an effective warm up. You can’t be racing and stone cold and expect to play well at the start of your round. Our Instruction Staff are experts at personalizing warm up sessions. We are at your service.

Swinging vs. Hitting

July 21, 2023

Swing. Don’t hit. It’s about that simple. Often, I am asked for that one big piece of advice. This is it. The ball is not the target. We are all instinctively sort “ball bound”. This instinct or urge must be overridden with a commitment to swing through and let the ball get in the way. I have students drill, starting with little tiny chip shot swings, with their eyes closed. I want them to learn to trust their golf motion. I want them to learn that you don’t use hand-eye coordination to hit a golf ball. There you have it.

Emotion

July 5, 2023

Emotion plays a huge part in our lives. Sometimes more is good. In sadness we cry. Gladness brings smiles. Humor means big smiles and laughter. When emotion is natural and instinctive perhaps it can’t be helped. We feel great when we finally sink a long one. We get upset when we don’t execute what’s easily possible. 

Trouble happens when we let these instinctive and intuitive feelings get in the way. When we let emotion get the better of us, our ability to reason and use good judgment gets messed up.

I like to see a little emotion. Getting a little “up” when something goes right is good and aids momentum. Momentum is good as long as it’s good. Too much glee though can be bad. Get too fired up and you’ll start trying shots you shouldn’t. Getting down is okay too. As long as it’s harmless and temporary. 

I actually enjoy watching when the tour players succeed and show how they feel. I hate it when they mess up and start cursing and throwing clubs.

Most of my students need to learn to operate on a more even keel. Not emotionless, like a machine, but without the big mood swings that influence upcoming shots.

It is best to just be happy. Finding reasons can be challenging. Really though, it should be easy. Most of us have loving families, a roof over our heads and much more to be thankful for. I suggest dwelling on these good things, even when your little white ball goes somewhere bad.

Letting the Ball Get in the Way

June 21, 2023

Hand eye coordination is absolutely necessary in games where the ball is in motion. Moving balls are hard to find. Ball players have to use hand/eye coordination to get their feet, hands, bat, or racquet on the ball. Take soccer, basketball, baseball, and tennis for example.

Have you ever heard “Keep your eye on the ball”? I am sorry. It’s a killer in golf. Now hear this: In golf, the ball is NOT the target. Good players are not trying to hit the ball. They are trying to hit the green!

Golf instructors overemphasize impact, the ball itself and what your body parts are supposed to be doing. Instead, your coach should be helping you learn “hit removal” and lots about trust and target awareness.

Happily, when the ball is sitting still it is possible to: 1. have more of your attention on the target, 2. swing through and 3. literally let the ball get in the way. Look at it this way. The field goal kicker is kicking field goals, not just trying to kick footballs.

I routinely have students drill with their eyes closed. This is in order that they learn to be more of a swinger and less of a hitter. Let’s all move more freely, seek to swing the club and trust that the ball will get in the way.

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The Lesson Tee

The Lesson Tee

Bob Madsen is the PGA Director of Instruction at Singing Hills Golf Club at Sycuan E-mail Bob Madsen “I love

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