More About Training Scars

More About Training Scars
by Dr. T. J. Tomasi
Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research


Review the previous post om training scars here.

Training Scars [TS] are mistakes in your practice protocol woven into the very fabric of your training so that when the practice mode ramps up, the TS’s ramp up with it. To be the best you can be, you must purge your practice of TS’s, because the brain learns the bad as easily as the good. The absence of hazards/threats when you practice is a major TS.  It’s the architect’s role to make the playing field an un-safe place full of challenges by using threats such as visual intimidation and optical illusions to create NO signals in your brain. The upshot of these TS is that you train in benign conditions but play in much more stressful conditions, which is like practicing for your driver’s license exam by driving directly into a parking space when the test is done using parallel parking. Since it’s the architect’s job to make your golf exciting, they will prepare a progression of tests during your round, often requiring you to curve the ball to the left or right, flight it high or low and spin it back or let it run. This is called ‘working the ball,’ and, while it takes a great deal of deliberate practice, the rewards are great.

If you’re a one trick pony with only one ball flight, here’s a drill to expand your shot repertoire. Here’s how to reduce your TS in this regard:

To improve your ball striking use the diamond drill.

  • Tee up your ball and arrange three others in a triangle two feet or so in front of your ball.  The top ball of the triangle should be on the target line with the other two on either side.
  • Your task is to hit three balls per series: one that starts over the right ball and curves back to the target; the second goes directly to the target over the front ball, and the third starts over the left side of the diamond and fades back to the target.
  • When you can do three series in a row [9] without mistakes, you’ll be accurate to any target.

Note: For a right-handed golfer a fade is a curve on the ball from left to right and it’s the opposite for a draw. A fade for a pro is a straight ball that gets to the top of its flight pattern, then falls to the right about three or four yards. When you see a good player fade the ball it looks like a straight shot to the untrained eye; but no matter who’s looking at it, the slice is noticeable. Most golfers slice the ball creating a shot that starts curving soon after it begins its flight and by the time it’s on the ground it may have curved 20 or more yards. The fade is easy to control, the slice is not. And it’s the same for the hook. So, here’s the rule of thumb – if you can see the curve immediately it’s a slice or a hook; if you have to wait to tell, it’s a fade or a draw.

Once you know how to spin the ball on-call you’re ready for another test – the palm trees drill – three balls in each set – one draws, one fades around the trees and one straight between the trees — then one low fade, then a high draw etc.

To learn ball curve and trajectory control I ask my students who are ready to do the drill using the palm trees as goal posts. No palm trees on your range? Create them in your mind!

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.