Lesson Tee: Jeff Coston

The Lesson Tee: Golfers are always learning and re-learning

As a player and a teacher/coach I am constantly learning.  Many times, fortunately or unfortunately, re-learning.  Whether it is something in the pilgrimage of my own golf game or the game I so passionately coach, I am a student learner.  This is one thing that keeps me growing and effective.  I am continually wanting to get better in all areas of my life.  That is just how I am wired!

There are so many facets to this game of golf.  Let’s investigate a few…

Mentally:  How do I decide and commit to this shot?  How do I connect my mind and focus to the target?  How do I curve this ball?  How do I master being physically relaxed and mentally free of the consequence and score?  Why am I more effective on the range than the golf course?  Can I respond well to adversity?  How do I play with and trust my eyes?  There are many more…..

There is a strategy on each hole:  Attacking par 5’s with wedges; hitting the green in two shots on the approach; green side bunker shots from the approach; speed on long putts if you knock the ball on in two shots; 10 feet and in when you hit a good wedge approach; freedom of mind on par 5’s to take advantage of an opportunity.

Strategy for longer par 4’s and par 3’s:  Hit the ball solid in the center of the green; do not cross your line or short-side yourself to leave an accessible pitch if necessary.

Strategy of curving your golf ball to use more of the fairway or green.  Jack Nicklaus told me straight is an accident!  Too many people try to hit the ball straight!

Technique and shot making:  How do I curve the ball?  What are the swing essentials I must master in my swing to be consistent and effective?  How can I read my ball flight to correct myself during a round?  What is proper impact?  Does impact just happen or can I practice and master a constant proper clubface, shaft and hand-path through the hitting area for better striking?  How do I hit the ball crisp and solid consistently?  And many more…….

Short game:  Do I pitch with one club or many?  How do I know where to land the ball on the green?  How do I hit a flop shot?  I can’t hit my 60-degree club, why?  How do I properly hit a bunker shot? 

Putting:  Hit a majority of long putts 30 to 50 feet to develop speed, touch and feel.  Speed on the greens is huge.  People 3-putt because of poor speed not poor line but they give 90% focus on line and it should be the opposite.  Trust your intuitive eyes.  Try trying less; less is more.  Target focus.  Commit to your read on 5 feet and in with a reactive routine.  Roll the ball and let the hole get in the way. It goes on and on……..proper practice, wedge play, fairway metals, driving the golf ball, the proper equipment…….

The good news is these questions and more can and should be answered.  The truth is, you, the golfer, need to ask these questions of someone with the proper experience and expertise to give the correct answer.  Research! It is your golf game; you will be much better after getting the answers to these questions.  Do not stay the same year after year.  Take action for your golf game.  Make a plan and carry it out.  The time is now!

    Jeff Coston is a 12-time PGA Player of the Year and a former PGA Tour Player.  He can be reached for appointment by calling 360 201 4590 or jeffcoston.com.

•  Spend time on putts from three to five feet. Pick a hole on the practice green and put a tee at four feet uphill, downhill, left to right and right to left. These tees would be each putt you practice from. Before you move to the next spot, you need to make at least four of five putts. Place a dime where you desire to roll the ball into the hole. This will train you to focus on a small target in front of the hole.

Aim your blade, then body. Develop a reactive, rhythmic routine. No conscious directions. Less is more. Create a mindset with no outcome orientation to take to the golf course with you!

Jeff Coston is the Pacific Northwest PGA Teacher of the Year. He is a member of the PGA Hall of Fame. Jeff can be reached for appointment by calling Semiahmoo at 360 201.4590.