Better Today Than Yesterday

This past week the sports world lost a legend in Muhammad Ali. In my opinion he is one of, if not the greatest athlete of all time. Ali was not only known for his boxing ability, but for his personality. Ali had many great quotes, one of my favorite’s was “Everyday of my life, I hated training, but I said don’t quit, suffer today, and live the rest of your life as a champion.” I love the quote so much because we can relate it to our everyday life so easily. The way I look at it is, in order to grow, you need to try and do something everyday that you do not want to do. There are a lot of things that I force myself to do each day that I really don’t feel like doing, but when you’ve done them, you know you’ve advanced because of it.

Growth in my opinion is a choice. Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. I draw inspiration from a Jerry Rice quote, he said, “I will do today what others will not do, so that tomorrow I can do what others cannot do.” I do not mean that I think I can do things others cannot do, far from it. I think the quote makes me better on a daily basis, as I strive to be the best golf instructor I can be. When I teach golf, I want every student going away from the lesson saying WOW that was an amazing lesson! I want that for my integrity, for business, but most importantly I want the student to feel like they got tremendous value for the hard earned money they spend. With that said, I want to share with everyone, and opportunity to grow in golf. I want to share a drill that is working with many of my students to help cure swing path, and the dreaded slice.

If you slice, this drill should be the backbone of each practice session for the coming weeks. Hit 30-50 range balls a few times each week using the basket set up. Pick out a specific target and work hard to start each ball right of your target.

Using a 7 or 8 iron, grab two plastic driving range wire baskets to use as obstructions. Place the first basket about 18 inches behind the ball, and just far enough to the right to make a proper backswing. (See image) Hit 25 balls from this position. The ball will block out to the right, and you should feel the club being swung from much more behind your body. When you feel comfortable with this drill, take a second basket and place it two feet in front of the ball, but inside the line of the first basket, creating a gate for the club to pass through. (See image) Swinging through this gate should create a nice in to out club path, with proper extension toward your target.

A motto I live by is being better today than yesterday. I hope this drill, and a little inspiration can help make you a better golfer than you were yesterday.

-Matthew Lindberg

The Mental Side of Golf

How often do we hear that the game is 90% mental, yet what do we ever do to help improve our mental game? Many of us work on mechanics, but not many golfers are working on the mental aspect. It’s an indicator of how far teaching & coaching have come that some of the professionals who do it best are actually off the lesson tee these days, devoted to technologies that improve golf performance, and are built with science in mind. Tim Suzor is a great example of this. He is a right brained, left-handed golfer from Michigan, a fellow Ferris State Alum, and the founder/CEO of THINQ Sports. Tim developed a new approach to golf performance. He, along with a few partners created the first real tool to train your brain for golf. Tim has worked with players who have won at every competitive level including the PGA & LPGA Tours, as well as NCAA Division I. Tim believes the mental game should be worked on just as much if not more than simple swing mechanics and ball flight laws. Included is my interview with the man responsible for creating this great tool for golf. (THINQ Sports) Please Enjoy.


(ML): Tell me about your early golf experiences.

(TS): I grew up in Houghton Lake, MI in the Northern Lower Peninsula, where my father was the town veterinarian. When I was 7 years old, my family built a house on a golf course. To me it was a great big playground in our backyard.


(ML): Did you golf a lot as a kid?

(TS): I was left-handed and had a really old set of clubs and I basically played golf recreationally. In 1987 when I graduated from high school I went off to the University of Western Michigan to study aviation.


(ML): At what point did you steer toward a career in golf?

(TS): The summer after my freshman year my brother and I were playing golf with a guy and his grandson. We got to talking and they told me about Ferris State University and their Professional Golf Management Program – Ferris was the original PGM site, established in 1975. I began my studies and internships the next year after proving my playing ability.


(ML): After school, where did your focus shift next?

(TS): After a couple years of teaching full time I became interested in biomechanics, especially the kinematic sequence, as we call it. That led me to join the K-Vest staff where I would end up teaching their level 1 and 2 certification courses. I used what I was learning to create the Kinetic Golf Academy at Camelback.


(ML): Was that roughly the time when you started teaching Tour Professionals?

(TS): Yes, although on a small scale to start. As time went by I added more players including Anna Nordqvist on the LPGA Tour. I found myself paying more attention to how the brain is involved in golf performance.


(ML): Is that why you founded THINQ Sports?

(TS): Yes, so in 2011 Dr. Debbie Crews and I founded THINQ Sports, with the idea of specializing in cognitive skill training. It is a video game based learning platform that trains essential mental skills for optimum performance. Given the demands of startup, I backed away from teaching one on one lessons.


(ML): Did that feel like a major turn in your career path?

(TS): It did, but I was excited to be involved in something that can help 60 million players as opposed to one at a time.


(ML): Regarding brain function and patterns, do men and women think differently?

(TS): There is right-brain dominance and left-brain dominance, but it’s not a male-female thing. What IS interesting is that someone like Anna Nordqvist, who is more of a left-brain type – more analytical, less intuitive – can turn that off. She can be in a lesson soaking everything up and processing it, and then she’ll walk to the tee and totally shut off the mechanical thoughts.


(ML): So there is a “learning mode” and a “performing mode”?

(TS): Yes, and golfers should be aware of this. For example, most of the best players are typically more right brain, one second before they take the club back. Meanwhile most golfers learn and read a lot of left-brain analytical information. Coaches and players need to understand if they are more left or right brain dominant. A better player can usually execute feelings and pictures.


            Tim is very passionate in regards to training the brain to play better golf. He believes we need to get out of our own way on the golf course and clear our minds before each shot. It is a very interesting concept, and one I know I am interested to learn more about over the coming years.

-Matthew Lindberg, PGA