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The Tail Light: Part 1

While at a seminar some years back, the speaker was engaging the audience in the idea of team building. He posed a question that at first glance has a very obvious answer:

“How do you know if your tail light is out?”

Virtually everyone exclaimed with great enthusiasm “Someone needs to tell you!” or “Work together!” or “Ask for help!” Now that the room was worked up into a frenzy exalting our speaker’s wisdom, he vehemently agreed with them and began to lecture on the value of working with others. Then, a puzzled onlooker who shall not be named (but is likely writing this article) raised his hand. And as he was called on to add to the discussion, he threw a wrench in the speaker’s perfectly laid out plans…


The Dissenting Opinion

“I think you should put a brick on the brake pedal, get out, and look for yourself.”

My raised hand and seemingly odd logic was quickly dismissed, leaving me some point between perplexed and irritated. And in that moment, I knew we had something worth sharing with others to combat the naive hearsay presented that day.

Everyone skipped the scenario which, when you travel alone more often than not, you tend to consider more regularly. What happens when you are alone? What happens when you don’t have someone there to offer you advice?

It didn’t seem as if anyone was really giving credit to the concept of an individual utilizing their own sense of awareness. Because golfers are often on their own and forced to internalize a lot of information, being aware of your process is essential for growth and performance.

The real point of the broken tail light analogy is to emphasize that every so often golfers need to pull themselves out of the driver’s seat, relinquish control, and assess things from a new perspective. It’s not that they are removing themselves so far from the situation that they are unable to reconnect with the task, but just far enough away to observe if something is out of place.

And since this is Preston’s Putting, all of this ties back to, you guessed it, putting. Before reaching for the phone to text your coach in dismay about how poorly things have gone, consider the following easy strategies and some of the things that I hear most often.


The Scenarios

“Something doesn’t feel right.”

You can solve this one very easily. Film a face on and down the line putting stroke and check your setup. It truly amazes me how easy things tend to shift around when you’re not paying attention. This could be arm structure, ball position…

This student sent me the follow up photo on the right two weeks after working together with a mild complaint about the results. Notice the change in forward bend shown by the red arrows? And the addition of a mirror, and the tee gate...

“My stroke feels good and nothing is going in.”

Just read the text exchange below. If you think a little bit about the easy stuff you can do better, you might find your answer. You can learn more about the easy stuff by getting your free copy of 3 Things to Know HERE.

“The putter looks like it’s waving around.”

The putter doesn’t wave around on its own. You are still responsible for holding and moving the putter. Consider that how you are moving might influence the end result as we see with Brandon’s stroke here. Notice how his body is moving less in the after video? Notice how the stroke shape changed in the SAM 3D-Putt video?


The Wrap-Up

No one knows a player’s golf game better than the player himself. Consider your awareness of the things you can manage before, during, and after your rounds. Also, keep a brick handy. You might need it to throw through the nearest window, errr, I mean, keeping the brake pedal down while you pull yourself out of the driver’s seat.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for The Tail Light: Part 2

If you haven't subscribed yet, CLICK HERE to download my free e-Book 3 Things to Know. Trust me, it will be the best thing you'll do for your putting short of coming to visit me in Santa Barbara.

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