We've Moved

We've Moved!

Dave Donelson Tee To Green has an exciting new home at
Westchester Magazine.

We're still about all things golf, especially those pertinent to golfers in Westchester and the NY Metro, but now we're in a much bigger space!

Please visit our new home at

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mike Diffley Riffs on Mid-Year Golf

A guest post from Mike Diffley, Head Professional at Pelham Country Club and 2013 Met PGA Teacher of the Year:

The majors are over on the PGA Tour but here in the Northeast everyone should have plenty of competitive rounds under their belt. Good or bad it's time to check yourself. You need to spend time evaluating your game, skills, practice habits, attitude and mindset! Club Championships, Section Championships, getting ready for the finish is important. If you won one tournament a year you would be a legend in your world so look ahead and keep your motivation where it might get you what you want!

Your Game

  • Score: Is it reflecting the state of your game or are there one or two aspects that are weak? Improve weaknesses and maintain strengths. Analyze and plan. Double down on weaknesses.
  • Skills: Grade yourself, A thru F (Driver, Fairways & Hybrids, Irons, Short Irons, Full wedges, less than full shots, around green, long putts, short putts)
  • Practice Habits:  Keep a schedule or at least keep track of how much time is spent on each aspect and what needs to be improved. Make 50 five-footers and hit 25 sand shots as examples. Most players practice a particular shot that might have cost them in their last round or one that left them disappointed. Those are emotional ways to practice, you need to be analytical and practice the important things as well as your weaknesses. Play nine holes often to work on scoring. Use the game "Worst Ball" (play 2 balls and take the worst one on each shot until you hole out and see if you can break 40.) This teaches you course management, concentration and scoring as well as learning to play from everywhere not just the easy places.
  • Attitude:  Are you positive in your thoughts and actions? Are you planning for the rest of the season or have you written it off because it wasn't the start you wanted? You're working hard, tired like most people, but that's no excuse. The difference between those that succeed and those that don't most times is the attitude. My observation has been those with the most drive succeed!

Your Mindset

  • The Fixed Mindset:  Usually people who are talented or smart think that those traits will get them what they want. They have a "cream rises to the top" philosophy. They blame the system or others for their failures. Examples include Pedro Martinez, John McEnroe, Sergio Garcia (big babies). 
  • The Growth Mindset:  People who takes ownership for their success or failures. They don't blame anyone, they just try to figure out a way to better by learning new or better ways to do things.They practice better, condition better, think better. They rise from their defeats and love the challenge of the process of improving. Examples are Tom Watson, Tom Kite, and Michael Jordan.   
As far as how this relates to golfers, players with fixed mindset think hitting balls and having lots of talent or, my favorite misconception, "groove their swing" will make them better. Then there are players who seek many ways to grow their knowledge and skills. They learn to be creative, smart, and better at the important things! They recognize that they are not limited by where they are now but where they will be in the future. Can you change your mindset? The answer is yes! We have the ability to grow and learn and get better by hard, smart work.

Thoughts on the PGA Championship

  •  Rory: Wow! He is now the man, a incredible front-runner and now a comeback for the ages on the back nine. Eagled #10, everyone was laying up to 80-100 yds because they couldn't get near it. He was not to be denied by the competition, Valhalla, the weather or even darkness. He drives the ball 320 with no roll and straight. Clutch putter with no fear in any part of his game. Four majors at 25 years old, same as Jack and Tiger.
  • Valhalla:  Seems to provide exciting events and finishes, has length, risk/reward and greens where putts can be made. Storms seem to find Louisville when it is hosting. How did they get that course ready to play after all that rain? Big hitters reign with the par fives being  very reachable except for #10 and a few 500 yd par 4's.
  • The PGA of America: Chaos at the end with Rory joining up with Phil and Ricky to finish before dark. Phil wanted nothing to do with this and was pissed off (his eyes gave him away) they wanted a chance to do something special and have Rory watch and sweat. The PGA Tour wouldn't have done that. You know if they had to come back on Monday it would have cost significant dollars as well the loss of the golf and sports worlds attention. The PGA of America appeared to choke but ended up ok with the right winner and the whole world watching!

No comments: