Today’s guest is fellow Wisconsinite and Director of Instruction/Founder of www.FixYourGame.com, Brant Kasbohm.
Brant graduated from the Professional Golf Management program at Ferris State University and has been teaching since 2000. He works with students all over the world providing video instruction at an affordable price.
My favorite part of the interview is our discussion regarding the importance of a solid pre-shot routine (seriously, it will be your biggest asset when you’re under pressure). Also, subscribe to our newsletter below (or follow the link) and you’ll get the special two for the price of one introductory lesson offer that I’ve set up with Brant. Come on, how are you going to beat two lessons for $20???
- “Focus on the process and let the results take care of themselves.”
Challenge or Failure
- Brant shares his struggles regarding his business of remote golf instruction and the trepidation of the average golfer to use such a service.
- Using the increasing quality of video technology, Brant has been able to pinpoint patterns in his students swings which allows him to develop custom lesson plans and drills.
- Some big news for www.FixYourGame.com, an app is in development so you can get your swing submitted one step!
Best Book for a Golfer
Don’t have time to listen? Check out the transcript below!
Marty: Hey Golf Strategy School! This is Marty Griffin. I am back with today’s featured guest-Brant Kasbohm.
Brant, are you ready to take us to school?
Brant: Let’s do it.
Brant is the founder of www.fixyourgame.com, a website that’s been up since 2010. He does remote video golf lessons. Brant is a graduate of Ferris State in the golf management program. He’s been teaching since 1997. He’s actually had customers all the way from Iceland.
Brant, I’ve given Golf Strategy School a little bit about you. Why don’t you let us know what got you hooked on golf, and tell us a little bit more about yourself personally?
Brant: Thanks, Marty.
I got hooked on golf back as a small boy from my grandfather. It grew into a love of the game, and got to be able to play the game at a reasonably competent level and decided that being in the golf business was something that I wanted to pursue. I want to Ferris State in their golf management program and became a golf instructor. I worked at several golf courses around the Midwest and in 2010 started fixyourgame.com kind of as a way to integrate golf instruction with the increase of video technology that we have out there. I mean, you can film your video on your phones, on any mobile device. The elite players in the world are doing that with their instructors and they’re sending video back and forth. Players in the world are their instructors looking at their swings when they’re..you know, if Rory McIlroy is playing in Abu Dhabi and his instructor isn’t with him, they’re sending video back and forth. I figured there’s no reason why the average guy out there, no matter where they are, can’t do the same thing.
Marty: I think that’s fantastic to kind of bring that service to the every man, or woman, so we can kind of experience that same catered-to instruction level. That’s fantastic.
When I’m out there on the course, I always have a random number of things or thoughts in my head. I always try to keep one motivational thought or mantra, sometimes it’s a quote, often it’s a quote, do you have a favorite go to success quote or mantra? Let us know how you apply that to your game.
Brant: The quote would be “Focus on the process, and let the results take care of themselves.” Golf is unique in sports in that when you’re playing golf, you can’t control the results in golf like you can in some other sports. For example, if you and I, Marty, if we’re playing against each other, whether it’s stroke play or match play, I have no control whatsoever on what you do with your golf ball. What you score, I have no control over it whatsoever. I can only control what I do to my golf ball, to my score. I can’t control anybody else. I can play the round of my life, I could go out and shoot 65 at Medinah and you could come in and shoot 64, and I got beat by one.There’s absolutely nothing I could do to control that.
Marty: I’ll send you a very nice letter when that happens for me.
Brant: That’s why I try to personally, and I tell students to, just focus on the process, and the results will happen; let the result be whatever it may be. How many times have you stood on the tee box of a hole and said “I need to make birdie on this hole”? Or I need to make Par on that hole. I do it, and most people have at some point. That’s focusing on the result, not on the process. You can’t make birdie on a hole if it’s Par 4 until you drive it in the fairway. You’ve got to focus on the process at hand and then let the results take care of themselves. Whether it’s stroke play, match play, or any other game that you’re playing at golf, even if you’re just out playing by yourself, we’ve all had times where we hit the perfect shot and then a gust of wind comes up and knocks it into a bunker or your putt hits a spike mark or a ball mark and gets knocked off course. There’s things that you can’t control. Too many people want to work on it backwards. They want to start at the result and say I need to make birdie on this hole or I want to break 80 or 90 or 100 for the first time, instead of focusing on the thing that they can control, which is that next shot.
Marty: I think that’s definitely a stigma that people pick up really really quick. You get so attached, well, really, in life, not just with golf, you get so focused on that end result that you forget the process. A lot of times, and especially with golf, that process is not only the most important part, but it’s the most enjoyable part. When you swing that four iron and you’re a quarter buried in the rough and it just feels like a marshmallow coming off the face because you pured it so well, you don’t care where that lands. You’re thinking to yourself holy crap, I just smoked this four iron out of the rough, let’s go see where it went. You’re much more focused on that process than the actual result. So I couldn’t agree more. That’s a fantastic point to have in mind.
Brant: Yeah, and there’s just so much that we can’t control. Like in tennis, if I’m playing you in tennis, Marty, and I know that you’ve got a good forehand but a bad backhand, I can try to hit it to your weakness, or I can try to play off of your weakness. But in golf there’s no way for me to do that, even if we’re playing match play, if we’re playing one on one match play. I can’t control what you do. I mean sure, there’s going to be some holes that might set up better for your shot shape or if you’re a long hitter you might do better on a Par 5, but that has nothing to do with me-that’s your game. There’s nothing I can do to control anybody else on the golf course other than what I’m doing on the next shot.
Marty: That’s absolutely right. I think a lot of people, kind of in the same vein, when they have the honors and they see someone lace it out there like 285 and they know that they’re not a big hitter, so often they get caught up in that game of whatever you can do, I can do better, and they starting swinging out of their shoes, and it just starts to fall apart in a heartbeat.
Brant: I’ve never seen anybody make a birdie with a driver so I see so many times people say I need to make birdie on this hole, or I’m going to hit this Par 5 in just two, and they just wail on the driver as hard as they can. I do it myself, too. You end up getting into trouble and out of bounds; you lose your fundamentals and it can all come apart very easily.
Marty: I’ve never seen someone hit birdie with a driver-that’s going to have to go on my quote board here.
Let’s kind of get into the nuts and bolts. I always tend to absorb things better when it’s kind of in a story format, so can you take us to a time when you really had a big challenge or an obstacle in your way? Walk us through what led up to it and how you overcame it.
Brant: The biggest challenge that I face now, and I don’t think I’ve overcome it, I think it’s in the process…going back to process…is with how I operate and do golf lessons online remotely where people film their swing and upload a video to me. It’s a different concept. It’s different from how people are used to getting their golf instruction or taking a lesson. We’re used to going into the pro shop and grabbing a pro and going out to the range or setting an appointment with a local pro. That’s still the best way to get golf instruction. I’ve never said that my site or my program is better than going and getting a one on one golf lesson. It’s a different way, it’s just a different model.
It’s been a challenge to constantly let people know that this method works. It’s a way to have your golf swing evaluated by a trained set of eyes, and it’s certainly better than doing it yourself, or reading “Golf Digest,” or buying the latest DVD, or trying the latest fad driver or spending a couple thousand bucks on a new set of clubs when you probably don’t need it.
Marty: Or having your buddy who’s four beers in give you his opinion?
Brant: Right, right. Or even worse: your husband or wife felt they were trying to tell you what to do, and then they end up in divorce court.
Marty: Keep Judge Judy out of this.
Brant: Right, right, right. We don’t need that.
It’s not something that I’ve overcome because it’s still new, but as we, as technology progresses devices are capable of filming video. Like this new iPhone that came out-it takes fantastic video.
Marty: Yeah, and it’s got a slow-mo mode now, too.
Brant: It takes slow motion video and it’s absolutely fantastic for a golf lesson. As the video quality gets better and people get used to doing more and more things online, I mean, we shop online, we pay our bills online, we do most everything online now. I think as more and more people get used that, taking a golf lesson online will become more orthodox, more normative.
Marty: Sure, yeah. I know one of my instructors was, Bill Kokott…I should probably say this for the audience out there, Brant and I are actually in the same city, so I’ll throw out some names that he may or may not know, but…Bill Kokott was one of my instructors over at Nine Springs, and he was one of the first guys in the area to use video, and this was back in ‘02. I still have the VHS tapes that he gave me of my swing from when I was 19. They’re still something that I occasionally…it’s the only reason why I still have a VCR. My wife likes to think it’s because of her massive video collection, but it’s really only so I can look at my golf swing. But yeah, it’s definitely something that I needed as…the way the learned, I wasn’t so much a tactile guy. I mean, I could feel things and I went through the motions and it was helpful, but I learned best from actually seeing where I needed to be and being able to attempt to emulate it, and then being able to see that proof as to whether or not I hit that position. I definitely think that it’s such a common place now, video analysis, that it’s really kind of opened up that whole end of the industry.
Brant: Years ago I worked with an instructor, and I taught in the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy years ago, and John O’Leary was the head instructor there, and he used the term that there’s a difference between feel and real. What you feel is going on in your golf swing likely is different than what is actually happening. That’s what’s great about the video-the video doesn’t lie. I can put your swing on video and I can compare it side by side to Rory McIlroy. You might feel like your swing is too long or too short or your balance is back on your heels or more on your toes, but I can compare it side by side with an elite player and say yes or no. So what I feel is going on in my swing is not necessarily what is actually happening. That is the best part about video, because somebody will say I think I’m doing this or my swing feels like I’m doing this, and then we look at it and we compare it to some elite players and say no, what you’re feeling is not what’s happening in your swing, or yes, you are spot on and here’s some things you can do to improve that. There’s a difference between feel and real.
Marty: Absolutely. I know it took me at least a solid five, six months when I first started taking lessons to actually figure out where in my swing half-way back is. I think if you tell somebody to go half-way back, 95% of the people are going to take it shoulder high.
Brant: I agree, yep.
Marty: That’s definitely an instance that I’ve come across with that same exact thing.
Let’s transition, Brant, into the other end of the spectrum here. What was a big success that you’ve had? Kind of an epiphany or an “ah-ha” moment. Take us through that-what led up to it? What made you get there? What made you think that it was an epiphany moment for you?
Brant: Watching a lot of video and doing a lot of video golf lessons in the format that we do, I’ve started to look at things in the swing differently, or look at different things in a swing that you couldn’t necessarily see, or I didn’t focus on it much when I was doing live face-to-face golf lessons. One of those things is the release, and how you release your wrists and release your body during the swing.
An “ah-ha” moment was a few years ago fairly early on after I started fixyourgame.com. I noticed a significant number of higher handicappers, or what we would call the “average golfer.” The guy that’s out there struggling to break 100. They release their hands and body opposite in their down swing. For example, if you watch the elite players, they’ll start their downswing from the hips or the waist up. Some instructors will say start the downswing from the ground up, and that’s…I can get with that, but I like to say that it’s from the hips up. The hips starts to rotate or uncoil towards the target, and then after those have cleared the ball, then the arms and hands swing through, which is opposite of what I see a lot of high handicap players do. They want to throw their arms and hands at the ball and then, after impact, then their hips clear. When we watch that on the video, I can pause it and I can go frame by frame through it. I can see in an elite player, like in my video lessons I use Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald’s swings a lot because I think those are two of the most fundamentally sound athletic golf swings out there right now. So when I see somebody like Rory McIlroy, I can see at impact his hips are rotated way past the ball and his belt buckle is way pointed almost I’d say close to 45 degrees in between the ball and the target.
Whereas when I watch a lot of amateur players, I see at impact their belt buckle is still pointed at the ball. They’ve swung their arms first, and then they let their hips swing through after impact. That’s just backwards of how the strong athletic swings are put together. I end up talking a lot about how you sequence your downswing, of how you want to start that downswing from the hips and work upward from there; hips to hands versus the other way around.
Marty: So when you come across someone who has that, almost like a casting motion where they’re starting off high, what do you, and I’m not asking for the secret sauce here, what do you do to kind of help them properly order the swing then? Because untraining is just about the hardest thing to do.
Brant: There’s no secret sauce. Many people have tried to develop the secret, and…I’ll get to your question in a second, I thought this was important to mention…how we learn as human beings is through repetition and instruction. There’s no other ways that we can learn. You know with small kids you’ve got to repeat over and over and over and over and over, and that’s how we learn is through instruction and repetition- there’s no secret, secret drill, or secret sauce like you said that can get somebody to get it or to feel that. What I like to do on this particular matter of someone with release, I like to focus on divots. I like to see them, number one, take a divot. That means you’re striking the ball with a downward blow. That means your hands are in front of the ball at impact. If you cast the club or have an early release, you’re not going to take a divot. Your scooping; you’re making a scooping motion at the ball and you’re not going to have that powerful downward blow on the ball. So number one I want to see someone take a divot, have their hands ahead of the ball at impact. A lot of the fancy golf terminology, they call that shaft-lean. The shaft is leaning towards the target at impact. That’s just a fancy way of saying that your hands are ahead of the ball at impact.
I also try to work with people on feeling that motion of having your hips rotate. If you’re a right handed player, have your hips rotate clockwise on the backswing and then counterclockwise on the downswing, and that’s as if we were looking down on your swing from up above. I’ll have people do drills where you take your normal stance and move your right foot 8, 10, 12 inches back so it’s like an extremely closed stance, and that will basically force your hips to rotate clockwise on the backswing so you can feel that motion, you’ll physically feel your hips rotate when you’re in that extreme close stance, it forces your hips to rotate. Then I’ll do the opposite on the downswing. I’ll tell someone to take some practice swings with an extreme open stance with their left foot, maybe 12 inches behind where it normally would be, so that helps to feel your hips rotate towards the target on the downswing. That’s a couple of things that I’ll do to help the release-help them feel their hips moving in the swing. If you watch the elite players, the tour pros, they rotate their hips a lot in the swing. That’s something that physically a lot of us, we don’t have the flexibility..I know I don’t have the flexibility…to rotate, and I’m not as strong through the core as a lot of those elite players are, so it’s not a surprise that most people out there that I see, that I work with, are…we’re limited in our flexibility and our mobility through the hip. So we need to work on that as well as our physical strength with the golf drills.
Marty: So, you’re telling me it’s not like Sylvester Stallone in Over the Top where you can kind of just move one finger over the other and he can just crush it 350 down the middle?
Brant: Right, right.
Marty: It’s sad that that was probably Sylvester’s best acting.
So, moving on here. Can you take us back to the beginning of your golf career? This was a question that was given to me by one of the guys in my Thursday night league-just to hear what that first lesson was like that you gave. Where was it and how did it go?
Brant: Boy, I am not sure I remember my first face-to-face golf lesson that I did. I do remember the first video lessons that I did when I started the website fixyourgame.com back in 2010. I do remember the first students and customers that I had then, and we’ve improved dramatically since then. I used to be a lot more long winded, and I really try to focus on only one or two things per lesson. As an instructor you want to feel like someone is going to be happy with their lesson, that they’re going to be satisfied, and so you want to feel like you’re fixing multiple things that you see in their swing. You don’t want someone to come to your website or come to your business and leave disappointed, so you want to kind of over-deliver, but as a golf instructor you have to be wary of that because you can give someone too much. Like I said, it takes repetition in order for us to learn, so if I throw five or six things on somebody that’s just simply too much. I remember seeing it when I did face-to-face lessons, you know, you can see somebody just kind of lock up, mentally lock up and shut down like when you’re computer freezes up. Over the years in the video golf lessons we’ve really tried to focus on one or two things, and I’m not afraid anymore to go back with someone who’s taken multiple lessons from me and say go back and look at that last lesson that we did in February of 2013 because we’re still working on the same things that we talked about back then. Go back and review that lesson instead of overloading somebody with too much info.
Marty: I think we’ve all, kind of like you mentioned, you’re not going to become a scratch golfer by reading “Golf Digest.” We’ve all read those how to break whatever score and the 15 reasons that’ll make you the best iron player in the world-just ask Adam Scott. You get that whole list in your back pocket and you’re just going to have brain lock and you’re not going to know which one to pull at certain times.
Brant: I get a kick out of all of the gimicky tools and training aids and devices, you know, well this wedge will save you shots, and this putter will save you four shots, and this driver will save you three, oh buy this book and you’ll save four more shots. I’ve often wondered if I’ve bought all that, spent a couple thousand bucks and bought all that if I could shoot zero. Would I shoot zero?
Marty: I mean, you can just stand on the first tee and lace it at the 18th green.
Let’s kind of talk about the current business, Brant. What stuff do you have going now that’s really getting you excited about your business today?
Brant: What I’m excited about now is the growing prevalence of video. More and more things…it’s much easier to record video than it was even a few years ago. That’s what’s exciting.
I’m also excited..I’m in the process of developing a mobile app for the website and a mobile version of the website. You can film your swing and upload the video all in one step right from your phone or your tablet. Whereas now it’s a two step process-you have to film the swing either with your phone or your digital camera, and then go to the regular website and upload the videos. So we’re working on a mobile version of that as well as an app. That’s something that’s exciting.
The overall ease of recording video is getting easier, and I think as more and more people adopt online golf lessons…that’s the exciting thing about it…more and more people are accepting this or realizing that this is a legitimate method for improving your golf game.
Marty: Nice, yeah, mobile is where everything tends to be going these days and the ability to just kind of just film it right there on the range and just shoot it off would be awesome.
Alright, Brant, well we are up to the rapid fire round. Are you buckled in, are you ready?
Marty: What is the biggest thing that you find holding the development of your students back?
Brant: I think the lack of practice is a big thing. Or, I take two things-the lack of practice and we mentioned a couple of times already that it takes a lot of repetition to be good at anything. I often compare it to the first time…if you get a new car or you drive a rental car it’s awkward, it’s foreign to you, but the more you drive it it becomes familiar to you. That’s no different than golf, it’s no different than anything we do. I think our culture is a quick fix-if something doesn’t work we just throw it away and get a new one- we don’t have a lot of patience.
The other thing, and I don’t think that…there’s a lack of understanding of how athletic golf can be. The elite golfers, you know, there’s still a perception among novice players or beginning players that golfers are a bunch of overweight middle-aged guys..
Marty: It’s your lawyer’s game.
Brant: Right, right. But when I look at the tour pros and I see a lot of guys that are big strong athletic guys, and the women, I mean, they are athletic, they’re strong. I think people don’t realize how athletic the elite players are. Someone will say well I want to hit it this far or why can’t I do that, and I’m like well you know Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, they spend a ton of hours in the gym to get as athletic and strong as they are. I’m not as big and strong as Ernie Els, no matter what I do I’m never going to be that big. People have to recognize the physical limitations in their games as well.
Marty: You want to hit it 350? Get in the gym and squat 400.
Brant: And that’s the other thing-everyone wants to hit it farther, I get that, but you can only hit it as far as you can hit it. There’s a maximum distance that you, and me, and everyone else are physically capable hitting it with the physical skills that they have and the current technology that’s out there. There’s a limit to how far you or me can hit it. You can only hit it as far as you can it hit, but there’s no reason why you, me, or anybody else doesn’t have the physical skills to be a good putter, to have a good short game. That doesn’t take a whole lot of physical skill to making a putting stroke; it doesn’t. I know there are people that will argue with that, but to sit there and make a putting stroke, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to do that. People focus on hitting it far, they want to hit it as far as Bubba Watson, and I can’t do that. No matter what I do; he’s bigger and stronger and more flexible than I’ll ever be. The same is true for 99% of the people out there, but there’s no reason why we can’t have a good short game. That’s where I’ll try to get people down to earth and more focused on that aspect as well.
What is the single best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
Brant: There’s nothing wrong with an honest day’s work. If you want to get better at something, you’ve got to put the work into it. That’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given. Whether it’s working on your business, working on your golf game, there’s nothing wrong with an honest day’s work. You’ve got to put in the effort.
Marty: That’s why it’s a quarter to 10 o’clock and we’re recording a podcast! Because the kids are in bed.
Brant: Right. It’s quiet.
If a student comes to you in a slump, what’s your go to method to help their way out of it?
Brant: It depends on the student. There’s some people that really need to work their way through it, so some people you need to recommend more practice. Then there’s some that burn themselves out, so I’ve had a lot of people that grind and grind and grind and they burn themselves out. In those cases it’s take a week off and reset then come back to it a little later. It really depends on the student, so there’s not a single go-to that if someone is in a slump. I always go back to the core fundamentals-where are you aimed? What’s your posture doing? Things like that, and the golf swing. It’s very very rarely somebody’s peripheral things. You can always go back to the two or three core fundamentals.
Marty: I’ve heard people say mind the G.A.P-the grip, the aim, and the posture.
Brant: Me, personally, my golf game, I have to focus on alignment. I don’t get aimed right. I’ll aim too far left a lot of times, so when I get playing poorly it’s where am I aimed? I’ve been playing golf for a long long time-you don’t outgrow these fundamentals. It’s something that you always need to work on.
What is one of your personal habits that you feel contributes to your success?
Brant: I would say that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I want to make sure that someone is happy with their golf lesson and I’ve improved their golf game. I’ve always had with the website..I’ve always had no questions asked money back guarantee. Even when I was doing face-to-face golf lessons and working at golf courses, I always told students that if you don’t think that you’ve improved by taking a golf lesson from me, I don’t want your money. I won’t accept it. I want someone to feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth out of a golf lesson. To date so far I haven’t had a single student ask for a refund on the website, so still hoping that holds true going forward.
Well speaking of fundamentals, in your opinion what is the most fundamental part of golf?
Brant: I’m going to say…I talk about posture a lot. That’s how we set up to the golf ball-like our spine angle, how much we’re tilted forward. So, number one, I want someone to get in a balanced and athletic stance or posture. Then once they’re in that posture, you’ve got to maintain that posture throughout the swing. That in my mind is the most fundamental part of golf. How we’re setting up to the golf ball and then how we’re maintaining that posture through the swing. When we talked at the start of this show about things that you can control, and how I set up or how I adjust my body in relation to the golf ball is one of the very few things I can control on the golf course. I want to make sure I’m in a as balanced and athletic a stance as I possibly can be in. I think that is the most fundamental part of the golf swing.
Marty: One of my instructors, I don’t know if he’s still teaching at Rock River Hills in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, but his name is Doug Sheldon, he’s was a former coach with the University of Wisconsin men’s team, we would get out on the range, he would ask me if I was warmed up, then he’d have me address the ball and he’d walk around…pretending to look at my alignment and my stance and everything, and he would poke me to test my balance with the grip of the club. He’d give me just a little bit of a push on the shoulder or he’d stand in front of me and just give me a little tiny shove with his hand just to test that balance. So frequently I would fall off. He’d go-so you’re not ready; you told me you were ready, but you’re not.
Brant: If you look at the good golf posture, and this is something I talk about all the time, next time you’re flipping through “Golf Digest” or you’re watching golf on TV look at that good golf posture. You’ll see that if you take the club out of whoever’s hands, let’s use Rory McIlroy since he’s the number one player in the world, if you take the club out of his hands, he looks like he could be guarding someone in basketball; he could be returning a serve in tennis; he could be playing shortstop; he could be a goalie in soccer or hockey. That same stance is common throughout most any sport because that’s where the human body is the most balanced and the most athletic. It puts us in a position to make an athletic motion. When your body is out of balance, it’s going to naturally do what it can to get back in balance. It’s one of the reasons why you see the tour pros and they look like it’s effortless. Among other things, one of the reasons is they’re in balance throughout their entire swing. They don’t have any wasted motion or energy trying to get their bodies back into balance. If I’m walking down the street and I stub my toe and start to fall down, no one looks balanced or graceful doing that-your arms are flailing away, you’re trying to keep your balance no matter what by any means necessary. That’s how a lot of people are. A lot of beginners and amateurs have all this extra motion-it’s because their bodies are trying to maintain that balance. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the more moving parts you have, that’s the more things that can go wrong. We want to be in as good a balance as we can so we have as few as moving parts as possible.
Marty: If you could recommend one book to a golfer, what would it be and why?
Brant: I’m going to go with Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Outliers.
Marty: I love that book!
Brant: It’s not a golf book, but he explores the concept…or he brings forth this theory that in order to be an expert at something, it takes 10 years, 10,000 hours. He goes and he profiles several, well, some are famous some are not, several experts and talks about how it may look like they stumbled across their success in a eureka moment. But going back into their lives, they put in these thousands and thousands of hours. That’s no different than anything we do, including golf, that if someone wants to be an expert at it, it takes time and it takes practice and it takes instruction. That’s just simply how we learn. It’s a fascinating book to read. You can pull the insights for golf, but you can pull insights for your dad to day life as well. It’s a fantastic book.
Marty: I love that 10,000 hours mentality. That’s what it truly takes to become an expert at something.
Brant: It’s true. If you look at your own life…like the first lessons I did, I’ll admit, weren’t great. But as you work on it…or think about starting a new job or anything, it takes time and it becomes almost automatic when you become an expert at something. Not to go off on, I hope you don’t mind, I might down a little rabbit hole, that’s why the importance of building a routine, like a pre-shot routine is so important, because if you practice it enough and you build in a check list of all these fundamentals-good grip, good posture, good alignment- build that into your routine, it will become to where you don’t even think about it anymore. I always compare it to…I bet you have a routine every morning when you get up and you don’t even think about it. First thing I do is make a cup of coffee and then take shower, then brush my teeth..whatever the routine, most people have a set order for it, and we don’t even think about it, you just do it because you’ve done it for so long. Next thing you know you’re at your office and you’re like how the heck did I get here? So that’s the importance of building a pre-shot routine that encompasses a check of all these fundamentals. Do I have a grip on the club? Am I aligned properly? How’s my posture; ball position; things like that, so that when you do it repetitively, when you get in that pressure situation, you’re not focusing on each minute detail and overloading your brain; you’re just going through your routine.
Marty: My belief is that that is the weakest link in most people’s games who have, let’s say, a 15 handicap or higher. If you can’t focus on the details of the shot…like we’ve mentioned already a couple of times in this interview-golf is hard enough. We don’t need to make it any more difficult on ourselves. You need to have a try and true method. I can tell you that when I address a putt, I look at the putt from behind the ball, I take one practice stroke, I take a look at the ball, take a second practice stroke, look at the hole, look an inch behind my ball, make my putting stroke, and hopefully hear it hit the bottom. That’s what it is every single time. I definitely definitely agree with that. It’s kind of like, there’s a movie called “For the Love of the Game” with Kevin Costner where he’s the pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Billy Chapel, and he’s got that thing where..they say it on and on as he gets into the perfect game..he says “clear the mechanism.” When he goes through that mental check list, then he silences the crowd, and it’s like he’s just playing catch with his catcher. That’s his version of a pre-shot routine. You cannot overstate the importance of a pre-shot routine, in my opinion.
We’re getting down to pretty much the end here. I’ve got one more question that I’m going to sneak in before our last one, and I’m not sure if I put this in the interview flow I sent you, but feel free to shoot from the hip here. We’ve had a lot of folks from my golf league and the different golf groups on Facebook I’ve been a part of asking these questions that they would want to hear answered. One of the big recurring questions is-what’s your favorite practice drill?
Brant: Sure. I like to use drills and practice techniques…I tell my students everything you need to improve your golf game you’ve already got in your bag, so I don’t like to use fancy or a separate practice or drill or instruction aids or things like that. My favorite go-to drill or practice aid is using extra golf clubs to check your alignment. If you’re hitting a six iron, put your four iron or your pitching wedge down by your feet. Get aligned properly. That will help you. The other part that goes along with that is to pick an intermediate target when you’re aligning your full shots. That is, stand behind your ball, pick a spot a foot or two in front of your ball, in-between your ball and your ultimate target. Then when you address the ball you just have to visualize railroad tracks. There’s a line going through your ball through that intermediate target out to your ultimate target, then picture your hip, feet, shoulders parallel to that line. Does that make sense?
Brant: It’s awfully hard when you’re standing in the tee box. If you’re on a Par 5, what’s your target? The target might be hundreds of yards away, so it’s awfully hard to align yourself to something that that’s far away. But if I pick a little corner of a divot or broken tee or something that’s only a foot away, it’s much much easier to align yourself to that.
Marty: If I’m in that tee box and I’m looking for something to align myself with, that intermediate target like you mentioned, I know what I always do is I take..and where I tee up my ball is directly dependent upon what kind of small intermediary target that I have. I’m really not good at visualizing a target line, so I have to pick something that’s only maybe two or three inches in front of my ball, but it’s that same principle where I always make sure I stand with my shoulders down the target line when I tee up my ball, whereas most people tend to tee it up from like an address position, where they’re parallel with their target line, I actually stand where you would behind the ball and make sure I have my tiny little thing in front of me to aim at.
Brant: And when you use that intermediate target, you can get into your golf posture and into your set-up position, and you can check your alignment just by…out of the corner of your eye. You don’t have to turn your shoulders to look down the fairway or anything like that. I’ve seen people over the years get set up and then they’ll turn and rotate towards the target and they don’t ever get back into their stance. With the intermediate target you can check your alignment without having to move your body. You can stay in your posture.
Marty: Excellent. Excellent.
Well Brant, we’re to the last question. It’s a little tougher than the rest of them, so feel free to take a minute if you need it. If you woke up with only 24 hours to prepare for the tournament of your life, what would you spend that time doing to make sure you had your best round possible?
Brant: Well hopefully I’d get a good night’s sleep before-that would probably be the most important thing. If it was a course I wasn’t familiar with, I would want to get all of the data that I could. I guess I’m a little more analytical when it comes to golf courses. I like to try to plot out or try to create some kind of a game plan based on what my personal strengths are. For example, if I’m good at shots from 100 yards but bad at shots from 60 yards, I might plan on you know…okay, well I can’t go for this Par 5 in two, it’s too far, so I’m going to lay up to this, that means I don’t have to hit a driver off the tee. Things like that. I would want to get as much data about the golf course and about distances and shapes of the holes and things like that.
Then as far as practicing, I would be on the putting green most of the time and hitting putts in that 6 to 10 foot range because that’s where it comes down to the make or break. It’s how you’re making those putts in kind of that intermediate range. Most people expect to make a very high percentage when you get inside of five feet-you’re expecting to make a vast vast majority of those. You get between six and maybe 15 feet-those are what makes or breaks your round. Those are the putts that if you make a significant number of those you’re going to get a good score. If you’re missing a lot of those, you’re not.
Well Brant, that actually brings us to the end of our interview. I really appreciate your time here on Golf Strategy School. Before we officially say goodbye if you could give us one parting piece of guidance, and let us know how we can get ahold of you. Then we’ll say farewell.
Brant: Thanks, Marty. I appreciate being on your show and talking to your listeners.
Focus on the fundamentals. Check your posture, especially make sure you’re in a balanced and athletic posture.
You can find me online. The website is fixyourgame.com. All of the drills that I use for our golf lessons are up on youtube for free. Those are all available at youtube.com/fixyourgame. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website.
Marty: Awesome. Again Brant, I can’t thank you enough. Thanks for being part of Golf Strategy School.
Brant: Thank you.