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September 3 2012

2:51 PM

On the Mark: Keep your Mojo Workin’

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Louis Oosthuizen rode his Saturday momentum to seven consecutive birdies at TPC Boston.

ON THE MARK ARCHIVE: Tips from Mark Immelman

By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM

The Deutsche Bank Championship (the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs) at The TPC Boston was an out-and-out birdie fest through three rounds. For all intents and purposes it was a case of attack and make birdies by the bushel or you were likely to get lapped by all and sundry.
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Every player near the top of the leaderboard through three rounds made a string of birdies in a row or a bunch of birdies in a stretch of holes. During the morning of the first round Tiger Woods made six in a row en route to a 7-under 64. That afternoon, after a bogey on his first hole, Rory McIlroy made five birdies in eight holes through the middle portion of his round. Then in the second round McIlroy posted a second successive 65 which was underpinned by another blitz in which he made and eagle and four birdies in another eight-hole span. Round 3 produced more of the same. Dustin Johnson made five birdies in eight holes, and tournament-leader, Louis Oosthuizen birdied holes four through ten for an incredible seven in a row. That got me to thinking about momentum and how it ebbs and flows during a round and a tournament and it highlighted a valuable lesson we can learn from watching the pros: Momentum is variable and at some stages during the round it can be with you and at other stages it can be against you. In order to take advantage of this golfing truism you must be acutely aware of the value of momentum make decisions and plays accordingly. If you feel like momentum is on your side, go ahead and make aggressive plays and decisions within reason. To quote Louis Oosthuizen, “The swing felt great, so I just started going at pins.” On the other hand, if the cards are stacked against you and the momentum is not going your way it is advisable to make calls and plays that are more conservative. I am aware that this tip may appear logical but all too often I see golfers playing defensively when they have a good score on the cards and too aggressively when things aren’t going well. So from now on adopt the following mind-set: Play conservatively and aim for the safe side of the target if you are not playing well because it is unlikely that you will be able to “attack your way out of trouble.” Avoid potentially disastrous plays and do everything in your power to salvage a decent score. On the other hand, if things are going well, do not drop the hand-brake and protect your score. Remind yourself that you are the player who did the work to assemble the score on the card and keep doing exactly the same things. That all being said, remember always that momentum is variable and it can turn at any moment – when it does and the flow of your round changes, be savvy enough to adjust your approach from aggressive to defensive or vice versa. Good luck. /mi

Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State University (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, visit his web site, markimmelman.com or follow him on Twitter @mark_immelman or “Like” Mark Immelman Golf Instruction on Facebook. He also has a golf instruction e-book called “Consistently Straight Shots – The Simple Solution” available on iTunes/iBooks.

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