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October 27 2012

10:24 PM

On the Mark: ‘Dig in’ and grind it out

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Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
Web.com Tour pros like Morgan Hoffmann battled tough conditions in Texas.

ON THE MARK ARCHIVE: Tips from Mark Immelman

By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM

While the PGA TOUR members were scorching The MINES Resort and Golf Club under some perfect scoring conditions in Kuala Lumpur, the Web.com Tour members vying for the Web.com Tour Championship were battling some pretty severe weather conditions in McKinney, Texas.

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Immelman
Chilly temperatures and a 30 mph (two club) North wind on Friday made scoring at TPC Craig Ranch very difficult. The average score rose from around 69.5 in the first round to just under 72 in the second round. Whereas 40 of 60 players shot under par on Thursday, only 16 players managed to break the par of 71 on Friday. On the other side of the coin, only 13 players shot over par in the first round compared to 37 players in the second round. Tough conditions indeed and there is certainly something we can learn about getting the most out of our round under difficult conditions from the future stars playing on the Web.com Tour:

Manage your misses: When playing in cold and windy conditions it is likely that you will miss more shots than you will hit good ones. It is for that very reason that you should adopt a cerebral approach to your shot and play selection. Aim shots toward the safe sides of the targets so that if you do miss you make the next shot as easy as possible. In so doing you will make scoring (which is already difficult due to the tough conditions) a little easier.

Stay patient and disciplined: Patience and discipline are real virtues when the conditions are hard. You have to be disciplined in your resolve to stick to the game plan and you must be patient enough to resist every urge to make ill-advised, unsolicited plays that are too attacking. Playing in adverse conditions is truly a battle of attrition and it is often the patient and disciplined “survivor” who comes out on top.

Remind yourself of the reality: The reality of the situation is that under really severe conditions it is highly likely that everyone is struggling to some extent. That said, it is easy to get wrapped up in your own travails and this can lead to a negative attitude and a poor emotional and mental approach to the round. That approach has its sad end in a bad score, so continually remind yourself that everyone is struggling and a really tough day is a day when it is necessary to dig in and grind out a decent score. Inherent to grinding and surviving is a positive and balanced attitude and sometimes that requires a reminder and work.

Be creative: Creativity is of the utmost importance when playing in tough conditions. Vary the trajectory of your shots to get the most out of them by varying the speed and size of your swing. Also, consider varying your ball position and your club selection and shot selection as these three elements will further enhance your ability to make low scores despite the conditions.

I know that these tidbits of advice may appear clichéd, but trust me they are tried and tested. Know also that it is the player who is prepared to do the little and simple things well that will invariably come out trumps. So be honest with yourself and go out and give these tips a proper effort.

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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