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The Tour Report

October 14 2012

12:52 PM

On the Mark: Stick to your keys

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Larry Mize revisted some old swing thoughts for more success with his irons.
ON THE MARK ARCHIVE: Tips from Mark Immelman By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM This week I am heartened that two Champions Tour players I teach, Larry Mize and Loren Roberts, are in good shape through two rounds of The Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn.
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Working with some of the legends of the game from the Champions Tour has been a wonderful experience for me and I can comfortably say that I have learned as much from them as they have learned from me. One of the enduring lessons is the fact that, to a man, every player retains his individual approach to the game. Furthermore, the elder statesmen keep things fiercely simple and to the point. There is never any “fluff” and certainly never any over-complication of anything – with the advent of increased video-based golf lessons that indeed is a lesson for us all. This week, Mize has hit 81 percent of the greens in regulation and has made 12 birdies in two rounds. These numbers indicate the realization of a goal we set – a goal to sharpen up his iron play and get a few more legitimate birdie opportunities. Mize is perennially one of the most accurate drivers of the ball on the Champions Tour and he normally hits a good number of greens in regulation. Of late, however, his iron-play had waned. To improve his iron play, Larry and I revisited a couple of the keys we worked on at the outset of our instructor-player relationship in 2009. Over our time together, Larry’s swing definitely improved and grew and as a result our work and our focus evolved a bit. As this continued to happen we definitely uncovered some minor issues that we looked to address. Whereas these “fine” adjustments appeared to be a good idea at the time, the downside of the work was that our focus on Larry’s “major” keys, or “critical success factors” as I like to call them, decreased. It was amazing to me that as soon as we began to revisit the important keys to Larry’s swing the ball-contact instantly began to sharpen up and the shot pattern tightened. More often than not I would mention to him that he was starting to look like 2009 – a season in which he had 10 top 10s in 20 tournaments and finished 25th in the Masters. The lesson that you can learn from Mize is that you must identify what your personal “Critical Swing Success Factors” are – consult your professional, if you must – and no matter what happens, you must keep constant tabs on them. Remember also, this mantra that I remind myself of on a daily basis: “Once a swing habit, always a swing habit…” It seems hard to believe but it is one of the things of which I have become convinced. Let a Masters champion be proof of that. 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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