A Lesson Learned: Holistic Golf

Brandt Snedeker
Getty Images
Brandt Snedeker has mastered every facet of his game through countless hours of practice.
Christian Czaja, PGA

Problem Area: Fundamentals
Series: Lesson Learned

Published: Sunday, July 28, 2013 | 10:38 p.m.

One of the things that strikes me about Brandt Snedeker, this week's champion of the RBC Canadian Open, is that he is a complete golfer. That may read incredibly obvious, but I'm saying from a PGA Instruction perspective, it's obvious he has no weakness anywhere in his golf game. There is a great amount of attention given to his putting (rightfully so!) but he is a complete golfer in every sense. He drives the ball straight, has plenty of distance, has solid iron play, a very good short game and of course, a sometimes magical putting stroke. Wouldn't we all love to say we had those golf skills?

And this leads to this week's "A Lesson Learned".

Golf is a game played from tee to green (and to the hole) and it amazes me how many amateur golfers seem to forget that while practicing on their own. How much time do you spend on your tee shots vs. on the putting green? How about your bunker practice? Do you hit chip shots and pitch shots and lob shots too?

The name of the game in golf is scoring. Why don't you score better? Most of my students say - "putting." It makes sense, right? Actually, maybe you don't putt better because you keep leaving yourself ten feet on your chips. Or maybe your irons, when they do find the green, leave you too far away to reasonably expect to two-putt. Or maybe your irons aren't very good because you keep having to hit approach shots out of the trees or deep rough.

The bottom line is, golf is a holistic game and there's a very good chance you do not really know what the weakest areas of your game might be.

One of the things I recommend to students who are serious about becoming better golfers is to take a few playing lessons with a PGA Professional, a total golf immersion experience in fact, so that they can give you a top to bottom assessment of your golf game.

We can keep statistics, help you play the percentages, work on your mental game and composure as well as teach the basic skills for a consistent, repeatable swing or putting stroke. When you put ALL of those elements together, you will become a better golfer.

Brandt Snedeker could take your tee shot and still shoot a good score. He could chip/pitch/putt from where your approach shots end up and put up a strong number. Why? Because he's a complete golfer - which he showed time and time again. He doesn't lose his cool, he never gets flustered and he has the skills to play any number of shots from any spot on the course.

You may never develop all the skills of a Brandt Snedeker, but you should develop all the skills that you can to get the most out of your time on the course. Think of golf as a building, each shot a brick in the foundation - all of the bricks needed to complete the project.

Get a professional eye to be the architect, to look at each brick, each wall, each wing until the building is complete. I think you'll be happy you did.

Christian Czaja is the PGA Golf Instructor at Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida and is a popular SwingFix Instructor for the Golf Channel. Czaja was voted 2010 South Florida PGA Section Teacher of the Year. Chris conducts Teaching Seminars and is often asked to share his coaching secrets with other PGA professionals around the country. You can sign up for lessons by contacting Chris via his website www.christianczaja.com

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Great Article Christian!!!.

Taking Stats during your round is important to see what skills you need to work on. I keep stats on every round I play. It simple and easy to do while playing, I keep stats on fairways hit, greens in regulation, up and downs, up/down bunkers, putts and penalty shots. It simple to do, grab another scorecard or create a excel spreadsheet with all the categories and mark down what you have done on each hole. Once complete tally all the stats up. This will show you what to working on during your practice sessions. This is crucial to becoming a complete golfer. Once you see the changes you are making it will make the game fun. You will shoot lower scores and see a drastic change in your game. I also make it a point to ALWAYS work on my short game during practice sessions. Even if its just hitting 100 yard shots at your local range. And if I can utilize a putting green i always spend at least 30 min on putting. Using multiple putting drills, from the ladder drill, to lag putt drills ( take tees and place them 3 feet around the hole leaving a opening in front of the hole). These two drills will help you learn green speed and also help you develop touch and feel on the green. This will help you with the dreaded 3 putts, and will guarantee you lower scores. These simple drills and practices will help improve your game and make you a better golfer. If you need other advice or drills visit your local PGA professional.

James Magliano
PGA Apprentice