A Lesson Learned: Timing is everything

Billy Horschel
Getty Images
Billy Horschel overcame intense pressures and two weather delays to win his first PGA Tour event.
Tim Cooke, PGA

Problem Area: Fundamentals
Series: Lesson Learned

Published: Sunday, April 28, 2013 | 10:06 p.m.


Congratulations to Billy Horschel for his breakthrough win at the Zurich Classic. Putting up an 8-under 64 is impressive anytime, but on the final day of a tournament as you are seeking your first win - that's just some great golf. Making the long birdie putt on the final hole, after enduring two weather delays (including one that went almost an hour as he was on the 18th!), is only more testament to the determination and confidence Horschel must have felt all day.
Before I came in to watch the final round of the Zurich, I had spent time out with some of my students - as they competed and on the range - and tried to instill that same confident attitude into their games.  And the one variable I usually look for - the item that tells me how comfortable a player is - I saw today in Billy Horschel. I'd like to see it in your game to.
Every golfer knows the value of a pre-shot routine. It is imperative to have one. But have you thought about the duration of your routine? And even more, how long it takes for you to execute your "Go Time."  With apologies to Rickie Fowler, I define "go time" as the time it takes for a golfer to step towards their ball until the moment of impact. 
Think about it. Some golfers visualize their shot, some take some deep breaths, some trigger their shot with a tap of the club to their foot. Whatever it is, it helps. But if you address your shot and then freeze - you've elminated the value of the routine. And if you rush, your swing is probably too quick and you're not fully committing to the shot. 
My experiences have shown that most 'go time' durations are between 7 and 10 seconds. Obviously, they will differ from player to player, but these seem to be the norm for when a player is in their comfort zone. 
Billy Horschel, even with all the weather delays and pressures (internal and external) to win, played great golf because he was in a comfort zone. And it showed as he stepped over every shot and putt. 
The next time you play golf, think about your 'go time.'  If it's varying wildly from shot to shot, you're not giving yourself the best chance at a good score.

Tim Cooke is a PGA Master Professional on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Cooke is the Director of Instruction at Long Cove Club and Golf Prep Academy. He has been selected as a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher in 2010-2011 and 2012-2013.  You can learn more about Cooke at www.mygolfprep.com and/or follow him on Twitter at @TimCookeGolf.



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