Here is a guest post from my good friend Allan from the U.K. He has a passion for the game and some great insight. I always enjoy a view from a passionate golfer and I hope you enjoy this insightful and creative post. Please leave a comment below.
About the Author
Dr Geek is a golf-obsessed physician who uses his medical knowledge to suggest how you can��improve at golf. If you sign up for his newsletter, you’ll get a copy of his eBook (worth $9.95) absolutely free. He’d love to welcome you to DrGolfGeek.com, so please swing by his site.
“Poor old boy” you’d say, “the strain of producing thought-provoking content just proved too much for him.”
You’d bring me cups of�chamomile tea and speak in a soothing voice until the doctors in sandals and socks could take me off to their hospital with lockable wards.
And yet that’s exactly what’s happened.
(Rat poison lowering my scores, that is. Not the enforced move to the wrong side of a locked ward)
I can see this might take some explaining.
Pull up a chair, and I’ll be as entertaining and as swift as I can.
When it comes to long putts, there are 2 schools of thought.
The first suggests that the hole shouldn’t be the target, as it puts too much pressure on the golfer, and the chances of holing out from 30 feet are slim. Aiming for a three foot �dustbin lid� area around the hole is instead suggested.
Advocates of this school argue this leaves more margin for error and increases the possibility of holing out in no more than 2 strokes. This seems to be the prevailing view of the traditional paradigm of golf instruction.
However, other coaches argue we should choose a very small and precise target, as this suits the way our brains work and means the ball is more likely to finish nearer the hole.
This means the hole is always the target for long putts. For short putts the hole is too large a target, and a smaller target, e.g. an individual blade of grass or a speck of dirt inside the cup, should be your goal. These coaches advocate choosing �the smallest target you can see without squinting� for any given shot.
Golf is too civilised for this disagreement to turn nasty, but these views appear to be as firmly held as they are divergent.
I don’t just know the answer…I can prove it .
And I’m going to tell you too.
A big claim, I know. And you could be forgiven for wondering if I’ve duped you into reading this with a juicy headline that bears no resemblance to the ensuing post.
After all, there’s no way rat poison could hold the key to this. No chance at all.
But you’d be wrong.
Incredible as it may seem, my experience of the use of rat poison in a very specific setting really has told me all I need to know about target focus.
This will need a little background information to make sense; please bear with me and all will be revealed…
Warfarin is an anticoagulant � a medicine given to prevent blood forming clots. It was originally developed as a pesticide; it was discovered after cattle started bleeding to death after eating mouldy silage made from sweet clover.
It was initially marketed as rodent poison � rats would eat it as it was both colourless and odourless. It�s still used for this purpose today, although most people use newer poisons.
From the mid-1950s it�s been used (in much smaller doses) in humans for the wide variety of medical conditions caused by, or complicated by, blood clots. It’s now the drug most widely prescribed for this purpose in the UK and USA.
Although it’s very effective, there are a number of difficulties with its use. Response to it varies from individual to individual and a great number of other medications can interact with it.
Careful monitoring is therefore essential as there’s risk to the patient if the level goes too high or if it drops below the effective level (known as the INR). A blood sample is taken, and there’s a range of acceptable levels (in most cases this is 2-3, in some cases it can be 3-4).
When I first started work we aimed for levels within these ranges, knowing the drug would be effective.
This is similar to aiming for the three foot �dustbin lid� around the hole.
Difficulties arouse, however, with scores that were just outwith the recommended range. There’s no evidence warfarin with a level any lower than 2, and yet it was quite common to see patients with an INR of 1.9 without any change proposed to their usual dose. The same happened at the upper end, for example 3.2 being seen as acceptable, despite no evidence of greater benefit to offset the (albeit slightly) higher risk of bleeding.
I’m pleased to say this isn’t the case any longer.
So what changed?
Our target focus.
Instead of aiming for a wide range, we now aim for a precise target in the middle of the range (2.5 or 3.5). This has led to more scores falling within the target area, and far fewer falling outside it.
If you go for a broad target you increase the �scatter� of shots around your target. This is because your margin for error is happening at both ends of the range, rather than around one point in the centre.
When your target is in the centre of your acceptable range, more shots fall within that range. When your target is less well-defined, so too are your results.
This isn’t just for putting; it applies to all clubs – from putter to driver and everything in between.
Decrease the scatter and improve your accuracy.
Aim for the precise target, then accept results which fall within the range.
And let rat poison guide you to lower scores.
Thanks for your outstanding blog post, Dr. Geek. It proves the point that your commitment to the target has a great effect on your overall accuracy. I am in this camp that you mention for sure. This is a great prelude to an upcoming post that I am going to do on “The Talent Code”.
See you on the lesson tee,
Jason (call 704-542-7635 to schedule a lesson with The Guru