Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lexi's Loss - Let's Learn

What happened to Lexi Thompson during the final round of the LPGA's first major of the year the ANA Inspiration is unfair for many reasons. I plead with both the LPGA and the PGA to put in  rules and guidelines for the use of video replay and viewer input, as well as timing of penalties assessed.

All sports fans are used to the idea of using video replay to make rules decisions in other professional sports. Each sport carefully debated the their respective sports would use this technology to enhance the fairness of the game. Each sport has their own set of rules about the number of times and which infractions a video replay can be engaged.

Have the LPGA and PGA discussed and debated the fairest way to use video replay in the game of golf? Has their been a debate about the fact that only a portion of the field is on camera and even fewer actually on television? Have they reviewed a set of guidelines and procedures to handle the situation of viewer input and timing of penalties? Have the LPGA and PGA discussed how a players game plan changes based on the scoreboard? The USGA allows for "local rules" that are unique to golf courses, I'm sure the LPGA and PGA can include their own "local rules" for their unique situation. I hope these discussions have taken place but if not, maybe they will.

The USGA is responsible to write, review and change the Rule of Golf. The job of the rules officials  and the players is to enforce the rules. I believe it's the responsibility of the LPGA and PGA to make the rules about the use of video replay and viewer input (or interference as many are calling it).

I understand that the LPGA Rules officials were following the rules set by the USGA. But experience should tell us that information from television viewers is unfair and not good for the game. Think back to Anna Nordqvist who was informed of a penalty for barely touching the sand in a fairway bunker during the second hole of a three hole playoff in the 2016 US Women's Open. Only a slow motion replay of the swing could have revealed the infraction. The unfair part of this story was that Anna was informed of the penalty after her third shot on the final playoff hole. Her opponent and eventually winner, Brittany Lang was informed before her third shot. This information changed Brittany's game plan - she could now play it safe. "It certainly changed her game plan," Nordqvist said. "But, you know, hopefully we can all learn from it and hopefully we can all get better.

I'm not sure we learned anything. I'm hopeful the LPGA and PGA can learn from the situation with Lexi! 

I agree with Jane Geddes who commented after the conclusion of the tournament that there should be a "statue of limitations." The 3rd round was virtually "in the books." The tee times for the final round were set and not only underway, but through 12 holes. Professional golfers with a three shot lead play a different game than a golfer one stroke behind on the back nine. If Lexi knew she was behind would she have hit a safe tee shot on hole twelve, which ended up in a three putt? She may have played with a different strategy and tried to hit it close for a birdie.

The emotional and mental strain on Lexi was tremendous. She handled it incredibly well and with total class. Dustin Johnson also had to fight hard through the mental challenge at the 2016 US Open after the delayed penalty was called on him in the final round. He was told on the twelfth tee that he might get a one shot penalty for his ball moving on the fifth green. They wouldn't know until after the round. He played not knowing if he was leading or one shot behind. Fortunately for Dustin, he stayed focused, played great and went on to victory. Again, the timing of the actual call by the rules officials seems unfair.

The golf world is pleading with the LPGA and PGA to set fair standards when it comes to viewer input and timing of penalties assessed. Don't wait until 2019 for the USGA to adopt rules changes. Please, for the good of the game do something now.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Positive Life

It's nearly impossible to be a negative pessimistic person and have a happy positive life.
You will get what you focus on in life. Pay attention to your thoughts and words and make sure they are positive. 

If you want to live a happy positive life be sure your thoughts and words are positive.

It's important to watch your language! Below find a list of disempowering words and the empowering word you can say and think in its place.  If you change your language and your thoughts, your life will be even better!

Disempowering  - EMPOWERING
Overwhelmed      IN DEMAND       
Stressed              BLESSED        
Problem              CHALLENGE                   
Challenge            OPPORTUNITY                 
Failed                  LEARNED SOMETHING                 
Terrible               DIFFERENT          
Los                      SEARCHING          
Confused             ABOUT TO LEARN SOMETHING
Afraid                  EXCITED FOR THE FUTURE

Be Positive ... it's worth it!!

Benefits of Being Positive
  1. Positive people live longer
  2. Positive work environments outperform negative work environments  
  3. Positive optimistic salespeople sell more than pessimistic salespeople
  4. Positive people are healthier and happier
  5. Positive emotions such as gratitude and appreciation help athletes perform at a higher level 

Cost of Being Negative
  1. Dampens enthusiasm and motivation
  2. Creates feelings of sadness, frustration and unworthiness
  3. Negative employees can scare off every custome they speak with…. for good
  4. Too many negative interactions can decrease the productivity of a team
  5. Negative is associated with greater stress, less energy and more pain
  6. 90% of Doctor visits are stress related

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Confidence in Work and Golf

I read an awesome article in Fortune.com giving career advice to working women by Diana Middleton. As in golf, most of the time women are the minority in business and especially at a board room table. This can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be.

The article shares that often times in business women are more focused on their level of competence rather than their level of confidence. Confidence is a key to success! Competence is also important but men will often advance in a company or get their ideas heard because of they exude confidence. Many women who are fully competent may still appear lacking in belief.

Here is some advice from Diana's article, "If you find yourself in such a situation, but are feeling insecure, it can be difficult to act confidently. One way to find courage is to utilize confident body language. Leaning back in your chair and taking up space in the room display a sense of self-assuredness. Speaking with authority in a calm voice is another sign."

Body language is a key to success on the golf course as well. As you approach the tee keep your chest out, chin up and shoulders back. When you are waiting to hit your shot stand in a "Wonder Woman" pose.

Sometimes you need confidence just to say yes to an invitation to play golf as an informal networking opportunity. Stand tall and give an authoritative, "Yes!" to playing golf. Too many women decline these opportunities because they don't feel like they are good enough. The key is more confidence, not hitting more range balls! You can create that confidence with body language and positive thoughts.

The article concludes by saying, "The next time you're in a room filled with men, don't worry about having a fully formed idea before speaking. Just speak up—and with force. Having a passionate voice is more important than having no voice at all. Harness that passion confidently in your body language and speech. Take up space, embrace your confidence, keep calm, and lead." Show up confidently on the golf course as well!

Golf Positive! Live Positive!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Thankful Jar

Enjoy an even better life with an attitude of gratitude!

As one year closes and another begins I spend time reviewing the past and planning for the future. In thinking back to 2016 I became filled with gratitude for all that I have in my life. As I thought about the wonderful people in my life, my coaches and mentors, all I’ve learn and accomplished both personally and professionally, all of the extraordinary activities, vacations, meaningful moments when my emotions were stirred, I realized that I may not remember everything. This realization lead me to want to create a new ritual in 2017. 

I put a jar in my bedroom along with a small pad of paper and pen. Each night I will write down one or more things I experienced or thought about that I am thankful for. The note will then be placed in my “Thankful Jar.” At the end of the year, I will take some time to read each of the thankful notes. I can just imagined how filled with happiness I will be as I remember what I was thankful for each day of the year.

My morning ritual begins with this question, “What am I thankful for?” I take a few moments to reflect on the many wonderful aspects of my life. I start with my family and friends - people I love and who love me - and I feel loved. Next is usually an experience, accomplishments or opportunity in my life that truly moves my emotions. I finish being thankful for a couple of things that could easily be taken for granted like chairs, music, cars, airplanes, brilliant researchers and doctors, my sight, hearing, taste buds, legs and arms. All of these thoughts create of flood of happy emotions! My day is off to an amazing start!

Research shows that people who have an attitude of gratitude live happier healthier lives. Seven of the scientifically proven benefits are revealed in this article by psychotherapist and author, Amy Morin.

The benefits include:
  • Opening doors to more relationships
  • Improved physical health
  • Improved psychological health
  • Enhanced empathy and reduced aggression
  • Better sleep
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Increased mental strength

I invite you to join me in filling a thankful jar with notes of gratitude each night. At the end of 2017 we’ll take some time to read the notes and recall the wonderful memories and feel the joyous emotions those moments elicited. Let's also even share our thankful messages on my Facebook Page throughout the year!

Thank YOU! Have an amazing 2017!

Be Positive - Live Positive - Golf Positive

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Set yourself up for Success!

Setup Fundamentals

Setting yourself up for a successful golf shot begins with having an effective setup position. Let’s take some time to check the fundamentals of your position at address. This is important because a proper setup will allow you to make the most powerful golf swing while creating more consistent shots. Most of my students are searching for just that - more distance and even better direction!

Let's reach your full potential by setting you properly. Keep your back straight and bend forward from the hips. Think of the forward bend as a tush push because of where your backside goes as you bend forward; however, be careful not to arch your lower back. This sounds easy, but many of my students struggle with this forward bend. Be sure to bend from your hips and avoid rounding your upper back. Simply stand up straight and bend forward from the hips. Your backswing rotation will be impeded if you arch your lower back or round your upper back, which usually results in many swing flaws. 

Think of the forward tilt like this: You have just arrived home from grocery shopping and you want to carry all of the bags into the house in one trip. Your arms are full, but you have to close the car door. What do you do? Obviously, you stand with your back to the car door and then quickly bend and bam, your backside hits the door and it slams shut. This is the tush push.

After the tush push, allow your arms to hang from your shoulders. This is where you’ll grip the club. Avoid reaching out from your body, which will cause tension in your arms and shoulders. I call this part of the setup tilt and hang.

Now, take some time to review your setup in a mirror with a golf club. Look into the mirror face on, tilt forward, and let your arms hang. Go ahead and grip the club, setting your hands in front of the inner thigh of your lead leg. Check your balance. You should feel sturdy enough that someone couldn’t knock you over with a slight push. Now, look in the mirror from the side to ensure that your back is neutral. From this position, tilt your pelvis back and forth while keeping your upper back still. This move will test the muscles you will use during your golf swing. If you cannot make this movement, I suggest finding a fitness professional with golf-fitness training to help you. If you can make the move but feel shaking, repeat the pelvis tilt three times a week for ten repetitions to strengthen those muscles. This exercise will help you rotate more efficiently around your spine when it is in the tilted position.

A great set up will create even more power and consistency in your golf swing! It's worth taking some time to review and practice your setup.

Be Positive - Live Positive - Golf Positive

Friday, October 7, 2016

Play Golf and Live Longer

The benefits of the game of golf have been proven to be much more than a recreational activity to enjoy with family, friends and competitors, it lengthens our life!

When I was a golf professional is Florida, I had the awesome privilege of giving lessons to students who were in their 90"s. I don't mean their golf score, I mean their age! I often thought that the opportunity to play golf year round, kept people healthier.

Now there is a study proving golf provides health benefits that will keep us swinging for more years than if we didn't play golf. Research findings published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, revealed playing golf is great for the health of your heart, arteries and lungs. Golf may also help some chronic conditions including heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

Lead scientist Dr Andrew Murray, from the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, said: 'We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy, has mental health benefits, and can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer."

Another benefit that was obvious to me as a golf professional is the ability for older golfers to maintain balance. A normal process of aging is to struggle with balance unless you are doing something to combat the trend. The study proved a physical benefit of golf is improved balance. Playing golf will not only keep you alive longer, it could also improve the quality of your life.

Make it a priority to play more golf, your life may depend on it!

Click here to read the article from DailyMail.com

Golf Positive, Live Positive, Be Positive

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Stand and Take Action

Once you comprehend the words and meaning of The Star Spangled Banner, you'll want to stand!

By Debbie O'Connell
Owner and Founder Golf Positive

America is arguable the best country in the world. It is a country built on the beliefs and values of freedom, liberty, and equality. As a nation we have made tremendous progress over the last two-hundred and fifty years, however we still have more to do to instill the basic values of respect, kindness and acceptance for all. 

The story of our national anthem directly reflects the struggle to keep our independence and preserve our views and beliefs. The flag itself is a symbol of these virtues and represents honor and appreciation for those who died to defend it. 
For those who are not aware of the story behind the lyrics of our national anthem please take a few moments to view this video. 

While it is of utmost importance to highlight -through peaceful protests - our injustices with regards to race and inequality, it is deplorable to do this by disrespecting our flag, our nation and all who serve and have died for it. The professional athletes who choose to kneel should instead be standing arm and arm on and off the field to use their power and influence to eradicate social injustices (FSU football Travis Rudolph displays kindness by taking action). Their current form of protest is creating more divisiveness and what America needs more than anything right now is unity.

Perhaps instead the NFL could champion initiatives bringing together communities and police officers. They could design and develop game day forums in host cities. These forums could include breakout sessions with action items for leaders and members of both the police force and the community. After the forum the group could step onto the field arm and arm and stand proudly during the playing of our national anthem. Also the NFL could encourage everyone in the stadium to stand arm and arm as a statement of unity.

A quote from the attached video states “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” It is time for NFL players and other athletes to stand up and take action. It is within their power - and ours - to make a difference.