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

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. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Live Positive Live Longer

Benefits of being Optimistic

Don't worry be happy! We could also say don't worry, think positive, be optimistic and live longer! Studies show that having an optimistic outlook is linked to better health.

According to an article in the Huffington Post by David R Hamilton, Ph.D. positive attitudes do more than just help us achieve goals or get us through a tough time, it adds years to our lives. Dr. Hamilton examined studies conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, Mayo Clinic, Yale University and a Dutch study which all came to the same conclusion. Optimism makes a significant difference in the quality and length of your life.

Positive people are better able to handle the challenges, changes, and unexpected difficulties of life. They tend to adjust easily, look for something positive and accept the situation. Negative people have a tendency to get upset, angry and stay stuck at the unforeseen undesired episodes that are a part of life. The pessimistic reaction causes stress. Stress is a culprit in a number of health issues.

A positive attitude is a key ingredient to a longer more enjoyable life. It also makes a positive impact  on your golf game as an optimistic attitude will help you to play even better! According to Dr. Hamiliton stress causes inflammation in your body. This not only causes health challenges it will limit the movement in your swing. You'll be less flexible which will effect the timing and power generated in your golf swing.

Studies show that you cannot be stressed and thankful at the same time. If you are being pessimistic and feeling stressed, take a few moments to think about and appreciate some things you are thankful for in your life. Change your thought pattern to something positive and you'll feel better, be healthier and play even better golf.

Be Positive - Live Positive - Golf Positive

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fond Memories of Legendary Coach Pat Summitt

She Changed the World
Fond Memories of Legendary Coach Pat Summitt
By Debbie O’Connell
Founder & President, Golf Positive

It was 1982 when I watched the first ever NCAA women's basketball tournament on television. The  Final Four semifinal game was between Tennessee and Louisiana Tech. I remember being in awe of the coach of Tennessee, Pat Summitt. She was tough, intense and motivating. I thought, "I would love to play for her."

When I went to basketball camps where college coaches gathered to analyze the talent for their recruiting process, I remember looking into the stands, seeing Coach Summit, and hoping she would notice me. As it turned out, I was not recruited by the legendary Pat Summitt, but our paths crossed two times during my four years at Western Kentucky University. My freshman year, 1986, I was fortunate enough to compete in the NCAA Final Four with USC, Texas and Tennessee. We lost in the semifinals to Texas, whose team went on to win and complete the first undefeated season in women's NCAA basketball. Tennessee lost to USC with star Cheryl Miller leading the way. It was an amazing experience in my life!

Two years later, the Tennessee Lady Vols traveled to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to play a regular season game in our home arena. As a point guard, I felt the intense pressure of the Lady Vols defense. I imagined as Coach Summitt prepared for our game, she must have watched films of me playing. It was incredible to think that she might have mentioned my name and planned a strategy to play us. We lost the game, but it was certainly an honor for me to shake hands with Pat.

I'm so thankful to Pat for transforming women's basketball and bringing it to the forefront. She was a pioneer who made an incredible impact on thousands of lives. Her reach went beyond basketball! One of my favorite quotes from Pat is: "The world isn't a place you live in. It's a place you change." Pat changed the world.

Her fierce competitiveness and tireless work ethic made her successful. She brought that same intensity to the golf course. She loved to play golf – even making a hole in one - and as always, she loved to win. I heard a story from a dear friend of hers who was on her team in a golf tournament. This gal had a 5 foot putt the team needed her to make. As she analyzed the putt, Pat gave her that famous stare and said, "You will make this putt!" Fortunately for her, she made it!! 

We can all learn from Pat. If you want to achieve a goal, work hard! If you want to win, out-work your competition. Another quote from Pat: "They don't care how much you know unless they know how much you care." 

Thank you, Pat, being an amazing example for all of us to live by! 

Debbie OConnell
Founder & President, Golf Positive

LPGA Professional, Professional Speaker

Monday, April 18, 2016

National Golf Day

National Golf Day is May 18, 2016!

This article caught my eye and I wanted to share it with you! I had an awesome experience at one of the 21 Topgolf venues in the US and I believe you will too. I highly recommend and evening with friends at Topgolf, you'll have a blast! Check out this article posted in about Topgolf and National Golf Day ...
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- WE ARE GOLF - a coalition of the game's leading associations and industry partners - today announces it will once again partner with Topgolf for National Golf Day 2016, offering free golf lessons at the company's 21 venues nationwide.
Taking place on Wednesday, May 18, Topgolf is attempting to set a company record for most golf lessons taught in one day. Any guest who visits a location on May 18 will receive a free five-minute golf lesson. Slow-motion video swing analysis through the Topgolf U instructional program is also available.
"Last year's partnership with Topgolf engaged thousands of its guests who are not core golfers and may not have been aware of National Golf Day and the impact of the game across America," says Steve Mona, CEO of World Golf Foundation. "Through Topgolf, we are able to reach millennials and engage new audiences by showing how golf is fun, young and cool."
New for this year, WE ARE GOLF will host a "National Golf Day Launch Party" on Tuesday evening, May 17, at the Hawk 'n' Dove on Capitol Hill and Topgolf will serve as a partner, providing giveaways to attendees.
"We are proud to celebrate the golf industry on National Golf Day by offering our guests a fun, free and easy way to improve their swing," said Topgolf Entertainment Group Co-Chairman and CEO Erik Anderson. "With the recent relaunch of our Topgolf U instructional program, Topgolf is doubling down on our commitment to help grow the game by exposing our guests to the sport in a high-energy, innovative and non-intimidating atmosphere." 
For National Golf Day's ninth consecutive year, golf industry leaders will meet with Members of Congress, the Executive Branch and federal agencies to discuss golf's nearly $70 billion economy, $4 billion annual charitable impact and many environmental and fitness benefits. Throughout the day, participants will share stories about the game's 15,000-plus diverse businesses, impact on nearly two million jobs across America, tax revenue creation, tourism and ecological value.
National Golf Day in April 2015 was the most successful to date with more than 100 Congressional meetings in one day. Globally, the #NGD15 Twitter campaign eclipsed 37.6 million impressions and reached 19.8 million accounts, including 3.3 million users in a one-hour span.
To join the conversation, visit the WE ARE GOLF social media hub. Use #NGD16 and @wearegolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to show your support for the industry and share why golf is more than a game to you. 
WE ARE GOLF, created in 2010, is an industry coalition that communicates the economic, charitable and environmental impact of golf, as well as the health and wellness benefits of the game and the affordability and accessibility of golf, to Members of Congress, the Executive Branch and regulatory agencies. The goal of WE ARE GOLF is to ensure that laws and regulations that impact the golf industry are equitable and appropriate to an industry that generates nearly $70 billion in economic impact annually, impacts close to two million jobs and generates nearly $4 billion in charitable giving each year.
For more information, please visit
About Topgolf
Topgolf is a global sports entertainment community creating the best times of your life, with 24 locations serving 8 million guests annually. Players hit golf balls containing computer microchips that track each shot's accuracy and distance while awarding points for hitting targets on the outfield. Each venue offers an upscale and playful experience, featuring an impressive food and beverage menu, music, games, climate-controlled hitting bays, and hundreds of HDTVs. Topgolf also brings fun, interactive experiences to the community through its Topgolf U lessons, leagues, tournaments, KidZone parties, and social and corporate events. 
To learn more about Topgolf, follow @Topgolf or visit

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Decide to Live Positive

You are in charge of how you feel! You are in charge of how you experience each day! Many people live sad, worried, frustrated, mad and anxious for at least some part each day. You don't have to stay in a negative state.

Here are some proven strategies to help you change your state:
1. Move! Change your physiology - look up, put your arms in the air and jump up and down. You don't even have to jump high or leave the ground. After the dramatic movement, stand in a power pose, like a superhero with your chin up, chest out, weight balanced and standing tall.

2. Breathe! Take a deep belly breath! To breathe properly you want your stomach to expand as you breath in, like you are blowing up a balloon.  Hold your breathe for a couple of seconds and then gently blow your air out. Repeat 5 times or more.

3. Think was 5 things that you are thankful for. You cannot have negative feelings if you are focussed on being grateful. Truly feel the gratefulness.

4. Keep your thoughts positive! "I am resourceful!" "I am strong!" "I am calm and confident!" Focus on the positive outcome you desire and ask yourself how you will get there. Be patient, your answers will come!

By using these 4 steps you will change into a confident, clear thinking, resourceful, energized, solution finding, happy person! You'll be in a peak performance state!

Then next time you find yourself in a negative state remember, you don't have to stay there! You can change how you feel in an instant!

Take Charge and Live Positive!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Coaches & Mentors

I have a philosophy in life that I try to live by everyday ... Learn from other peoples mistakes so I don't have to make them all myself! Mistakes are definitely opportunities to learn. I feel that if you learn from an event that didn't go as planned it isn't a failure. But why make all the mistakes yourself when others have come before you and made the same mistake?

If you can learn from a coach or mentor or research, you can reach your goals much faster than those that came before you! For example, research in golf has proven that a pre-shot routine performed consistently helps to put us in the best state to hit an effective golf shot. I don't have to experiment on my own and make swings with and without a pre-shot routine and track the results. I'm going to heed the advice of professionals.

About 25 years ago I met an awesome lady who was battling skin cancer. She asked me if I put sunscreen on before going outside and if I reapplied during my round of golf. I assured her that I took those precautions. Then she said, "Make sure you put the sunscreen on the top of your ears." She showed me where the tops of her ears had to be cut off because of the skin cancer. Now this was something I didn't think about. I learned from her experience and started to apply sunscreen to my ears!

Make an effort to learn something everyday from other peoples experiences! Sometimes you'll learn what not to do and other days you'll learn what to do! My other philosophy is to find people who are successful in all areas of their lives and find out what actions that they take each day. We can learn from others mistakes and their success!

Create the life of your dreams by having a coach or mentor to guide you!

Be Positive - Live Positive - Golf Positive

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Clarity on Your Target

In golf and in life it is essential to have clarity on your end goal. You get what you focus on in life. 

On the golf course be sure to have a specific target for every shot. Often times I’ll ask a player, “What is your target?” and the response is something like “somewhere in play" or “the middle of the fairway” or “the green.” In choosing your target, it’s best to choose a very specific target like, the left edge of the bunker, or the tree behind the green or the flag or a spot on the green to land a chip shot. The more specific the target, the more clarity you’ll have in the shot you plan to execute. 

Also, pick a target that gives you room to be successful. By successful I mean, even if your ball does not go exactly as planned, there is still room to the left and right of the target for your ball to land in a good position. It was Jack Nicholas who said, “I hit 5 or 6 perfect shots per round, the rest are just good misses.” That’s coming from one of the best players to ever step on the links!

Choosing your target is part of your pre-shot routine. 
You may already have a pre-shot and that is fantastic! Be sure to incorporate time to think and plan your shot as well as choosing a target and spot for alignment from behind the ball. 

After all of the decisions are made and you know the exact shot you plan to execute, it’s time to stop thinking and just get aligned and set up and focus on the target, and swing!

Mark Cuban said “stay focussed and believe in yourself and your own ability and judgement.”
Focus on your target ….. Remember, the golf ball is NOT the target!

“What? I’m trying to hit the golf ball, why is that not my target?”  Your target is where you want the ball to go… like the flag, or a tree that is in line with the center of the fairway. Engage with the target, breathe and swing without thoughts.

That is true focus! Your body knows how to swing the golf club, so you don't need swing thoughts during your actual swing, they actually just get in the way! Instead, let the ball just get in the way of your swing. Again, you don’t want to try to hit the golf ball.

Take some time to review your pre shot routine and practice focussing only on the target. If you want to be a more consistent player, you need to be consistent in your preparation.

In life, get crystal clear on your ultimate vision. How much money are you making? What career is perfect for you? What is your fitness level? How much energy, joy, enthusiasm and passion do you feel everyday? What do you imagine for your extraordinary relationship?

Take some time to get clear on your goals in life. Ask yourself, how can I achieve this outcome? Don't allow yourself to make excuses, as the Nike ad says, "Just Do It! Getting clarity and focus is the first step!

Be Positive, Live Positive, Golf Positive