Practice Kicking Field Goals



One way is to spend some practice time “kicking” field goals. That is, instead of shooting down a line to a pole or flag or sign on the range, pick out two “goalposts” and shoot between them. This creates an alleyway not unlike a fairway which has width. Greens do too. There is too much concern about perfect alignment and shooting down a line. Instead, pick out two yardage signs or range fence poles. This offers relief before you even walk up to address the target. It’s obviously easier to send the ball into an area 30 yards wide than it is to hit an exact line.

Hitting to an imaginary fairway breeds confidence. Each shot can be a relieving and reassuring victory instead of a depressing failure.

Start out wide. You can always narrow it up.


Student Success Story: Time and Effort

Short Game Class benefits student who is over 70


I thoroughly enjoyed the session with you and Scott this morning. It was enough different than the other short game class that I attended to make it time well spent. I listened to other people’s comments in the de-briefing and I think all but one or two of them probably applied to me as well.

I have been doing some soul searching about golf, among a lot of other things. I realize that I probably don’t have too many more years to play the game and I am definitely not happy with the way I have been playing. I was pretty excited and committed when we first got together and then things evolved to the point where golf practice started getting pushed aside to make time for a lot of other demands that seemed more important at the time. (I suspect that you may have figured that out.) I realize that there are some limits on what I can expect to achieve but I can certainly do better than I have been and that means I have to adjust some priorities and put in more time and effort on golf. I intend to make this happen and I’ll let you know how it goes. Give me a little time to work on it by myself and then I’ll be out to see you about some fine tuning.

It is truly hard to believe that Walker is a senior in high school and soon to be a college freshman. You and his mom must be very proud of him and rightfully so.

Thanks again and looking forward to seeing you soon.



2016 Teacher of the Year Nomination

The PGA of America’s Southern California Section sent me a letter.

I am extremely honored. Thank you.

I look forward to continuing to serve our guests, teach, and coach at Sycuan Golf Resort and support the SCPGA by presenting at teaching seminars and writing articles.

Thank you Clint Higgins, PGA Director of Golf at Sycuan for originating the Nomination, for believing in me, and for giving me the freedom of movement to practice my craft.

Thank you to all my fellow Team Members at Sycuan for supporting me all these years.

And thank you to all my clients and friends for wanting to study the game, and find that getting better is always worth the time and effort.teacher-of-the-year-letter

A Little Victory

Practice: the word nearly everyone loves to hate.

Practice often means some repetition and drill, but it doesn’t have to be arduous.

The formula: one successful rep is followed by another successful rep. Practice time must be filled with success. After each shot, you want to say to yourself “Yep!” This signals a little win; a little victory.


I have known Bob Madsen for 20 years.  We met when I needed help with my golf game.  He has become more than a golf instructor through the years.  He has taught me patience, discipline, and perseverance.  Bob has encouraged a belief in myself, as I journey through the game of golf.  As I age, I am learning more from his EASY BOGEY book than I ever could have imagined.  He is truly one of a kind and I treasure my time with him.

Mark White      La Quinta, Ca.

A Conversation

High school player requesting a lesson as tryouts draw near(via text): “Any chance you’re available at 10:00 on Saturday?


Professional—smelling trouble: “Are you talking about just for an hour or are you talking about coming at 10:00 and spending the day like I’d like.”


Student: “I have to leave around 1:00. At the latest”.


Professional: “Is it getting dark that early?”

Trail of Bread Crumbs

Troubleshooting a Practice Session

Let’s say you’re practicing along doing reps successfully or creating shots, playing games or experimenting. Let’s say you are pretending it’s the most important shot of your life. Things are fine. You are hitting solid shots. Confidence is high and you are feeling good.

Then things start to go poorly. You start mishitting and spraying the ball all around. You have the driver in hand and the practice session is now in trouble. Now what?  

Here’s the deal. “When in trouble, go back!”

Go back to a 5 iron. Go back to a 7 iron. Go back to a wedge. Go back to 1/2 swings.

Do NOT spend time trying to figure out what you are doing wrong. This is almost always a total waste.

Going back is like following a trail of breadcrumbs in the wilderness back to known territory. You get a little lost, but you have a way to find your way again and get feeling good again.

This single point may be the biggest reason amateurs don’t get better.

Be willing to say to yourself “This practice session is in trouble. I am getting frustrated. I am not getting better at this point. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I am not going to let it continue.”

When in trouble, go back.

Half Set = Double the FUN

half set CW

Half Set = Double the FUN    

Article by Bob Madsen, PGA

revised: December 11, 2015

Playing with fewer clubs WILL lead to lower scores.

Golfers fuss over exactly what club to hit. Then, still uncertain about club selection, get over the ball and entertain a head full of nearly useless swing thoughts.

What if you didn’t have all those clubs to choose from? What if you only had clubs that you could definitely distinguish a use for? My wife plays with a driver, a 4-wood (named “Boonie” and made out of actual wood), a 7-iron, pw and a putter.

Most people would get by just fine with probably 7 – 10 clubs. Part of the reason for this is that without pro club head speed, the clubs don’t really behave much differently. A 6 iron goes the same distance and height as a 5. An 8 goes the same as a 9 and so on.

It is interesting each year when we play the “3 Club” event. Guys come off the course having literally shot their best round of the year with their face lit up with joy.
“That was so much fun!” they’ll say.

I never have understood why the next day they show up with 14 again.

I still get reminded of the time my caddy and I decided to play in the So Cal PGA Section Championship at Ironwood with a limited set of 9 clubs.* Brave? Yes. But I practice what I preach. Come to think of it. I am not even sure how many clubs I have in my bag right now. 12. I think.

*finished 9th if I remember correctly







Bob Madsen, PGA

Sycuan Golf Academy

Don’t Level Off

Take your game to the next level using the barometers below.

Level One: NEW. The brand new golfer, typically, just wants to hit the ball, not embarrass themselves and not hold other golfers up. He understandably has no idea about golf history, rules or etiquette, and feels like golf is really hard. Level one people are just starting out. That’s cool. We were all novices at some point.

Level Two: RECREATIONAL. We have a lovely group of ladies that play our par 3 course every Wednesday. Most are purely recreational golfers. They are in it simply for the casual competition, fresh air, companionship and exercise. (Note: many of the gals walk with a pull cart…Way to go girls!) They are not really pursuing better golf. Nor is my wife. And I have no problem with that. It’s beautiful actually.

Level Three: ENTHUSIASTIC DABBLERS. This big group is the one I am most concerned for and excited about. The level three golf fanatic plays regularly, almost always warms up briefly, eagerly watches the Golf Channel and thirsts for any possibly useful pointer he can get his hands on. Unfortunately, I have seen countless level three players get comfy with their skills and stop doing the work it takes to actually improve. They dabble. They stagnate. Slowly but surely their scores worsen especially as they get older. This is not okay. Eventually it’s too late. Don’t be lured into comfort or too much concern over net results and chit winning. Always KEEP TRYING TO IMPROVE. Push for the next level.

There are other levels to explore. Don’t level off. Start now, preferably with the help of a PGA Professional, to actually study and practice the game more completely. You will be glad you did.



Bob Madsen, PGA
Sycuan Golf Academy