Previously, we have discussed two types of practice: Repetition & Drill and Pretending. Now we have Games. All the different kinds of practice are tremendous. All have their time and place.

Note: Lessons must help the student determine the best method of practice to utilize given the content/theme of the lesson. See your PGA Professional!

Games consist of:

  • Goals
  • Limitations/guidelines
  • Reasons to participate (purpose)


Let’s look at these one at a time. A goal is what you are trying to get to. For example, “Let’s see how many out of _________ we can make from ________.” In the blanks you would fill in the limitations, i.e. ten balls from three feet. Last and most important there must be a purpose(s). The purpose might just be to “have fun with my practice buddies” or to “take my mind off my swing and body parts” or to “improve my short putting.”

Importantly, games involve competition, risk and incentive. They require among other things: guts, determination, a winning attitude, some risk, unwillingness to lose, victories, losses, thrills, excitement, mystery, hope, fear, optimism, rules to follow, courtesy to others, care of the practice ground, safety and being gracious in defeat.

Now go make up some Games. More like a kid.



Bob Madsen, PGA
Sycuan Golf Academy

Golf is Already a Better Game

According to the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews Scotland.

Rule 1. The Game

The Game of Golf consists of playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.
Golf is not broken. There are only three parts; 1. Begin at the starting line; 2. Continue golfing until your ball goes in the hole and 3. Low score wins.
Golf is so simple that 6 and under is now the youngest age group in tournament golf. Kindergartners understand it, go out and have fun.

I remember in the 70’s seeing a riding cart two fairways over. My Dad was entertained by the sighting and commented, “Look. Those people are riding!” Golf is so uncomplicated that you could walk 9 holes with just a few clubs in an hour and a half. No sweat.

Leaving the quest for more distance aside, play the forward tees and see if you can shoot the round of your life. Play with a softer graphite shaft and enjoy effortless power. Have the family go to the range. Send a few. Laugh at Dad when he misbehaves and slams his club.

I have one student who keeps track of the wildlife. Not her number of strokes. That might not be most people’s idea of a good time, but you get the idea.
Holing out is a good thing. Might as well unless you are playing Match Play and the stroke is conceded.

Practice chipping and putting. It’ll help you with part 3 above. There is nothing wrong with golf. I enjoyed my fifth trip to Scotland recently with my delightful traveling companion Jack Gibbard. The Forgan family of Nairn took wonderful care of us as we played 12 rounds in 10 days. Never really did keep score. Played semi-intense Four-Ball Match Play, walked, talked, marveled at the surroundings then ate and drank and laughed when we were done.

Now, if you want to get a whiff of “how golf lost its way” refer to Geoff Shackelford’s book The Future of Golf which I highly recommend. The book is well written and filled with significant and valid points backed up by extremely reliable opinion.

I just wanted to share my own two cents and not be all doom and gloom.
The Game is mostly just fine. And if we ALL actually fixed an extra ball mark or two our obvious capability of messing it up would be slightly less obvious.



Bob Madsen, PGA
Sycuan Golf Academy

Stave Off the Inevitable

Ladies and gentlemen in your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s NOW HERE THIS! You MUST continue to get better at golf. Otherwise, you are doomed.

My favorite golf companion was Bob Wallin: my father in law. Bob got along on short game and course management, guts, fearlessness and determination for years. He was never long due to his half sized backswing. Bob played a steady game backed up by chipping, pitching and excellent putting. Trouble came when age and diabetes started to rob him of his health, well-being, hand-eye coordination and range of motion.

As he lost distance, his misses started ending up further from the green and what had been a chip became a long pitch. What had been a pitch became a half wedge. Bob’s shot making ability was unequipped for this. His scores rose. Once upon a time he could easily break 80 hitting maybe 5 greens in regulation. This success ended. His unacceptable scores led him to quit. He couldn’t bear bogie golf.

So here is the deal. Strengthen up. Get on a stretching program. Hire a fitness coach. Go to the Y. Run. Walk. Take golf lessons. Hit range balls. Practice short game. And consider appropriate equipment.

I am sick over losing my father in law. I should have been more insistent when it came to fitness and continual improvement.

Golf course architects just want you challenged. They don’t want you ashamed or to quit as you get older.

I don’t want this to happen either.



Bob Madsen, PGA
Sycuan Golf Academy