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We golfers are always losing balls. But sometimes in life, we lose more important things. Here's a way to make some new golfing friends.

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A Brief Message      June 12 /06

  • Congratulations toVijay Singh for his recent win at the Barclays Classic. Make sure you watch the US Open this week at Winged Foot.
  • My last newsletter was the last in a series called "9 Holes with a Golf Expert." My continued playing recommendations for low scores, on average.. View the previous newsletter here.
  • In this newsletter, I present some ways you can shoot lower scores by using the Rules of Golf to your advantage.

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Use the Rules of Golf to Lower Your Score -- Part 1: The Provisional Ball

Send me any suggestions you have for the next or future newsletters. Just submit your ideas using this simple form.

Click here to order Dave's Pelz's Short Game Bible, OR get it at your local bookstore. BUT, whatever you do, GET IT !! Your game will love you for it.

The Provisional Ball
    Have you ever hit a provisional ball? Unless you hit 100% of fairways and greens, the answer to this question should definitely be YES! But, in your casual play, you might not bother and just "drop" a ball onto the fairway if your original is lost. There are many reasons why you should play a provisional ball at every opportunity. And, there are times where it is best to hit a provisional with the expectation that it'll be the ball you play for the rest of the hole.

When you hit an errant shot (into the bush, high grass, or possibly OB), it's important to hit a provisional ball for a number of reasons, the first of which if your ball is lost or OB, you need to place a ball in play and MUST put that ball in play from the same position you hit the original ball. There are also a number of reasons to encourage good play as well. Those reasons are listed below.

Before I outline those reasons, a couple of recommendations to follow when you are hitting a provisional ball:

1. Use a different club than the one with which you hit the original ball. You've just hit a poor shot. It is in recent, vivid memory. It's important that you take some time to re-group. Choosing a different club gives you a better chance to form some more positive images of the next shot.

2. If you hit a driver for your original, hit a fairway wood, hybrid or iron for your provisional. You've hit a poor shot; the goal is to now get a ball in play so that you have a good lie for your next shot. You've had a negative experience which can affect your confidence. It's important to follow it up with a positve experience. You want to hit a club that will most likely give you a positive experience. It's not the time to try and hit that "career drive" to make up for the poor one. The chances of hitting your career shot under normal circumstances is low; to hit it after a poor shot is even more unilikely.

3. Take your time. Take some deep breathes to relax. Viusalize a positive swing and the flight path of a good shot.

So, now for the benefits of hitting a provisional ball.

1. Opportunity to Practice -- the rules prohibit you to practice on the course except in a few, specific instances. Hitting a provisional ball is an opportunity to hit another shot. It's another opportunity to discover what your swing is doing so that you can adjust your play accordingly. Hitting a good shot will help your regain your confidence. Hitting a poor shot will give you more reason to adjust your club selection (such as putting the driver away for the rest of the round).

2. Opportunity to Gain Control -- the game of golf allows you a very generous amount of time to keep control. You're not having to react to another player or players. Hitting a provisional allows you the opportunity of making a conscious decision to regain control after a bad shot. It's an opportunity to hit a good shot and have that image in your mind for your next shot. Remember, if you even hit a poor or mediocre shot, you can gain confidence by making conscious decisions the gain control.

3. Practice the Process of Hitting a Provisional -- one thing is certain; you will hit poor shots in the future and you will loose more golf balls. Hitting a provisional at every opportunity will allow you to practice and rehearse the entire process. Hitting a provisional ball should be something with which you're comfortable.It's a time to practice your mental imagery and self control in a stressful situation. That's why I recommend you doing so even when playing a casual round. The more you've practiced, the more comfortably you'll become and the more likely you'll have a positive experience.

4. Reacting to a Poor Shot -- golf is like life. It's not how good your great shots are, it's how well you react to your bad ones. If you react to a poor shot with control and confidence, you are more likely going to hit better shots in the future. You've hit a bad shot, it's done and over; you can't change it. You can only move forwards using a consistent, controlled process to hit a good shot with your provisional. Yes, par or maybe even bogie is unlikely. But, a double is better than a triple, a triple is better than a quadruple, a quadruple is better than an "other." Your goal still needs to be to take the fewest number of strokes. It was only one bad shot. You don't want that to lead to more bad shots. Sometimes our bad shots lead to penalties, sometimes they don't. The only thing for certain is you'll hit bad shots. How you react to them is what will make or break your game.

If you'd like some help with your mental game, fellow Canadain, Lisa Brown is a mental toughness coach for National and Olympic athletes, and she has written some excellent ebooks. Click HERE to take a look.

5. Unplayable Ball & Abandon Original -- can you abandon the original ball? YES. For instance, if you hit your original in a position that you know from experience would be very difficult to play from, you can abandon it by simply hitting another ball without declaring it a provisional. One must always declare verbally whether a ball is to be a provisional. If not, it becomes the ball in play. Or, if you delcare a provisional ball and determine once you reach the position where the original is likely to lie, you can proceed to play the provisional from beyond that point; it then is deemed the ball in play. You should instruct your playing partners not to bother looking for the original. If they do find it before you play the provisional, you must play the original

5. Save Time and Grief -- hitting a provisional will save time and speed up play. If there is ever a possibility that a ball will be lost, a provisional ball should be played. Otherwise, if the original ball is not found, the player must return to the point from which his/her last shot was played, and play a second ball. This takes a great deal of time (walking back and forth) and will slow play considerably. You would also likely feel rushed and anxious, and then not hit a good shot, creating an even more stressful situation.

If you'd like to read the specific rule about hitting a provisional ball, you can check it out at the USGA's website. Click on this link and read Rule 27-2. Also listed are some specific situations that have been rules upon.

If you have any other great ideas of why to play a provisional ball, please share them with me and I'll include them in the next newsletter. Submit your suggestions HERE .

Feel free to go back and re-read the my previous series on playing tips from beginning to end. I think I've included a lot of great tips. Here are the links for your convenience:

9 Holes with a Golf Expert -- Part 1: Pre-Round & Opening Hole  

9 Holes with a Golf Expert -- Part 2: First 3 Holes

9 Holes with a Golf Expert -- Part 3: Statistical Significance of First 3 Holes

9 Holes with a Golf Expert -- Part 4:The Next 4 Holes

9 Holes with a Golf Expert -- Part 5:The 17th at the PLAYER'S Championship -- Shot Patterns

9 Holes with a Golf Expert -- Part 6: Last Three Holes

9 Holes with a Golf Expert -- Part 7: Wrap up the NINE

  In my next newsletter, I'll share with you how you can use more of tghe rules of golf to lower your score. Most golfers don't know even the most basic rules well and often short change themselves.

What tempo do you swing the club with? Research has shown that all the best players, past and present, swing with one of three tempos. Unlock yours and start striking the ball better TODAY!

Use coupon PGOLF for 10% off.
"Tour Tempo has improved every club in my bag from driver thru wedges," says Tripp Isenhour, the current leading money winner on the Nationwide Tour.  Tripp has won two of the first five events in 2006.

Click HERE to unlock your ideal TEMPO!

Send me some feedback or ask some questions before I put out the next newsletter. Use this simple form.

Now, go get that book . Go to your local bookstore and get it OR click here, Click here to order Dave's Book, to order it from amazon; your game will thank you for it.

If you'd like more detail on choosing a new driver, purchase my special report. Learn about what it means to have a low, center of gravity and high moment of inertia. Buy Now for $10.99 or get it for free by purchasing a Swing Speed Radar.

I'd appreciate any comments you have. Email them to me at probablegolf@yahoo.ca


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A list of resources that have been used to produce this newsletter can be found on my web site here.

The focus of my site is to utilize science and math to lower your score. New technology is one way to achieve this, but to be honest, the technology is one small piece of the puzzle.

To actually improve significantly, we all need to:

1. Improve our swings using CD Interactive, Hit Down Dammit!

2. Learn how to swing simpler like the Iron Byron with the great coffee table book, Swing Machine Golf!

3. Improve our physical fitness and strength.
The Golf Trainer Power Performance Programô
and Ultimate Golf Fitness Ebook

4. Improve our mental games. Golf Mind Software

5. Improve our Probable Golf games. Learn how to make better choices on the course through knowing how shot patterns and reading the elements and course better.

Click on the links above to take a look at ways that I personally use myself and recommend you try as well.

Hope I provided some useful ways for you to become better prepared for you best golf season ever.

Ken Tannar

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