I am a better golfer today than I was last week before I met Dr. Ryan Caserta and PGA Professional Matt Bencriscutto. How can I say that with any conviction? There are two things that I can point to specifically to make that claim, and over time I may be singing their praises even more loudly.
First, I am a better putter. I know it and I have proven it to myself. I’ve often said that you don’t know, what you don’t know. Well, looking back at my old self from a week ago I feel like I was a green belt at putting and now I have a chance to actually become a black belt on the greens. Something had been holding me back and I didn’t know what it was until now.
I have sat back and watched with amazement how the pros seem to me to be like “pool hustlers” the way that they putt on the greens. Pros 3-putt less than 2 percent of the time! I had 2, 3-putts the first time I broke par! Putting has been the major hang up that has kept me from making it to the next level in my opinion and it has derailed so many of my great ball striking rounds. Sure, even pros have bad days on the greens but I have had some days that just crushed my soul into dust. I believe that I have strong strong cognitive and perceptual skills, but if my mind is receiving contradictory information I cannot make a definite decision. This is why I could rarely if ever get comfortable over the putter.
Dr. Caserta wired me up with the eye-tracking glasses you see in the photo above. He had me line up over a 20 foot, straight putt. I hit 3 in a row that missed a ball outside right. He had me continue putting and I made the next 2. That was all Dr. Caserta needed to see. When I realized what my eyes were telling me was incorrect (the misses outside right), I did what better players do and I made an adjustment in order to make the putt by pulling it left. In essence, I had to lie to myself and putt the ball someplace other than where my eyes were telling me to putt it. This is a bad place to be. If you cannot trust your eyes then how are you supposed to become a good putter? That’s why all of my putting practice has not really made me much better this year. I’ve never been able to trust what my eyes are telling me and that’s 90% of the information processing that is needed in putting!
Dr. Caserta worked with me on some adjustments with my address and where to focus my eyes in order to create a more harmonious relationship between what I was seeing and what I was doing and I started brushing the ball in the cup like I did when I was a kid. I finally felt free again with a putter after decades of despair.
Later in the day I began to work with an associate of Dr. Caserta’s named Matt Bencriscutto, a PGA professional. Mr. Bencriscutto is a Hogan expert and we had some illuminating conversations about the technique of Ben Hogan that I am working on incorporating into my swing as I write this, but that is not what I can directly point to as proof that I am better today than I was last week.
Matt Bencriscutto taught me how to properly hit a wedge.
I had always used the leading edge of my wedges, which made me a digger – big, deep, divots. Mr. Bencriscutto literally had me move the ball 6 inches farther forward in my stance. Looking down this created a great deal of anxiety, which has been an evil hallmark of my game that I have fought so hard against. In fact, I started My Swing Evolution with the determination to get over this anxiety. I had the yips through my whole bag back then but I pretty much licked it when it came to my long game. These days, I’m working hard to conquer my anxiety with my putting and short game.
Mr. Bencriscutto had me pull the handle across my body, low left, and get the feeling of a karate chop with my right hand. The wedge slid right under the ball and popped it up nicely into the air. I felt the bounce and the back edge of the sole of the club as I worked on this action. It was practically the opposite of what I had been doing before!
Dr. Caserta said that he believed I could shave 5 putts off of my average round of golf after we worked together. Matt Bencriscutto gave me a much more consistent way to pitch the ball and hit my wedges. I did not know what I didn’t know last week. This week I know a lot more about golf and I’m a better golfer because of it. And, I’m newly invigorated in my quest to become a great golfer! Since the pros are playing for millions of dollars every week against deep fields of other phenomenal golfers, they know how valuable the expertise of people like Dr. Caserta and Matt Bencriscutto is. That’s why
they have students on every major professional tour in the world. The pros seek out teachers with this kind of expertise and that’s one of the reasons the pros are so good.
NOTE: This Sunday, April 2nd, all three of us will be conducting a clinic a the Metrowest Golf Club in Orlando, Florida from 10am to 5pm. The cost for the entire days with all 3 coaches is $150. I will be discussing The Hogan Code and working with people on my Long Drive Training. Dr. Caserta will be working with golfers on their mental skills and putting. Matt Bencriscutto will be helping people to hit the ball more consistently and control of the ball.
You can reserve a spot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.