Just say NO

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

More Information

I have recently been thinking about my goals for the coming year. I will be 67 this new year in January, (please do not send gifts I have a registry with Rolex if you feel compelled to give), and still do not feel like I should use age as an issue to playing well. To me, goal setting has always been something that must be measured and have time limits on them. 

With this in mind, I have identified a few areas that can be worked on without subjecting myself to the winter weather of New Mexico. 

First – I am going to change the way I think months before I prepare for a tournament. I read a comment from one of the great players in our Section and he stated that due to his winter work on his physical wellbeing and his swing work on his golf swing he plays the season from a play golf point of view. Now I have to be the very first to admit that many times I play golf from the “working through swing thoughts” point of view. This means that while playing we are trying to problem solve something that happens in milliseconds. So this year my thought patterns will have to change.

Second – My swing changes must happen by the end of January.  This points me to time management as the answer to the problem. I must allot time to work on very specific swing corrections I want to put in. An example of this would be the length of swing I see where it has become the short phone booth swatting at bees motion. How will I do this? 

Shadow Drills – I previously covered how to use shadow drills to accomplish a lot in a little time with little to no wear and tear on your body. If you want to know about these drills, send me a message and I will send you all my notes. 

Video – I always video myself before I start this process and then video myself about 4 hours of work, no matter how many days that takes. The difference I assure you will be amazing. Somehow we have been lead to believe that hitting balls is the Holy Grail to learning. That by repetition you will get better. If that were true, the adage about only touching a hot stove once would not be true. There are many ways to learn and I have found this drill the best for this particular issue. 

Short game wizard – work about 40 minutes daily in two sessions on pitching and chipping. I get better as I start to work on controlling my trajectory of my shots. So, I will work on high shots, basic height and low shots with nothing but my wedges from 20 yards in. (If you do this your game benefits and you’re close to the clubhouse if you get thirsty or hungry). I always recommend short time spans with plenty of walking between shots, never spend more than 15 minutes from one spot. 

Just say NO? Well yes, just say NO to hearing that age dictates that we are past the point of changing. Just say NO to the fact that it is not worth changing and just be happy with what you do. Say YES to the fact we constantly learn and change. See you on the first tee, I am the guy with YES on my golf.  

Tom Velarde is the Manager at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email tvelarde@blackmesagolfclub.com.