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Extaordinary Putting - A new program exploring the approach of Extraordinary Golf and Fred Shoemaker

by Fred Shoemaker with Jo Hardy.

No one book as influenced me more in the evolution of my coaching and personal life.

I have read the book many times and it has many folded and scribbled pages.

I would like to share with you some of the wisdom it contains.

This is not a book review or a synopsis of personal notes taken from the book.

Extraordinary putting

Anything is possible…

To fix the golf swing or the putter stroke we (coaches) need to change the culture of golf instruction.

The answers are not outside of us but inside of us we all have the power to create our own future. The culture of right or wrong, good, or bad swing and the technology economy wont change this or save us.

Golfers want, freedom enjoyment, peace of mind and self coaching. If that is the future we want, we can create it. To choose it or to have it chosen for us.

We are responsible because we can respond and are able to create. The culture of golf instruction can change if our intentions and actions today are consistent with our vision of the future.

The future and the past happen in the mind it is only the present that happens outside our mind. Living in the present, being aware, gives everyone the chance to create an enlivening possibility and a future filled with fascination, curiosity, being and doing. The present is where everything happens.

Learning - Awareness is Curative

· Learning must be fascinating and delightful.

· Learning is not a step on the road to performance, something to move through, to get done with, it is something to enjoy.

· The road to learning golf and self coaching is for players to become curious and fascinated enough to develop the awareness of their motion and of any blind spots or breakdowns in their game; be they physical or mental.

Having the curiosity and trust in oneself and the process to explore a new possibility. A stroke more appropriate for the target. Ability to observe and experience it without judgement. In this state of awareness, a natural change takes place, and, in that moment, a more efficient motion begins to emerge.

· Within the experience being able to distinguish, increasingly subtle differences and getting closer and refining the motion is possible.

· Getting the body to sense and experience the difference between the two.

· Concentration and focusing with intent and commitment are what keep us in the moment and can bring us back to it.

· After the movement, reflect, debrief, and start over

· The only place learning happens is now,

True learning is not acquiring knowledge or conceptual understanding but true understanding and knowing. The way something is known is of importance not just what we know.

· Experiential knowing and learning create self coaching.

The primary sources of failure in golf instruction.

· Attempting to change things that have not yet experienced. Lack of awareness.

· Judgements and quick fixes or tips.

· Outcomes and performance are never ending, imposed cycles of right and wrong, of judgement, that always lead to anxiety, stress, and pain.

· Players want Freedom, Enjoyment, Peace of Mind, Increased Awareness, and ability to self coach; and that is exactly the best way for them to learn, freedom, peace of mind and increased awareness.

If the golfing experience encompasses learning, enjoyment, and performance. We have to say that admittedly we have not seen any significant impact in those three areas over the last 30 years. So, if we continue using the same paradigm or remain stuck in the same culture, we are crazy.

· The culture where learning is something to get past; to get better. However, handicaps have not changed, proving this approach to learning does not work. If the goal is only getting better and better, challenges are obstacles and breakdowns are failures.

· In this culture no level of getting better is satisfactory. In this culture the conditioned expectation does not change when you improve. Success becomes failure because it leads to more wanting and to the belief that more is the key to happiness and overall satisfaction.

· The focus should change from getting better to explore the possibility; that improvement is activated, through the joy of learning. Cultivation of joy and learning, learning naturally, performing instinctively.

· Evaluating and comparing students against models of what should be, is the greatest barrier to learning.


Coaching is in part helping students recover the sensitivity and the innocence that is required for self discovery and self coaching.

Coaching is supporting the golfer become aware of where they are.

· The only way to improve the playing game is to have a greater sense or awareness of what is happening.

· To b e aware and connect with the ball, clubface, the grass, the target, the environment, to sense, predict, commit, and act accurately. These are what are real in golf. Each of these have physical substance and mass.

· To play good golf you need to sense more accurately what is happening during the swing, you need fewer and smaller blind spots and develop a depth of awareness.

An example would be excellent putters have few surprises because they are awake, their sense reality is highly accurate and less proficient putters the sense of reality is off to a high degree.

With a deeper vision and purpose like swinging and playing with freedom we will naturally be setting our selves up to play with freedom and have more enjoyment.

The role of the coach is to support the golfer on their road to self reliance and self coaching. The role of the coach is to provide an environment where there is no judgement, no right or wrong.

The role of the coach is to bring about learning, to transmit that learning is an intentional act. It does not happen on its own, you must create it.

The role of the coach is to provide an environment that nurtures the abilities of the golfer in being, fascinated, curious, creative. To feel and see the subtleties that happen when they use their bodies react intuitively, instinctively and use their minds to remain aware and trusting, uncluttered, free of fear and doubt.

To become so fascinated and enthusiastic with the process that you cannot stay away. To remain alert, awake and intrigued. Smell the grass, remain silent touch the grass, feel the grass below your feet, watch the balls as they land and roll on the green, watch your playing partners roll their putts, seeing the whole green, feel their ball as they put it down, sense the flow in the practice swing and to remain connected to totality where the hole is the middle.

Enjoyment and performance can be unlinked. Enjoyment is not a function of performance (hitting well or scoring well) Once we make the distinction, that separation, new dimensions in learning, exploring and enjoyment are possible. Ironic?

Coaches when asked what would make them worth 500$ an hour, the answer is always better and faster at seeing faults and providing fixes. The myth that getting better and fixing faults is what people want is false. Gofers want to feel the freedom in their swing, to explore, to enjoy, to learn and become self reliant; that is what they really want (freedom, peace of mind, joy…even self coaching).

The same dominant culture is the dominant business culture, better productivity = more happiness. Not true, productivity leads to the desire for more productivity, not happiness.

Coaching is about helping the student recover a sensitivity and the innocence that self discovery and self coaching. Require. Its also about bringing them back to this moment and asking them to let go of the old agenda that keeps taking them away. This is a mindset a way of seeing the world, it takes peace of mind, trust, and concentration.

The place to start the discovery

The putting stroke is a miniature version of other swings. An excellent path to improvement is to start with the putting stroke and to develop it in the full swing, via chipping and putting.

The reason being that one of the ways to develop awareness is don’t swing any faster or farther than you can experience it. The putting stroke is a good place to start to build that foundational experience. It is the slowest, smallest motion we do in golf and the easiest place to start building a base of awareness.

Problems arise when there is a big gap between a physical reality and the image, we have of it. Our personal reality is entirely subjective created by us to give us meaning to what we experience around us. The closer these internal images match what is happening around us (reality) the better we function and the more likely we are more likely to be successful at whatever we try to do.

The only way to connect with reality is to connect with the inner experience through our senses and physical realities. The body, the ball, the club, and the environment which includes the target.

Awareness is what is happening and in golf it means paying attention to our differences in that experience, from stroke to stroke or swing to swing.

What is the access to direct experience? Your awareness. The freedom, peace of mind, and self coaching that can transform golf will only come from expanding awareness.

Which is the simple act of being present to something as it happens in the moment. This exploration will guide you to self coaching, by first experiencing, awareness, freedom and peace of mind. The exploration to discovery is divided in three sets of exercises. I. Freedom II. Peace of Mind III. Self Coaching.

If you would like to join me in a guided exploration and find your natural inner golfer you can join me in a 4 hour course that explores awareness with intent.

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