Trent Wearner is a 3-time Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year and often rated as the #1 Teacher in Colorado by his peers and Golf Digest Magazine. He has been on The Golf Channel and Morning Drive several times as well as regularly on Altitude Sports Television’s [email protected]
He has taught side-by-side several top instructors including Keith Lyford and other Top 100 Teachers. He works with players of all ability levels and spends his time equally between Adults and Juniors, many who are considered the state’s top amateurs, juniors, and mini-tour players. With 80+ students playing or having played college golf, he is the most sought-after junior coach in the region and joins us today to talk about proper practice and re-introducing the term “scrimmage” to golfers across the world.
Trent Wearner’s Background
- As a young golfer, Trent played a lot of competitive junior golf and continues to play in Colo PGA Section Professional events.
- Throughout his career, Wearner has received numerous awards and accolades, both locally and nationally, such as the Top 25 Master Elite Junior Golf Coaches in the U.S., Three-time Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year, and Player Development Award Winner.
- 32 of Trent’s students have played in National USGA Events, and he has 12 Individual High School State Championships as well as 11 Team High School State Championships under his belt.
Highlights from this Episode
- He kicks the episode off talking about the background experience of growing up with sports that fueled and brought the inspiration to his book, “Golf Scrimmages: Realistic Practice Games Under Pressure” and his interactive website.
- Why it can be so hard to take your game from the practice range to the golf course and how to both mentally break that down, as well as tips to try to bridge the gap. He talks about different tips and aspects to focus on through some common games to make their practice more meaningful.
- Trent talks more in-depth on his website and the scoring mechanics/leaderboards. Scoring plays such a crucial role in the real world of golf, why not practice like we play?
- Finally, Trent raps up talking about the future of GolfScrimmages.com and how a user-friendly environment is his number one priority with it.
Caddy Shack or Happy Gilmore?
What would be your walk-up song?
Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett
If you could play 18 holes with anyone, who would it be and where would you play?
Payne Stewart at The Home of Golf in St. Andrews.
Do you have any parting advice for the 18 Strong Community?
When people are looking for a coach, it’s extremely important to do your homework and interview them. Be an informed consumer and know to ask the right questions.
Find Trent Wearner:
- Facebook: Trent Wearner Golf Academy
- Twitter: @TrentWearner
- Book: Golf Scrimmages
Connect with 18STRONG
Join The 18STRONG Movement!
If you listened to the very end of this episode, then you know that there is a movement happening in golf and fitness. To join, simply follow this link to the private Facebook group and ask to join! Once you’re accepted, you are officially part of The 18STRONG Movement! Introduce yourself to the group and let’s get connected!
Jeff Pelizzaro: The 18STRONG Podcast episode number 175 with Trent Wearner from GolfScrimmages.com.
Trent Wearner: We need to be creating a training environment, or training environments, that are cognitively faithful to the demands of the real game.
Announcer: Welcome to the 18STRONG Podcast, where you get direct access to the world’s greatest experts on training harder, practicing smarter, and playing better golf. Now here’s your host, Jeff Pelizzaro.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Hey, what’s up? Welcome to the 18STRONG Podcast. This week we are talking all about practice, and typically the golfer thinks driving range, bucket of balls, putting green, but today we’re going to change gears a little bit, and we’re going to talk with Trent Wearner from Trent Wearner Golf and Golf Scrimmages about that word exactly, scrimmages, and what that means. Just to give you a little background here on Trent, he has been voted the Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year three times. He’s been voted number one teacher in Colorado by Golf Digest multiple times, and he’s also been featured on The Golf Channel many times over the years, so he has definitely proven the fact that he knows how to get his clients, his students to practice better, to play more effective golf, as it’s showing in his results.
Most of us grew up playing some sort of sport. You’d go to practice, you finish your practice with a scrimmage, and you know that it’s all about playing the game while you’re practicing, learning the ins and outs, learning techniques, making stuff up, being creative. And so Trent has really dedicated the last 11, 12 years of his coaching to teaching golfers how to practice better. So if you’ve ever said to yourself, “Why is it so hard to take what I’m doing at the range and take it to the course?” or “Why is it so hard to improve when I’m under pressure?” this episode is exactly for you.
What Trent has done with his book, with his website is give you a realistic way to practice and play games and mimic the situation, mimic the pressure, or find ways to come closer to that pressure that you’re going to feel on the course, so when you get out there you don’t crumble, because you don’t get to hit five balls in a row, or you don’t get to roll the same putt three times. So I think you’re really going to enjoy this. There’s a great resource at GolfScrimmages.com to check out the different videos and check out the membership site, which we’ll get into some details in the episode itself.
Real quick, want to say thanks to our sponsor, PGA Tour Mobile App, for sponsoring the show and this episode. If you haven’t jumped on the PGA Tour Mobile App, you don’t have it on your phone yet, you’re missing out. You are not able to stay up-to-date live with what’s going on on the tour. As we’re kind of getting ramped up, back into the golf season here in 2018, you want to know what the guys are doing. Pretty soon, Tiger’s going to be playing again, you want to see what Tiger’s score is. You can check all of the stats, you can check every shot, you can even get highlights on the PGA Tour Mobile App. So if you don’t have it, go to whatever device it is, look up in your app store on Android, iPhone, Samsung, whatever it might be. Blackberry, if you still carry one of those. You can find the PGA Tour Mobile App. So go ahead and download that now.
All right. Let’s get into some scrimmage talk with Trent Wearner. Trent Wearner, welcome to the 18STRONG Podcast, and thanks so much for coming on.
Trent Wearner: Jeff, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it. Looking forward to it.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Absolutely. Me too. The topic that we’re going to talk about that you’re the expert in is how golfers practice, and in our communication before, or actually, I think it was in the video on your website, I heard the line that golf is the worst-practiced sport in the world. And I think you’re probably right when you say that, and so you actually have devoted a lot of time and effort to helping kind of educate golfers on better ways to practice, and one of those is through your book, “Golf Scrimmages: Realistic Practice Games Under Pressure”. First of all, what made you finally decide to write that book, and how long has the book been out in publication?
Trent Wearner: Sure. When I was a kid, I grew up playing a lot of sports, and probably only golf, soccer, baseball, and basketball are kind of the only organized ones, but we did everything outside in the street, like I think a lot of us our age kind of tended to do. There weren’t any helmets, and we just stayed out till dark, and nobody cared. Just growing up in the game atmosphere and street games, whatever it is, we just played games, and regardless of the technique, we had a blast and we competed and we learned to, whatever the sport, get the ball in the hole, as it’s dubbed in golf.
Through that and playing a lot of games with friends growing up through the years at the golf course, we just made them up and had a blast doing that all day long. So I had that idea for quite a while, and I put things on paper the old-fashioned way. I kind of like have to lay things out and see them before I write them, so I would do that. It took a few years to get it all down, but I committed to doing it, and the book came out in … it was near the end of, like August of ’06. It’s just been the neatest trip for the last 11, 12 years now, getting to meet so many great people around the country, college coaches, players, successful amateurs or professionals that contact me about it. It’s just been really, really fun.
Jeff Pelizzaro: I love the word “scrimmages”, because when I think … because I grew up playing soccer and every sport, basketball, baseball, and all of those, at the end of practice, you scrimmaged. You just went out to the street and played, or the alley or wherever it was, up to the playground. And you just got your buddies together and you goofed around. Now, I didn’t grow up playing golf and didn’t have the experience to go out and just hang with my buddies and play on a golf course, but I would imagine that that’s what we would have done. We’d go up to a little par 3 course and goof around a little bit. And so I love the fact that you’ve taken kind of what we did as kids, and what I think a lot of kids should be doing all over the spectrum of sports still, and you’ve taken that and kind of put into a package.
So then you wrote the book, you’ve been teaching students for a long time, and then you decided to turn it actually into an interactive website as well. Is that correct? How did that process work?
Trent Wearner: That’s right. While I was putting the book together, I was like, “Man, there’s got to be some electronic way that people can enter their scores and do this.” That was back in ’06 or so, and you think about spreadsheets you did in college or whatever, and that’s pretty boring, but it took a while and a few tries, and just a couple years ago, yes, we put it in together into an interactive website. There are leaderboards, there are a whole bunch of games, obviously, and people can play them. We’ll get into the benefit of them and whatnot.
As you alluded to, some of the whiteboard videos that we have on there are really fun, I think, and enlightening for people to look at. There’s three of them, and they’re short, and hopefully resonate with people with regard to maybe making a new resolution for 2018 and not just working on mechanics solely, but incorporating all those and having a place where, whether you’re just an avid golfer who understands this and wants to jump on the website and do it. If you’re a high school or college coach, you can have your team, and your team will have their own private leaderboard. Or say a golf academy or even a private club can get some or their interested members, or all their members, together and do that. It’s all-encompassing for groups like that or just individuals that want to jump on.
It really is the worst-practiced sport in the world, and our industry … You know, if you just Googled “golf drills”, you’d get a whole bunch of mechanical drawings, and if you do that in other sports, you tend to get plays. Like the players have got to go X’s and O’s. You get some situational practice. And so it’s interesting how that word is different in golf compared to other sports, but that’s why we wanted to use the word “scrimmage”, because people know that. For the most part, yes, you have to learn how to shoot the basketball and putt and have a certain amount of skill in golf to get it airborne and have fun, but there also needs to be a place and a time where you cut it off and you move into what’s called transfer practice.
One of my greatest mentors has been Dr. Rick Jensen, and he has something called the four steps of mastery. What’s so great about those is it really lays out … and four is not a lot, it’s pretty simple and pretty easy … but the first one is just that you’ve got to understand what it is you’re doing so that you … Why is my ball doing what it’s doing, and what do I need to do to get it better? Pretty reasonable common sense.
The second one is just intentional supervised practice. So when you go work on whatever it is that you’re going to work on from your lesson, with your coach, you have to know that you’re doing it. So you need some sort of feedback. But what people do, is they only go that far. They work on their swing, they hit a bunch of drivers, they hit a bunch of 7 irons, whatever it is, and then they expect to be that proficient, or as proficient as they were on the range, when they go to the course. And it works the opposite manner. You’re practicing in an easy environment with none of the things that we experience, feel, or sense on the course, and when you go to the golf course, you’re going to get punched in the nose. You’re going to lose every time to this wonderful game of golf, not because you can’t do it, not because you don’t have the skill, but because you’re just ill-prepared. You’re not doing what basketball coaches and players do, and football coaches and players do.
So that third step is transfer practice, it’s practice that helps you transfer your game to the course. And the fourth step is obviously playing and being able to deal with hazards and obstacles lurking. But when I present these to a lot of people, coaches or just golfers, I ask them, “What do you feel on the golf course?” They often say, “I get too mechanical. There’s a consequence if I hit a bad shot. I only get one try, for heaven sakes. There’s a whole bunch of different lies, and I’m thinking about score all day.” That’s what happens, and all of that is encompassed into one thing called pressure. If you’re not ready for that, you are doing yourself a disservice when you go out and hit balls or practice.
And that’s why you’ve got to get outside. There are a lot of great facilities around the country, and indoor lessons are going to grow and grow with the decline or, I guess, the not so many golf courses being built anymore in the US, or even North America. So we’re going to see a lot of that, and frankly I believe that there’s some great teachers that work indoors, but long-term-wise, the golfer has got to get outside and experience all of these different elements. And I can’t say that enough to, I guess, the golfing public, that you’ve got to put yourself in an environment.
No one would go to a golf course … no one would go do anything … You don’t go a basketball practice and just work on set shots from the 3-point line, let alone with no basket, and that’s what we do indoors to a net. So short-term-wise, absolutely there’s a benefit. You can work on your technique and improve that skill, but sometimes I get a little afraid that we’re removing the golfer from the actual issue even more. So the issue is, and every coach will agree with this, probably the top two things they hear is, “I’m inconsistent. I want to be more consistent. And I can’t take my game to the course.”
Well, a lot of people have a tough time taking their game from the range to the course, and by moving it indoors, it makes it even another step, which is a little bit challenging for some people. So you’ve got to be able to get outside and do it, and put yourself under a lot of those tough, pressure-packed elements.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Why do you think it is that we tend to stop at that second level, and we never move on to that transfer level? I mean, it seems like every golfer, they think of practice as going to the driving range and just hitting balls, and maybe going to the putting green and rolling some putts.
Trent Wearner: That’s a perfect question. That’s really good. It really comes down to … sports psychologists call this false confidence. You stand there with whatever club it is, and we tend to hit it over and over again, and sooner or later you’re going to find it. Like okay, there, I hit a good one, and you get on a roll. You get in the car, and you drive home, and you feel good about yourself. But that term “false confidence” comes from, you just hit 30 set shots from the 3-point line. Nobody’s in your face. You’re not coming off a pick. You’re not flying through the air sideways. You’re not doing anything realistic, and so it’s fake, basically. And yet, it’s a big lure. Ah, it’s awesome, I’m hitting it great. And everybody loves hitting it solid, and there’s research on what people want to do is lower your handicap, shoot these scores, or hit it solid.
People want to hit the ball solidly, and I get that, but that’s why they stop, is that it’s awesome to hit the ball solidly. But there’s a total difference between being able to do that one try. You know, we’ll commonly say to people, “The goal in golf is to hit consecutive shots well. That’s what we’re trying to do. His a pretty good drive, pretty good approach, pretty good putt or two, or chip if we have to.” But we need to do that on the range. We need to do the exact same thing, and it doesn’t take rocket science, and there’s a lot of research to back this up, but it’s kind of a “duh” statement. If you’re not incorporating these things, alternating clubs, putting yourself under pressure through some scoring system, alternating the lie, creating some sort of mental environment, basically, then you’re going to have a very tough time taking your game to the course. Or you might get lucky a round or two or what have you throughout the course of the summer, but you’re not going to be as consistent as you’d like.
Jeff Pelizzaro: I think we’ve all experienced it, where you hit a shot, it’s terrible, you drop another ball down, you hit the perfect shot. Well, that’s great, but that’s the second shot, it didn’t actually count. On the driving range it’s easy, if you hit five in a row, for three out of those five to be pretty decent.
Trent Wearner: I think that’s where the term “breakfast ball” probably came into play. Like well, I get to do another one. I hate that. I hate a mulligan, and I hate a breakfast ball. It’s like no, we’re going to go learn to deal with it. I don’t care if this is your first shot and you didn’t warm up. That’s your fault. We’re going to learn to deal with this, and if I make a bogey on hole 1, I make a bogey, but teeing up another one is doing more damage and not allowing you to take the skills that you need to get over bad shots, because that’s part of golf. It’s about how you react and recover when the ball doesn’t go where you had intended. And the way we practice doesn’t set us up for learning and accepting that skill.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Let’s talk a little bit about kind of your global coaching philosophy then. When somebody comes to see you, what does a lesson, maybe, look like, or a group of lessons, if that’s more appropriate? And how do you then kind of create that pressure for them, or allow them to create that pressure for themselves?
Trent Wearner: Sure. We basically like to kind of break things into three parts, and we start off with an interview. We have a two-page questionnaire that really gives us a big insight into the person and what they feel or think of their golf skills and the shots that they hit and their ability to manage themselves around the golf course. But when it comes down to it, it’s a three-part scenario, the first being what within your technique do we need to get better so that you can become more consistent? And that, whatever it may be, what’s causing the person the most grief, is it the short game, or is it your driver, whatever it is. We’ll take a look at the technique so that we can control the ball better, move it from point A to point B more successfully.
The second aspect is really just learning to practice effectively, so some sort of training environment that they are, when they go practice, they know that they’re doing it. So back to Dr. Rick Jensen’s, one of his steps, is just giving them proper feedback so they can acquire what it is they’re trying to work on in the fastest way possible. And the second topic of practice has two parts. It also has the other part to it, which is this competitiveness, the game-like, the scrimmages that we’re talking about. We will dance between working on technique and working on competitive environment, depending on how severe their bad shots are, depending on if they have tournaments coming up, depending on where they are in mainly those facets. What they have coming up, is it winter, is it summer, what are they doing?
And then the third aspect is just on-course time. We try to be on the course as much as we can. We’re at a great golf course here in Denver at Meridian Golf Club. We’ve got an 18-hole course and three practice holes, so if there’s ever a time we can’t get on the course, we can head right over to these practice holes and do anything, throw balls down in the weeds, or sloping mounds, and simply just make it real.
Jeff Pelizzaro: That’s pretty cool. I think that’s a piece that I know here in St. Louis there’s not a lot of availability as far as facilities for somebody that maybe doesn’t belong to one of the high-dollar clubs or doesn’t have some of those resources. What would you suggest to somebody that they’ve basically got a driving range and a pitch and putt? Where does somebody like that, what should they kind of go and focus on?
Trent Wearner: Yeah, that’s where I think they can simply just incorporate some of the games into their practice, and I can go over a few easy ones with you, or common ones that really have, I guess, a little bit of a flip to them that make it more meaningful. Let’s say a person is just at a driving range, and there’s a common game that people talk about, which is just trying to hit an imaginary fairway. There’s a purple flag on the right and a green flag on the left, and I’m going to try and hit some drives in between it. That’s all great, that can put some pressure on you. It’s like just trying to make 10 putts in a row, but there’s another level of that where if you were to make 10 putts in a row from different locations, that’s better than just 10 putts in a row from the same location.
But back to the driving range scenario, let’s say I’m going to hit 10 drivers, and I tee up the first one and I hit it in between the flags, so I hit it in between an imaginary fairway, don’t tee up another ball. Just grab some other iron and aim somewhere else on the range, and hit that 8 iron, and then go ahead and tee up another drive. Go through your routine, of course. Be engaged in this. Make it matter. Make it count, and hit it down the fairway again, and just alternate between driver and some iron, driver and iron. That’s where, if I’ve got 10 minutes at lunch, I grab my driver and a 6 iron, and I just alternate. It is very, very challenging for all of us, myself included, when we hit a bad one. Like, “Oh, I’m going to re-tee that one.” But no, you can’t do that. That’s part of it.
What happens is you hit a bad drive on hole 6, say, when you’re out playing, and then you finish out hole 6 with a few approach or chips and putts or whatever, and then you go to 7 and your brain’s like, “Oh, I just hit a really bad drive on the previous hole.” Well, you can work through that by setting up that same scenario on the range, like we just talked about, and learning to get over it, and not letting some of those negative thoughts creep in. But by putting some time in between the shot that you just hit, so while we hit a drive and then we walk or drive in a cart for a seconds or minutes to get to it, we can’t necessarily do that on the range, but we can turn around and grab our 7 iron, and take a sip of water, and aim at some other flag at some cockeyed angle on the range, and then hit it, and then go back and grab your driver. So we’re putting a little bit of time in between, and just mentally and, I guess, emotionally there’s a lot to that, that really helps you transfer to the course with more success.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Let’s jump in here real quick to say thanks to our buddies and sponsor of this episode, RAD Roller. RAD Roller makes some great products, soft tissue myofascial release products that you can take with you anywhere you go. I know that a lot of the pros listening to this, coaches listening to this are going to be traveling down to the PGA Show next week, and what better way to make sure that you’re sleeping well, that your body’s moving well, than taking a RAD Roller, either Helix or RAD Rod or one of the different tools that they have to get your body moving a little bit better when you know you’re stiff after your plane ride, maybe waking up in that hotel bedroom and you don’t quite feel so good?
That’s where these products are perfect. They’re very easy to travel with. You can fit them in your bag, but you can use them in the hotel room on the floor, kind of work out the knots in the shoulders, work out the legs a little bit, roll around, and you can hit some of those tough spots to make sure that you’re either able to walk all day at the PGA Show or whether that be you’re on a business trip, or whatever it might be, getting ready to play a round of golf, which most of the golf pros will be doing while they’re down there at the PGA Show. So be sure to go to RADRoller.com and check out all the different products that they have.
They’ve got tons of education there. They’ve got education platforms for the trainers and coaches that are out there that want to learn more about it. They’ve also got education on how to use the products. They’ve got their YouTube channel where you can go and look out how you can use each individual product. I personally love the original RAD Roller, the Helix, the RAD Ball, and have been playing around with the new Adam and the Sphere at our gym, and loving every bit of it. So go check out RADRoller.com. Use the code “18STRONG” to get your discount.
Before we jump into another game, something that I noticed in some of your videos, going through some of the games … And everybody, go to GolfScrimmages.com and click on the games tab, and you’ll get to see some of the videos and get a couple of these tips … what I noticed was a lot of times you preference the video with “I want you to get mentally prepared for, in this situation you’ve been striking the ball really well all day, you’re in the middle of the fairway all day.” Or there’s another one, I think, “You’ve been striking the ball terribly today. You’re off the side of the green.” You put a lot of emphasis on getting mentally sharp and really honing in on what your mental state is before starting the game. What’s the thought process behind that?
Trent Wearner: Precisely. The second one you’re referencing there is just another simple one like imaginary fairway that we’ve all heard of, but the short game one is just a game of up and down. We’ve all heard it, we’ve all played it. It sounds pretty boring and pretty blah, but yes, when you preface it with, “You have missed every single green in regulation today. It’s your worst day of ball striking ever. Let’s see how good you can do,” it’s a totally different scenario. I’ll come back to that in a second.
What that reminds me of is we’ll get on the golf course with students, and they hit a bad drive, and they’re in the … where we are, we have more native grass than trees … so they hit one in the native, and they’re pouting all the way up there, and their shirt tail’s out, and their hat’s backward, moping around. They barely whack it out of the native or what have you and end up with a double bogey. So we go to the next hole, and I say, “We’re just going to skip the drive here on this hole, now let’s drive up here to the fairway.” And instead of dropping one in the fairway, I stick one over in the native, and I say, “Okay, if you make par, I got lunch.” The whole attitude changes, like, “All right, Trent, you jerk, you just threw my ball in the native. Watch me make par, or at least a better decision so that I take double bogey out of the equation, and I’ll walk away with a bogey.”
Simply, we as golfers have a tough time forgetting how the ball got to where it is. So they hit the drive in there, life’s over. I throw the ball in there and challenge them, it’s game on, and they’re excited and pumped. It’s those sort of things that just by doing the games, a light bulb goes off, you know? Someone hits you on the head and says, “Wake up. This is what it’s about. You’re going to miss it, and it’s about your attitude.”
Same thing with that game of up and down. Let’s just say you’re playing nine holes of up and down, and you’ll obviously vary your location around the green, because you don’t want to stay in the same spot. Change clubs, change holes, whatever it may be, but you throw a ball down somewhere, and you chip it up, and you go putt it out. If you make a two, that’s basically a par, so you would have made a four, basically. You do that for nine holes, you pick it out of the hole, and you chuck it somewhere else on the other side of the green, and you chip up, and you see how well you did.
You realize … Within the website, we actually encourage people, you have to enter the score based on a nine-hole score. So let’s say you got up and down five times, and you failed to get up and down the other four. You shot four over, and in our system, par is 36, so you enter your score as a 40. Look, you missed every single green in regulation, and you just shot a 40. That may or may not be good for whoever’s listening right now, but you can equate that to your ability level, and it’s like, “Yeah, okay, and I certainly don’t miss every single green in regulation.” It’s just how hungry you are and how you perceive it. It’s huge, your mentality.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Yeah, it gives a totally different framework around what that score is, or like for me, yeah, 40, that’s pretty good. I’d be happy with that in most situations. And then knowing that I missed every single green in regulation. For sure, I love that. Give us maybe two more games that people can use when they go out to the range this next week, or hopefully, if it’s warm enough.
Trent Wearner: You bet. Yeah, it’s 62 degrees here in Denver and probably snowing, I think I saw, in Florida or something, so it’s crazy what we have going on. Wherever you are, some putting usually is a good one. My favorite putting game is called “Drawback”. Some people know it by “Pullback”. Again, it’s how it benefits the golfer. Basically, how this works is you … whatever length putt, we spell it out on the website, but let’s just say you start with hole 1, you can play nine holes of this, and you’ve got a 20-footer. You putt it, and wherever it ends up, let’s say it ends up two feet to the right of the hole, say like three o’clock if we can imagine that, then you pull the ball back a full putter’s length in line with the hole, so you’re kind of extending out farther from three o’clock. So instead of having a, what did I say, two-footer, now you’ve basically got a five-footer, and you’ve got to try and putt that one in.
Now, a two-footer compared to a five-footer is a lot different, and the odds are a lot less that you’re going to make it from five compared to three. If you make that putt, great, you made a two and you go on to the next hole. If you miss that putt, you have to draw it back again, wherever the ball ends up, always in line with the hole and the ball, and draw back another putter’s length, or three feet. So if you leave one on the edge, you’re going to be left with a three-footer still. That’s pretty much your shortest putt you can have. You can play nine holes of this and tally up your score. It’s tough. It’s challenging.
This is a very tough game, but that’s the whole idea is that in other sports … Games felt easy to me in basketball because we ran sprints like crazy. We over-practiced. We did all these things. We knew what these other teams were doing. And so by practicing something more challenging, the game is more fluid, it’s more easy or more focused, and it seems simpler. That seems really strange to people that the actual on-course can feel simpler, but that’s just the way you practice. The benefit to that game is that when your mentality changes, Jeff, if you’ve got a 20-footer, now that you know the rules to the game, instead of having like oh, let me just cozy it up, instead of that being acceptable to you, you’re going to say hey, let’s just try and make this. Now, the odds of making a 20- and 30- and 40-footer are not great, but the point is your mentality changes. You’re trying to just roll it up there and see if it drops. So I’m trying to make it. So that’s the first benefit.
The second benefit is odds are you’re not going to make a lot of those, and you’re going to have a lot short putt, pressure-packed practice from four, five, six, seven, maybe even eight feet, and those are tough when you know you still have to draw it back, and then the game’s not over. The third aspect is that when you get to the course and you actually hit the ball one or two or three feet away, hey I don’t have to draw it back anymore. I’ve played the game so much that I’m in this habit of drawing the ball back. Now this one- or two-footer, the real game seems easier, is massive. And it’s just enlightening. It’s fun.
Jeff Pelizzaro: I love that. Yeah, I can just picture after playing so many times, hitting the ball up to two feet and thinking oh, I’ve got a five-footer, and then you walk up and you’re like oh wait. It’s like finding money in your pocket, kind of.
Trent Wearner: Bingo. Exactly. That’s a good one, yeah.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Let’s talk a little bit more about the website, and kind of the scoring angle, because I think that so many people, they’ll go out, they’ll practice a little bit, maybe they even start playing the games, but I think the scoring is a very key component here. Why would you say it is so important for them to actually tally this stuff up?
Trent Wearner: Yeah, you know, I think that’s the toughest thing with golf, is that a lot of coaches, sports psychologists, whatever, we’re talking about the routine and the process a lot, and to get engaged in what you’re doing in your pre-shot, and what you should be feeling or thinking about, or imagery, what you should be seeing or visualizing. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the score you got, so it’s a tough one, but I equate that to juniors. I talk a lot about juniors or adults who give a speech or doing a presentation, it’s your preparation. And so for kids, if you’ve got a math test coming up, well, let’s start with did you go to class, did you listen, did you take notes, did you study? Let’s look at those things first to see how those impacted your end result.
We’re trying to certainly be in the process more when we practice, and that’s that we all need to be in, but by having an outcome, in other words, the score that we have on the website, yeah, you’re going to enter your score. It’s going to matter. You can post it. There are leaderboards, so if you’re doing well, it can get posted up there. If you’re just within a small group, say your own golf academy or high school or college team or what have you, there are private leaderboards, so just your own student base or college team or what have you will have their own private leaderboard with their logo and everything.
That’s what happens in the real world. This stuff is posted. Every college coach can go online and find on the net any scores from everybody. So that part matters, and that’s the part that does put a lot of pressure on us. And so you have to involve score, and yet you can’t think about it. We’re trying to get into that process. So it just incorporates the exact same scenarios that we have when we’re playing, and all the games are scored differently, as you can imagine, as we alluded to already with regard to putting ones or chipping ones or up and down or driver ones. They’re all different, but we also track or show the person … Say they play a particular game. The website will show them their best score that they ever shot, so maybe the team or the coach can have a little contest throughout the whole season. Like all right, let’s see who gets the lowest score in this game, and we’re going to play it every other practice session, or every Wednesday, or whatever it is.
It also tracks your most recent average, so your trending average, and that’s just an average of the last three scores you’ve submitted for that game. So basically, how am I doing lately? Am I improving? You can see some trends. And then it also, the third aspect of score that it tracks is your lifetime average, which I think is a neat stat, because it really shows like hey, when you go out and you play this game, let’s really take a look at your lifetime average, this whole summer, because that’s going to tell us how focused you are when you’re practicing. It’s going to give us a better gauge for how well you have stayed with it and worked through it and worked on it and really tried to make it matter and make it count. So those three, I think a coach or anybody can really use in a number of ways, and they’re all beneficial in some way, shape or form to the productivity of this person or their student.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Anybody that has that competitive edge in them, being able to look back and see what your score was, or maybe more important, what your buddy’s score was or your teammate’s score, and being able to kind of challenge that every single time, I think that’s cool. That takes me back, again, to my earlier days in practices. You know, you want to beat the other team. You want to beat the other guys and have fun with it. It’s not all about just cutthroat competition, but it gives you something to shoot for and a little reason to take it a little bit more seriously every time you go out there. I love that.
Trent Wearner: Exactly. There’s certainly a lot of merit that it is more fun. It’s very, very productive to just that transferability. You know, I heard that there’s a gentleman named Todd Beane. He runs a company called TOVO. It’s basically … His father-in-law is Johan Cruyff, which the soccer players may know, a famous coach who’s Dutch. Todd runs this TOVO soccer academy in Barcelona now, basically based around all the things that his father-in-law Johan believed in and did. I heard him talk online the other day, and he talked about all these antiquated learning environments and how seriously inadequate they are. And something I took away, he used the phrase that we need to be creating a training environment, or training environments, that are cognitively faithful to the demands of the real game, and that one’s pinned on my computer screen, because it’s just fantastic. It’s what we’re missing so much.
There are so many different media outlets and ways that we can find out how I need to fix my slice, or I’m hooking it, or I’m chunking it, or I’m casting it. It’s overloaded. We’ve done way too good a job, and frankly, if a person can’t get online and have a little bit of information on how to fix their slice or what have you, then they should be paying triple for a golf lesson, because the information’s out there. But being able to take those other steps and understand that … I mean, cognitively faithful to the demands of the real game is just outstanding to me. We need to be doing that. Todd talks about when all these kids come to his soccer camp, that he says, “You’re going to go home, and your coach is going to say how well your skills, your foot skills, have improved.” And sure enough, they go home, and that’s what the coach says.
But what happened was, they learned more about the game. They learned to be in space in soccer, like running to the open space, being in the appropriate area. When they learn to run to the correct areas and be in the correct places on the field, or the pitch, as they call it, their skills get better, because they’re gaining more time with their ball. They’re not rushed with a defender right on them. So they’re just learning things, and we talk about that with golf, too, like that’s not a really smart pin to aim for right now, because there’s no room for error. If you hit it in the bunker, it doesn’t mean that you stink at hitting shots, you just stink at decision-making, and it’s those sorts of things. That’s why it’s so fun to get in these games and get on the course with students. It’s imperative that the golfing public spend more time in that environment.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Fantastic. So what’s the future for GolfScrimmages.com?
Trent Wearner: That’s great. Right now there are … In the book, we’ve got … The book’s 230 pages, and 200 of the pages are all games, and it’s all broken up: putting, chipping, bunker, pitching, full swing, even a few on-course games. So we’ve got well over a hundred games in the book. Online, we have a couple dozen that the person can truly enter their score and participate on the leaderboards, or just their own stats. By stats, I mean their own scores. They can just see how they’re doing and progressing.
We are going to be adding a number of just game videos, so it’s basically just another place that, if we add another 20+ videos to it, where they can just see, and they may not be able to use it and enter their scores, but they just need some fresh game that they can go out and play, or that their coach can require. You know, hey, let’s go out and play this pitching game today, or play this five times in the next two weeks. The coach can see their scores. But just some more games so that everybody … That’s one thing people wanted, was just a few more games, and we’re going to give them a bunch more games, so they can make it fresh all the time when they go out and practice.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Perfect. Just give the audience … tell them where they can go find it, and then also, if it is a coach that’s looking to get in touch, maybe, for his team, can they just go straight through the website, or do they need to contact you as well?
Trent Wearner: The website is GolfScrimmages.com, and they can purchase the book there, they can take a look at the membership for the website. And yes, it is all laid out on the … basically, there’s a log-in page, and underneath that, it lays out all the pricing, whether you have five students or a hundred students. So again, if you’re just a coach, like you said, for a high school or college, and some really, really inexpensive pricing. We want people to do this. We don’t want this to be any financial barrier. If you have any sort of membership, you’re used to maybe $15 a month or something, this is five, and if you’re an individual and want to do something, for a yearly membership, it’s $5. So we want to make it brainless, and we want to encourage people to do this and not have an excuse not to.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Awesome. I love it. All right. Before we finish up, I got a couple quick questions that I got to ask you that I ask everybody that comes on the show. First one, “Caddyshack” or “Happy Gilmore”?
Trent Wearner: Both great. I watch them both when they come on TV. I’d probably like some “Caddyshack” a little more.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Excellent. If you could pick a walk-up song, going to the first tee box, something that would be playing over the loudspeaker, what would you pick?
Trent Wearner: Let’s see. Might depend on the hole, but I’m a pretty big Buffett fan, so I don’t know if you’ve ever had “Margaritaville” as an answer. I’m sure they’re more like Metallica or what have you, but I’ll go with “Margaritaville.” It might just boost the spirits a little, make you smile.
Jeff Pelizzaro: You’d be surprised. I’ve had Metallica, Frank Sinatra. We’ve had a little bit of everything.
Trent Wearner: That’s good. That’s good.
Jeff Pelizzaro: All right. If you could play 18 holes of golf with anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be and where would you play?
Trent Wearner: A lot of tough ones there, but part of the reason why I’m in this game is I grew up really admiring Payne Stewart, and so I’d have to choose Payne. Every time he was in a magazine, I’d cut out his picture and paste it on my wall. Thankful that my parents let me collage my wall with whatever I wanted. He was a big influence, and really being able to … I don’t know, we’re all missing that guy, I think. It would be great for the game. His character, his flair, being able to see him be a Ryder Cup captain, and certainly be able to play golf with him anywhere would be great. The home of golf would be a great place to play, in St Andrews. I haven’t done that one yet, but he’d be my choice.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Solid. Any last piece of advice for the 18STRONG community here?
Trent Wearner: You know, I think when people go out to look for a coach, they need to do some pretty good interviewing. They’re looking for a transformational relationship. I’ve heard this phrase the last few months, and that’s great. It’s about transforming your game and learning character and cognition and other skills, and it’s not just about a transaction, like I want a lesson, and I want to get better. We actually have a page on our website. Our Golf Academy website is just TrentWearnerGolf.com, and on there, there’s a great piece of information we call the informed consumer, where they can just look at some things that would probably be important for them to know and to ask, so that wherever they are around the world or country, they can ask the right questions and really find the best coach for them or their son or their daughter.
Jeff Pelizzaro: That’s great. All right, my friend. I really appreciate you taking the time today, and I love what you’re doing with Golf Scrimmages. I can’t say how much. First, I just learned going and watching some of the videos and some of the games that I’m going to take away, and go get my membership as well, at that $5 price point. That’s awesome. But just want to say, you’re doing an amazing job, and I think that you’re really kind of filling a hole that is needed with the education that you’re providing. So many people don’t understand how important it is to practice the way that you play, in any sport but especially golf, the worst practice sport in the world. So thanks for your time today, Trent.
Trent Wearner: That’s great, Jeff. I appreciate it. You know, through the last 10 years or 11 years since the book came out, I have seen a growing number of coaches have this discussion, so it’s neat to see the topic grow. I hope it really takes off and continues, because it is important, and, I guess, one tiny thing that comes to mind is we often talk to our students about like, name a golfer you love, whose swing. Adam Scott, Justin Rose, those come out all the time. Tiger. And they don’t win all the time, so to add one more piece of advice, it’s we can’t be robots. Those best swings duck hook it in the trees, hit it in the ocean. They too miss shots, so get your skill to a point, but don’t overdo it. Look at the other aspects of the game, and I don’t just mean putting and chipping, but the other aspects of the philosophy, as far as incorporating the realistic nature to your practice sessions, and as Todd Beane says, you know, just making it cognitively faithful to the demands of this great, great sport of golf.
Jeff Pelizzaro: Perfect. Thank you, sir. We’ll be in touch very soon.
Trent Wearner: Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate you having me.
Jeff Pelizzaro: All right. Thanks for joining us this week on the 18STRONG Podcast. If you want any more information on Trent Wearner and Golf Scrimmages, just go to 18STRONG.com/TrentWearner or you can go to episode number 175, and that’s Wearner, spelled W-E-A-R-N-E-R. We will have links to the websites, to his book, as well as some of his other content and his social media profiles, so definitely go there. It’s kind of the hub of everything from this episode. Also, don’t forget to get your PGA Tour Mobile App to stay up on track of everything going on on the PGA Tour on the weekend, as well as your RAD Roller products from RADRoller.com.
All right, if you’re not in the private Facebook group, the 18STRONG Movement, we’d love to see you over there. Jump on in and join the conversation, and we will catch up with you next week with another great guest. Train hard, practice smart, and play better golf.
Announcer: Thanks for listening to the 18STRONG Podcast at www.18STRONG.com. And remember, train hard, practice smart, and play better golf.