Ask a Pro: PGA Professional Mike Giordani
When we wanted to continue our Ask a Pro series, we knew after chatting with club fitter Jeff O’Neil a PGA Professional had to be next.
Mike takes a really cool and innovative approach to teaching, so because of that we knew he would be the perfect person to talk to about improving your game, both on the physical and mental side.
So, let’s get chatting with Mike.
Ask A Pro: PGA Instructor
Breaking Eighty: What’s your number one key for success playing golf?
Mike Giordani: Successful golfers do a countless number of things really well.
A general observation I can make is that they keep things very simple. They have a streamlined approach and an economy of motion that has been developed over years and years of making mistakes and learning from their experiences.
Breaking Eighty: How important is the mental game? Do you think it is not focused on enough?
Mike Giordani: The mental side of golf is very important and typically it develops over time with experience.
Mentally sharp golfers can speed up the improvement process by learning from everything around them. Every round and every shot creates a situation where something can be learned.
Typically successful people are characterized by their mental attributes. They have patience, discipline and pay attention to detail among others.
Developing these traits should be the goal of every golfer but just like in life many never develop these skills and this can impede their athletic development in the same way it can limit them socially and professionally.
Breaking Eighty: How important are taking lessons or having a swing evaluation?
Mike Giordani: It depends on what the golfer’s goals are. For the golfer who wants to improve; instruction is an important piece of the puzzle.
A student can accelerate their learning and gain years of experience by taking lessons.
Personally I put a student through an evaluation before any lessons are taken because it gives me and the student the ability to lay out expectations, better understand the game improvement process and make a serious commitment to the game plan we develop.
Breaking Eighty: What can a golfer do to improve their game in the off season?
Mike Giordani: Golfers should look at the off season as a great time to improve their swing, their fitness, their mental game and their equipment.
Find a professional. Go through an evaluation. Construct a game plan and work with your instructor, trainer or club fitter to execute your plan.
Breaking Eighty: Blue Brain Golf Academy focuses on both mind and body for optimal performance, what made you decide to take that approach?
Mike Giordani: When I was in middle school I remember playing a round of golf that was unlike any I had ever played. I shot 8 strokes better than my best and the funny thing was I couldn’t remember anything about the round.
It was a complete blur. After the round I told everyone about my experience and they all said I was in the “zone”. This sparked a real desire to better understand the “zone” in hopes of reaching it again some day.
When I went to college in North Carolina I realized that good golfers like me were a dime a dozen. There were 300 kids on campus with a handicap lower than five and they all had great swings.
I quickly realized that hitting balls wasn’t the only thing I needed to do to improve and a golfer is much more than just a swing.
To find a better game I started working on my swing with a PGA professional. I started a workout routine that got me up early every morning. I went through a custom club fitting and I even worked with a sports psychologist. I called my all encompassing approach Fusion Training.
While in college I took a public speaking class and one of my assignments was to deliver an informative speech on a topic of my choice. I decided to deliver the speech on a topic that I found very interesting and practiced regularly. The topic I chose was visualization.
While researching I discovered that there is a part of the brain called the occipital lobe that translates information taken in through the eyes to the rest of the body.
I learned that when an athlete is going through a pre-shot routine this part of their brain is very active but when the athlete is about to pull the trigger, hit the shot or throw the ball this part of the brain can do one of two things.
The occipital lobe of an average athlete remains active constantly analyzing old data and taking in new information while the occipital the lobe of an elite athlete goes numb, shut’s off and get’s out of the way.
After reading more on the topic I learned that when brain activity levels are measured they are displayed using different colors. Blue signifies low levels of activity and this is when I started using the phrase “blue brain state of mind” as a way to better define my middle school experience.
Growing up I didn’t have a method and while I was dedicated and I hit a lot of balls I feel like I was just going through the motions. I thought that the only way to get better was to hit balls and play as much as humanly possible…I was wrong!
Blue Brain Golf was developed out of my experience as a golfer and my desire to find the blue brain state of mind again. The Blue Brain Golf Academy was created so that I could introduce golfers to a better learning experience.
All of my students start by going through a game evaluation after which I put together a custom game plan. My plans revolve around my philosophy of fusion training and every student is encouraged to find their blue brain state of mind a.k.a. “the zone” by following a custom plan created to address their mental, physical and technological needs.
Breaking Eighty: What is the best way to practice? Going to the range, hitting into a net in the yard, etc.
Mike Giordani: Practice makes perfect but there is no such thing as perfect practice.
Many of my students believe the only way to practice is at a driving range or on a golf course and that’s just not true. Recently, I developed a club that students can use at their local park or even in their back yard to work on their ball striking skills.
I created the club because many of my students work with me on a weekly basis and find it difficult to get to the range often enough between lessons. Using my club, student’s are able to get more swings in between lessons and find improvement faster.
As long as you practice with a purpose swinging in your living room can be more productive than hitting balls at the driving range. To bring more purpose to your practice you should get into a series of lessons with a PGA professional.
Breaking Eighty: What’s your favorite part of being a pro?
Mike Giordani: I really enjoy being around golfers and I’m lucky to be able to make my living in an industry that allows me to do what I love. I enjoy a challenge and today the golf industry has plenty.
The game isn’t growing due to issues like pace of play, the expensive nature of the game and its difficulty. Where there are challenges there are opportunities, and I feel like I can really contribute to the good of the game by developing thoughtful solutions to these problems.
Breaking Eighty: What makes a great student?
Mike Giordani: The most important characteristic a student needs is patience.
With patience a student can stick around the game long enough to gain the experience that will translate into knowledge, physical ability, mental strength and eventually lower scores. Students with patience understand that sometimes you need to take one step back to take two steps forward.
Breaking Eighty: What PGA golfer has a swing you love? What do you love about it?
Mike Giordani: Hunter Mahan, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Jason Day are all great golfers who know how to control the face of the club throughout the swing and have a simple repeatable motion.