Mission Impossible: 7 tips to train like a U.S. Navy SEAL

Saturday August 12th, 2017
Improve your golf game with tips from a Navy SEAL.
James Patrick

Got a lower score in your crosshairs? One Navy SEAL marskman has some remarkably accurate ideas about how to, well, take dead aim.

As an instructor, I pride myself on being pretty damn tough. Since 2004, when I cofounded the Titleist Performance Institute, more than 18,000 golf, fitness and medical professionals from 62 countries have been certified at our Southern California teaching facility. Golfers from every tour rely on our methods to give them an edge on the competition.

That grit doesn’t come without some butt-kicking. But a chance encounter with 47-year-old retired Navy SEAL Chris Sajnog proved that where executing under fire is concerned, I’ve strictly been a "non-qual." When the Naval Special Warfare Command (WARCOM) needed someone to create their sniper-training program, hey looked to one man: "Snowman" Sajnog (pronounced sigh-nog). Turns out that his tough-as-nails methods of focus and attack subtly and instructively overlap with performance tactics used, often instinctively, by the world’s best golfers.

Chris has written the book—several, actually, including two Amazon bestsellers—on how to handle firearms, and after reading his latest, Navy SEAL Shooting, I was blown away by the parallels between how elite SEAL Teams prepare for battle and what I’ve seen in the past 25 years working with Tour pros. After all, both groups train on ranges, and success often comes down to who can pull the trigger—and pull off a precisely accurate shot—under pressure. What follows is an adaptation of Chris’s New Rules of Marksmanship training system. It represents a paradigm shift in how to practice, so put down your clubs for a second, pull up your boots—and take your shooting (bullets or balls) to the next level.

Train Like a Navy SEAL Tip #1: Fortify your focus

Train Like a Navy SEAL Tip #2: Map a route

Train Like a Navy SEAL Tip #3: Play the aim game

Train Like a Navy SEAL Tip #4: Target shop

Train Like a Navy SEAL Tip #5: Run dry

Train Like a Navy SEAL Tip #6: Practice deliberately

Train Like a Navy SEAL Tip #7: Have an audience

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