Fancy Fails

It’s good to be back after a short spell. I’ve used the break to spend some time thinking about my game and what I’d like to achieve. The upshot of my thinking is that I’ve been working too many hours and not doing enough I’ve what I really enjoy doing.

And that is to get out and play golf. Hopefully I can live up to my conviction and play a little bit more and turn my computer off when it really doesn’t need to be on. Time will tell.

The last two weeks I’ve been playing a bit with the young guns around my club. They remind me a lot about how I used to be. Looking for the perfect shot, practising heaps and generally expecting to play well all of the time.

They’re also looking for the fancy tip or swing secret to find their best game. In fact, they’re always searching, not content to put up with what they’ve got and truly enjoy their game.

This got me thinking about my own game. If I’m truly honest my swing skills haven’t changed that much over the journey. The shots I can play today are exactly the same as I could play 10 years ago. There’s absolutely nothing I can do today that I couldn’t do last century.

The big difference today is I can more often than not hit the right shot at the right time. I have minimised the chances of stuffing up. I can play under pressure and don’t get distracted by all the noise.

Here’s the thing.

Great golf requires you to find your shot and keep doing it time after time. It’s almost boring because you’re no longer looking for the secret or magical swing tip. You turn up and play the shot (or shots) you know you can hit.

The young guns were almost surprised at how I play. They were expecting me to have some fancy way of approaching the game and seemed disappointed when I told them otherwise. Fancy fails. Learn to master your way first and then, and only then, should you look elsewhere.

After years of searching for “my way” I’ve still got lots to learn and I’m not about to change anytime soon.

My main point is this. If you’ve been playing for more than a few years the chances are it’s unlikely you’re going to suddenly start hitting the ball better than you do now. You’ve reached your potential, there’s no more magic to be found. Your real success is in learning how to find your real game and then bringing that game to the course. There’s nothing much else you can do.

Enjoy what you’ve got because it really isn’t that bad.

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7 Comments

  • Steady

    Reply Reply July 27, 2010

    Good post Cam,
    I started to read again Mind Swings by Masters and Burns.
    Having come this far in the my game approach to Golf,
    there has been one element that has been missing.
    That being the einstein factor.
    The Einstien factor makes or breaks our game. Play the shot that YOU are
    comfortable playing.
    Cameron said “The big difference today is I can more often than not hit the right shot at the right time. I have minimised the chances of stuffing up. I can play under pressure and don’t get distracted by all the noise. ”
    Golf I have learnt is about the consequenses of your misses and your ability to
    recover from your misses. ( not taliking about your wife!).
    All Enisteining/Routine ( Counting singing) does is it allows you to play by making the most of what you have and weighing the odds of success in your favour.
    That’s my 2 cents worth.
    Cheers Steady
    PS BTW had 32 points with 2 wipes and 6 one pointers. Getting closeer.

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply July 27, 2010

    “My main point is this. If you’ve been playing for more than a few years the chances are it’s unlikely you’re going to suddenly start hitting the ball better than you do now. …”

    Sobering but true. Understanding this makes us put our focus where it needs to be instead of striving after wind. Thanks Cameron. I needed to hear that!

  • Gregor McCulloch

    Reply Reply July 27, 2010

    ‘You turn up and play the shot (or shots) you know you can hit.’

    Play at a level that you can sustain for the whole round. That’s what I have been trying to do lately. No flashes of brilliance followed by failed attempts at impossible shots. If that means going round a bunker for a bogey instead of a possible disaster trying to go over, then that’s what you do. Play safe shots into safe positions to avoid the hazards and if necessary don’t even try to get on the green if it means flirting with danger. And by that I mean danger for your skill level and confidence in the shot.

    I played like that over 3 rounds last weekend and while I didn’t record amazing scores, I also didn’t have amazingly bad scores either. It takes a lot of patience though and you’ve got to be prepared to take a bit of stick from playing partners, but when you win 3 out of 3 games playing this way, who cares

    What I did learn most las tweekend was that I don’t always take into account all the conditions of the shot. As the golf went on I took a little more time to assess the shot and then when all that was done it was straight into my automatic routine with no worries.

    ‘I can more often than not hit the right shot at the right time. I have minimised the chances of stuffing up’ – Cameron, I think that says it all. Not stuffing up any shots compared to stuffing up a few per round. How many people, me included, would love to play rounds without the usual disaster hole that’s ruined their score.

    Gregor

  • Cameron

    Reply Reply July 28, 2010

    Hi Guys, I get emails from people everyday that are frustrated with stuffing up 1, 2 or 3 holes per day. Hopefully this post helps them a little.

    I played on Sunday with a guy who was all over the place early in his round. But he kept getting lucky and recovering from poor shots. After 5 holes he was killing it – well under his handicap.

    I saw the problem early – he was hitting the wrong shot for his game and not playing within his potential. I mentioned to another guy that our lucky friend would not keep this up. that he was sure to blow up.

    Sure enough, on the 6th hole he couldn’t recover from a poor drive – he instantly got frustrated, duffed a chip and made a triple bogey. Now flustered he play a dumb shot on the 7th and made a double bogey.

    Within the space of two holes he lost the plot. The 8th and 9th were not good either and by this time he was not much fun to be around.

    The point is this: He wasn’t playing his game – not once and when luck finally caught up with him he had no idea what had gone wrong. He felt like the world was against him.

    Learn to play your shots and you’ll almost never choke and have those blow up holes.

  • Tim Hardham

    Reply Reply July 30, 2010

    Great post here Cam. From personal experience I often find it hard (and I’m sure many others will agree) to shy away from playing the heroic shot or a shot I beleive I should be able to play. I suppose it stems from the thrill that we golfer’s attain from hitting that miracle shot, a joy that often results in us falling into the trap of trying to play above our skill level over and over. I will be ensuring that I focus on playing MY GAME in future rounds, making sure I only play shots that I know 100% that I can play.

  • Cameron

    Reply Reply July 31, 2010

    @ Tim: Often ego gets in the way. Your ego wants to hit the miracle shot. This is a lesson that can’t be rushed. I feel it takes time.

  • Briana Espinoza

    Reply Reply December 24, 2010

    “My main point is this. If you’ve been playing for more than a few years the chances are it’s unlikely you’re going to suddenly start hitting the ball better than you do now. …” Sobering but true. Understanding this makes us put our focus where it needs to be instead of striving after wind. Thanks Cameron. I needed to hear that!

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