Golfer ready to go against the status quo

I’m convinced if you want to play better golf you’ve gotta go against the grain a little. This doesn’t mean you’ve got to do something crazy, but you might need to step things up a little. If things make you feel a tad uneasy then that’s probably a good sign you’re on the right track.

Take the below comments from Luke. His message is profound and might be enough for you to step up as well.

Recently I even took a lesson – my ‘pro’ watched me hit 5 or 10 shots and sent me off to practice with some drill that had me swinging like an octopus falling out of a tree. I’ve read countless instruction books, internet forums etc and have tried so many ‘techniques’ and now it’s just horrible.

I don’t feel like I’ve hit a solid shot in 2 years. I’m hitting everything so short and crooked. Even when I’ve played reasonably well I’ve felt it’s been down to luck and just hitting safe little half shots to kind of get me round. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to have a crisp shot rip off the face and take off like a bullet like I used to do. I’ve practiced like crazy all winter, the first single medal is 2 weeks away and I am nowhere. I’ve even stopped practicing now because I dread going to the driving range. All the joy has gone.

A week or so ago I decided I’d had enough of this. Then I watched Bubba win the masters and thought if he can win a major swinging like that, then I can easily get back to being something like a half decent club golfer swinging the way I did.

I started to really think about all my old friends who are now extremely good golfers and came to the realisation that none of them have taken a lesson in their life and most of them have no working knowledge of the golf swing. Truth is, they are maybe just a little more talented than me, fell in to good technique when they were young, played a lot of golf growing up and always had confidence and belief in their way.

I picked up a club in the house yesterday and put my ugly old strong grip on it and it felt so good. Back at work this morning and I’m messing around on the net and I find your blog. And now my mind is made up and I’m going to make a commitment. I’m going to the golf course tonight and I’m going back to my old method of grip it and rip it, I’m going to accept bad shots and bad rounds and the consequences be damned. I’m going to bin everything I’ve ‘learned’ in the last two years. I’m never going to listen to idiots going on about technique again. I’m never going to doubt my method again. I’m going to blow everyone away next time I hit a 70 yard hook around a line of trees and stick it on the green. I’m going to laugh when I rip a drive 290 yards in to the wrong fairway. Most importantly I’m never going to listen to the naysayers and life’s losers again, the ones that’ll happily tell you you’ll never be any good doing it like that.

I see it now – it’s all about perception. If you think you’re rubbish, you probably will be. If you think you can become one of the best golfers in your club with what you have, you might well just do it. If Bubba keeps ignoring the idiots drawing lines on the slow motion vids, he’ll probably win more majors. If Pete Kostis gets to him however, it’s probably all over for him.

My strong advice here is to read his comments again, there’s some really powerful stuff in there. His words are drooling passion and will push him on a road of discovery, learning and enjoyment. I hope they inspire you to do the same.

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  • Gregor

    Reply Reply April 17, 2012

    It’s all perception. The pros are better so their offline is better than ours, but I’m sure they are rarely perfect. When you see that they’ve had 20 putts in a round that isn’t because they’ve hit 18 greens. It’s because they missed them! They just accept it and get on with it. They hit balls all day every day and accept bad shots. We don’t practice for years and can’t accept a single bad shot in a round. It’s crazy. We all want to play better but we have to start with what we’ve got and then just get on with it. It really doesn’t make sense, but you have to trust it.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply April 17, 2012

      Gregor: Thanks for posting. The pros are far from perfect and the best players understand that you can’t be perfect. A perfectionist mindset will drive any golfer crazy. The other point is that taking this mindset to the course is a process – you’ve gotta keep doing it over and over. It’s not an event, something you do once and have forever. Sadly, most golfers treat it as such and give up when they hit a poor shot or have a bad round. Shame, because they’re very close to a real breakthrough.

  • Lukey

    Reply Reply April 17, 2012

    Today I had six holes and decided that I would einstein first then set up to the ball with a slightly closed stance (feels natural to me)and swing without any thought whatsoever as to where it would finish.The results were quite surprising as I feel of late I had actually been trying to guide the ball to the target.As for the gent above I know the feeling of seeing the pros only to slide further into the abyss.Long live auto golf.
    Cheers Lukey

  • Luke

    Reply Reply February 25, 2013

    Hi Cameron,

    It’s been nearly a year since I posted the above and so I thought I would give you an update – it’s certainly been an interesting year. Firstly, I’m happy to say that I stayed good on my vow of throwing technique out the window and staying away from all the internet forums and instructional rubbish. I did indeed go out and rip it the way I promised and immediately things began to turn around for me. I hit the ball a lot better and the game was very quickly fun again. I won a pairs competition with my Dad in the summer and although I didn’t perform exceptionally in the singles comps or get my handicap reduced, I did perform okay in them and on the whole it felt good just to feel like I could compete again, hit some good shots and generally not look like I’d never played the game in my life! However, it’s in the past few months over the winter off-season that things have really accelerated. Let me share a few of my thoughts.

    Firstly, although I was no longer focused on technique and was hitting the ball better, I realised that I was still spending half of my life obsessing about the game, mulling over my latest round, being too results orientated and generally still being a bit miserable about something that was supposed to be fun. In short, though I had stopped with all the swing analysis, I was still obsessing about finding ways to improve and had started to go down some other paths. In particular I was focussing very hard on developing a pre-shot routine and thinking the right way on the golf course (via the Bob Rotella method). I began to fall in to the other major trap of the modern golf industry – I was trying to think myself to a better game. On top of this I was trying to micro-manage every aspect of my game and my preparation like a professional does and generally spending way too much time worrying about nothing. Though I was playing a lot better than when I was trying to change my swing, I began to realise I still wasn’t there yet – my game was still full of ‘try’ and my sense of well being was still way too dependent on my results. In its own way, this approach had started to become just as constricting as the technical over-analysis approach. Fortunately some cool things were happening away from the golf course. I met a girl and she has become a huge part of my life. We are currently looking for somewhere to live together. I became an uncle for the first time. Two of my best friends got married and I was asked to be best man. I also started to drift back to some of my other fun pass-times and hobbies that had gotten lost during my golfing journey, such as collecting and making music. Without getting all preachy and dramatic about discovering some new found meaning and respect for life (!), all this meant that golf began to take a bit of a backseat. I was still playing as often as I could but when I wasn’t at the golf course, my spare time was no longer consumed with thoughts of golf. Basically, I got a life. And then something amazing began to happen. I was turning up for my once weekly Saturday game (all that can be done in a British winter!) and I started playing the best golf of my life. The last few months I have consistently week to week played some brilliant golf. My level has dropped slightly for the odd round, but only slightly and on those days I was still able to compete and get something out of the round. Everyone I’ve played against has been showering me with similar compliments, i.e. “I’ll be watching out for you this season”, “Your current handicap is a joke”, “Where the hell have you been?!” etc etc. There is no glaring weakness in my game – every department has looked good at times. Driving, irons, short game, putting. It’s all there.

    Here’s what I think has happened. I no longer have a system. I don’t think about my swing. I just decide what I want to do and hit it. I don’t have a set pre-shot routine. I just get to the ball and do whatever the next shot calls for. Sometimes I have 3 or 4 practice swings to get a feel. Sometimes I have none. Sometimes I’m thinking about the programme I watched on TV last night. Sometimes I’m thinking about where I want to hit it. Sometimes I’m still talking to a playing partner when I take the club back. Sometimes I even fart! I don’t try and control my thoughts any more. I just accept the good and the bad and get on with it. There is no ‘try’ in my game anymore, I just ‘do’ and if it goes wrong as it sometimes does and always will in such a fickle game, then so be it. I don’t care whether people think I’m a good player or a bad player. I have no targets anymore. I’m not bothered about my score. I’m not trying to improve. I don’t spend days at work plotting on ways to improve my game and trawling the internet for golfing secrets or stories of amazing improvement. The night before a game, I’m not putting up and down the living room for three hours and generally dreading the thought that I might play badly the next day. I’ve filled my life with other things and yet I’m loving golf more than I have for years. But I’ve found a way to leave it alone, to let it be. I’m looking forward to having a good season but if I don’t, then it’ll be okay. I don’t play this game for a living and there are other more important things in life. One thing I have noticed is that all of the best golfers at our club almost without exception also seem to be the most content, relaxed, confident and sociable. They don’t live at the driving range. They just play when they feel like it. You never catch them walking around scowling or angry about their form or their latest round. They just do what they do and are never worried about trying to prove anything or impress anyone.

    So, perhaps this is a bit of a contradiction to everything I’ve just said, but I do have some targets for my golfing year and I think you’ll like them. They are:

    • To not bother practicing and just play golf when it’s time to play golf. When my round is done, it’s done.
    • To continue to not care about results, improvement, handicap etc…
    • To continue to realise that golf is just a game that I play in my spare time. It’s not my job. My job is boring so why make golf the same way?
    • To continue not to have any expectation at all. It would be easy to let my current form go to my head and begin to expect magic to happen this year. I’ve learnt enough now however to realise that if I did that, things would likely go sideways again. The pressure would be back on and I would be trying again. The golfing journey never ends. Form is never permanent. You’ll never get to a point where it will be set in stone that you’ll be a good golfer forevermore. There’s always another day. Just play.
    • Enjoy it. That’s the point right?

    I realise that not everything here fits exactly with the minor details of your system for automatic golf but it was your blog that got me started on this path and you are as close as I have found to a coach who actually stands up and delivers what I have come to believe is the true secret of golf. And if my story can help just 1 hapless, confused golfer, then I’ll be happy. There are many people who claim to have found a secret to golf. Thousands of people still agonise over what Hogan’s secret may have been to cite just one example, but I have stumbled on my own secret. It’s not one the golfing industry would like in any way at all and it’s one that many people may find hard to accept and implement as it goes against everything we are taught, i.e. that to get something we must try really hard, make big sacrifices, beat ourselves up and be miserable when we fail. But you must put all that to one side and have the courage to let go, because my secret is this:

    “The easiest way to be good at golf is to not give a sh*t”.

    That’s it. Happy golfing everyone…

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply February 26, 2013

      Awesome Luke, just brilliant. Let me get back to you with a detailed response that this deserves…

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