I’m quitting golf

That’s it! I’ve had enough and am walking away from the game.

Played my first competition game of the year and it was a total disaster. It wasn’t just bad, it was downright awful. Here’s just some of what transpired.

– on the first hole I decided to lay-up off the tee (instead of bashing driver) only to hit my 5-iron straight into the trees. Lost ball.
– I three-putted the second (missed a short putt)
– Putt for birdie at the third went into the hole and then came out (the game was messing with me by now)
– Hit a shank on the 5th hole (one of the worst shots I’ve ever hit)
– My drives on 8 and 9 ended up under a bush. Dead!
– I missed the 10th green with a lob wedge. Bogey.
– Missed the 11th green with a wedge and then duffed the chip into the bunker. Double bogey.
– Finally played some decent golf only to bogey the 17th hole (after another bush ate my drive) and then lost a ball up the last.

To make matters worse, we were playing off the short tees. The course was a snack and I really should have destroyed it. In the end it destroyed me. My playing partners all played really well and they probably were wondering how on earth I could be playing on a low handicap. They certainly let me have it.

I drove home feeling totally frustrated and like I wasted five hours of my life.

So what went wrong?

Was it just a bad day?
Was I injured?
Was it the cored greens?

Nope. It was none of the above.

I played one of the worse games I’ve had in years because I was lazy. I lost respect for the game and I paid the penalty.

Because we played off the front tees I decided I wasn’t going to plan my shots. I decided that I was good enough to change a winning approach.

I stopped picking targets.
I didn’t commit to my routine.
My mind was wondering and not focused on where I wanted the ball to go.
I was trying to hit the ball too hard.
I decided to work on my swing.
I tried to show off.

And the game came out and bit me big time.

I was tempted not to write this post. It would have been easy to go away and hide from the embarrassment I now feel. Nobody really would have known and I could have moved on.

But I’ve decided to bare all and get to the bottom of this golf improvement thing. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that’s had a shocker in the last week or so. Onward.

I don’t think I can say things any better than Grayden. Here’s what he sent me over the weekend:

I’m amazed at how stuff of yours I thought I “got” a couple of years ago is only now just sinking in. For example this comment of yours about short putts:

“The biggest mistake I see (and one that took me ages to overcome) is trying to be careful and safe. You have to let the stroke go! You can’t control it. Your natural stroke will work far better than anything else. So you must learn to trust it when your out on the golf course”

Despite thinking I have been automatic and letting go with my putts for some time now I’ve just discovered I wasn’t really. Sure, I was with the long ones but have only just discovered I was still trying to be “careful” on the short ones. Its a truly bizarre feeling at first when you stop being careful with short putts. It feels insane – as if you’re just being reckless and not trying. But I can’t deny it: MORE PUTTS GO IN! Don’t take this the wrong way but lately I just keep surprising myself at how good at golf I actually am – and how MUCH I have been getting in my own way for SO long.

“but lately I just keep surprising myself at how good at golf I actually am”

Does that make sense to you? Do you understand what Grayden is saying here?

If not, you need to take stock and reapply yourself to the game. Because when you really learn to play the game (and get out of your own way) you will surprise yourself.

It’s sort of like magic but only better. While you may be surprised at how well you putt, chip and drive the ball you will also know WHY you were able to do it. So it’s not magic – it’s just you playing golf without interruptions and distractions. And that’s all playing good golf really is. Get rid of the interferrence (from your Pesky mind) and you’ll play better than you ever dreamed possible.

Grayden continues:

Cam, I don’t know how you can say what you say any clearer – we’re just so SLOW to really catch on, to really trust (then again, I guess you admit above that you were the same yourself!). We THINK we’re trusting and letting go but then something happens which shows us there’s a whole different level of “letting go” which we haven’t even explored yet. Its kind of depressing in a way – but exciting at the same time. On behalf of the many out there like me (I’m sure they’re there!) I want to thank you for what you do. Its fantastic. You have truly figured out how to play golf and now just have to endure the frustration and difficulty of getting whats in your head into ours! May you continue to keep plugging away. Millions of confused and frustrated golfers out there need what you are offering – even if they don’t realize it themselves yet.

Slow! I’m terribly slow at times. The reason I started writing this stuff was for my own good. The more I wrote and taught others the better I starting playing. After nearly 400 articles I’m slowly starting to get it sorted. But after the last game, I realise there’s still a lot to learn.

Grayden again:

To the rest of you I urge you to read and re-read the things on this site. Read them CAREFULLY and THINK about them. There’s little gems tucked away everywhere (there’s a heap of them just in the quote above). And then try and be HONEST with yourself about whether you are REALLY doing what is being said. When you finally experience the terror of actually “letting go” on a short putt in competition you’ll REALLY know what Cameron is talking about above.

And the big thing here I think is being honest with yourself. When things started going awry on Saturday I found lots of excuses.

– It’s only the first game of the year, it doesn’t matter
– The greens are cored, it’s not your fault
– The course is in bad shape
– It’s from the front tees, you’d be fine from the normal tees

And the excuses went on and on. But they’re all bullshit. I was making excuses for my own lack of commitment. Pesky took over and ruled the day. He also ruined it.

So if nothing else, this post is about learning to be honest with yourself. When you can admit that your attitude stinks and you’re not doing the best you can do then you’ll make progress. It might make you feel a little uncomfortable, but I can promise you it’ll make you feel better in the long run.

And finally. I’m not going to quit. Golf is addictive and I’m as fired up as ever to get back and really play golf. I’m going out in my next round and I’m going to do the stuff that I know works.

– Get 100% committed to the target. (Where do I want the ball to go?)
– Choose the club that has got the best chance of getting it there (and it’s not always the driver)
– Make the most free flowing and natural swing I can make.
– Repeat (this is the important step, you’ve gotta keep doing the same stuff over and over)

So that’s it. It really is quite simple but it’s also simple not to do. And because it’s easy to avoid most of us get easily distracted and end up playing some random game that’s a cross between golf, hockey and an internal yelling match. If you’re not careful your golf will be a waste of time. If you’re not really careful, you’ll waste your best golfing years.

I would love to hear your feedback.

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5 Comments

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply January 9, 2012

    Cam – thanks for having the guts to post that. You don’t know how much it has helped – in all sorts of ways. When we can look ourselves in the eye we move forward. When we find the truth too uncomfortable and look away we are doomed to stay stuck in the same place.

    “If you’re not really careful, you’ll waste your best golfing years….”

    I realise now that’s exactly what I’ve done. Doesn’t mean the rest of you young guys / girls have to though. You have a unique opportunity through this web site to break free from the stranglehold that traditional golf instruction has on millions of people. It makes them scared and insecure and then FEEDS that insecurity for years and years. I would venture to say that most golfers NEVER break free of this their whole lives (at least I got to eventually!) But there IS a better way – and its right here if you’ll look.

  • Steady

    Reply Reply January 9, 2012

    Hi Cam,
    great post. Committment to routine, thinking about your shot before you take your first step not after, self doubt, what if and etc all the distractions that interfere and take away our”TRUE SELF”from playing magical golf.
    I’ve done it that often in practice rounds and rarely in comp games.
    Why?
    because when the rubber hits the road I tried to improve on what I had, when all I had to do is REPEAT what I had done in my practice rounds.
    Thank God Grayden and Lukey are starting to see what is possible.
    It pretty much comes down to trust and repeat even when you aren’t playing your best, as yor routine is your staff and rod. It is a safety net from self imploding.
    My last 4 rounds have been below average because I was still thinking and doubting my judement on critical shots. From now on I’ll allow my true self to play the desired shot not pesky.
    I hope this helps.
    Cheers Steady.

  • Steady

    Reply Reply January 10, 2012

    Hi all,
    played comp today 34 points 1 swipe and 4 one pinters.
    All day I just got behind the ball, checked my lie, picked my club and told my self what i waanted tgo hit and hit it.
    Worked well and was happy the way I played.
    No reactions or negative spin.
    Only way to play.
    Ta Steady

  • Lukey

    Reply Reply January 10, 2012

    Cam
    I agree with the gents above and concur that it took considerable guts to write this post.What I found helpful from this it is not to dissimilar to my current experiences so I was able to get a lot from it.The same can be said of Graydens last post because I got a bit out of that as well.So whilst it would be great to hear everyone was playing really well we must also accept we will get it wrong occasionally.Went out in my lunch break today and played half a dozen holes did not worry about score did not worry about anything really “just played golf”.
    Cheers Lukey

  • jean brown

    Reply Reply February 8, 2014

    I will continue to play golf since I aim to play in a pro-am soon with either Wie or Gulbis or Creamer as my coach says I am ready to play and I am eager to teach these pros a thing or two…

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