Improvement is not always obvious

Dear Golfer,

I think improving at golf can be difficult because the path to do so is not always obvious. In fact, I believe if you want to reach a higher level of play you need to take counter intuitive steps. These steps are not obvious and actually go against traditional concepts. This approach can feel uncomfortable and requires a shift in mindset. Uncomfortable – yes. Beneficial – YES!

I have taken my golf game to new levels by stepping outside the square and thinking a little differently. Below are some of my key thoughts.

Work on Swing versus Leave Swing Alone

I made my biggest breakthrough when I stopped trying to fix my golf swing. Definitely not an obvious step but one that has allowed me to reinvent my golf game

Try Hard versus Trying Less

It sounds obvious to try hard and put in a huge effort. It seems like the right thing to do. By trying less I freed up my mind and my golf swing. Trying hard fails.

Focus On Target versus Focusing On Nothing

I stopped trying to visualise on the target. By not picking a target or reading greens precisely I have reduced tension and self-doubt. Instead I look at where I want to hit the ball and hit it there.

Build A Perfect Swing versus Near Enough Is Good Enough

I have long since given up on striving for the perfect golf swing. I now put up with what I’ve got. The funny thing is that I now swing the golf club better than ever. Funny game really.

Practice Hard versus Practicing Less

As hard as it may be to believe, I actually don’t practice anymore. Practicing too hard or too much leads to self-doubt and a desire to make unnecessary changes. By learning to automate your natural swing there is no need to practice that much. Save your energy for playing – it’s more fun!

Play With Your Head (think) versus Play With Your Heart (don’t think)

Adults like to think and over analyse. Again, this seems like the right thing to do. If you can think less and restore a sense of childlikeness you’ll play better. I guarantee it!

Quick Fixes versus Long Term Improvement

It’s very tempting to search for the quick fix and instant results. Golf magazines do very well by satisfying this urge. By forgetting about instant glorification and focusing on real results with a long term mindset I continue to get better with each game. I think golfers over estimate what they can do in the short term and drastically under estimate what they’re capable of long term.

Be Good At Everything versus Excel At One

Trying to perfect each part of your game seems like the right thing to do. Unfortunately I don’t think this is possible. I believe you’ll save yourself time and energy by working around your faults and weaknesses and playing to your strengths.

Shoot A good Score versus Learning From Each Round

We would all like to shoot a great round each time we play. This would be nice but it’s just not going to happen. If you strive to learn from each game you play you’ll maximise your chances of playing well today and into the future. This is the long-term thing again.


I don’t expect all golfers to believe in this approach (I’m not aiming at all golfers) but if you’ve been struggling with your game and finding golf improvement difficult, then it could be something worth considering.

Good golfing,

Cameron Strachan

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  • Andrew

    Reply Reply February 19, 2008

    My biggest hurdle has been overcoming my propensity to try and fix perceived problems I have found curiosity and observation skills are at the core of efficient problem-solving and long-term learning. William Crain – Noted psychology professor, “You simulate mental development by increasing curiosity and powers of observation.” Unfortunately because learning and change are synonymous some believe change requires trying to fix poor outcomes, or trying to “get it right.” But studies show that both these approaches
    to learning actually slows down progress. Fixing isn’t learning, and trying to get it right creates the kind of stress that fragments progress.

  • Cameron Strachan

    Reply Reply February 20, 2008

    Hi Andrew,

    I like your posts. Entertaining and insightful. Keep them coming!



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