Safe is the worst thing you can do

Dear golfer,

I wrote yesterday about the problems with being safe while playing, explaining that golfers who try and be careful and dainty with their driver will never hit the ball as far as they like. I think it’s a big problem. As adults, many attempt to maneuver to club in what they think is correct. They are careful, making sure that they don’t break any rules and do everything correctly…this is playing safe and will ruin your score.

Playing safe does not mean that you can’t play conservatively. I’m not encouraging you to take driver on every hole and hit it as far as you can (although it would be fun, why not try it once?). A conservative approach does not mean you over think the situation and make a tight and ugly swing. You still must let it flow.

Many golfers would score far better if they did play a 5 iron from each tee and make the most free flowing, natural and fun swing they could. This is playing conservatively…but you’re not being safe! I have been guilty confusing a conservative strategy (which is fine) with being safe (which is not).

Playing safe is too left brained. You spend your time more worried about form and style. Right ‘brainers’, those that play the game, get on with things and will usually beat the socks off those that don’t. Better still, right ‘brainers’ have more fun, play more quickly, use less energy and are generally more fun to play with. No one really likes anyone that is slow, boring, doesn’t talk and spends too much time in the trees.

Being safe is the worst thing that you can do with your golf game. You inhibit the learning process. The other day I was teaching an analytical client. He was holding on for dear life a million technical ideas. His swing was tight and powerless. His game lacked flow and he resembled someone walking on egg shells. I spent an hour trying to break his habits and get him to stop being safe.

Then the magic happened…

He let go. His face relaxed, he started moving gracefully (I like to say he danced) and best of all his golf swing improved. Club head speed picked up and the sound of impact was a “crack”, rather than a dull thud. For a moment he was playing golf, he wasn’t being safe and he was learning.

This golfer had spent 20 years reading, studying and practicing the ‘perfect’ golf swing. I doubt that in that time he ever experienced a moment like it. And it only happened when he stopped trying, stopped being safe. So I encourage you to break free from playing safe. Forget about the rules and regulations that are holding you back and start learning, having fun and making monumental improvements.

Below I have listed a few ideas to get you started;

  • play a round with only one club
  • play cross country
  • hit your driver the shortest possible distance while still making a full swing
  • hit balls with your opposite hand
  • stop caring and trying
  • stop reading instructional tips and quick fixes
  • learn to go automatic
  • have a lesson with me 🙂

If you stop learning and having fun you’ll never get the most out of your golf game. Being safe is not playing golf. You don’t learn and you don’t improve. It’s the worst thing you can do.

Be daring, bite the bullet and let go. You’ll have fun and won’t be disappointed. I promise 🙂

Good golfing,

Cameron Strachan

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  • col

    Reply Reply February 1, 2008

    hello cameron pardon my typing but mate ide just like to say that i have just read all the emails keep em up.
    mate i would really like to get one of your dvds just on the iron game and driver.
    as i am working in sydney as acarpenter and now i will have every second weekend to improve my game on the real stuff as in lucious grass greens,
    instead of oily sand greens on what i used to play on most of my adult life, in peakhill the rural town ship in central western nsw.
    so mate if you could steer me on the right path so i can kick some city butt
    on the courses would be greatly appreciated
    yours in golf col

  • Adam

    Reply Reply September 17, 2015

    Playing safe I think takes too much effort. After a round of golf you should feel refreshed, not stressed out and frustrated.

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