Shoot lower scores!

Here’s a thought provoking interview with Geoff Ogilvy. The bit I like the best is this:

Peter Fowler, an outstanding Australian golfer who now plays the European Senior Tour, phoned the great Peter Thomson for advice in the early 1980s. Fowler was struggling to break through, and he asked the five-time British Open champion if he had any insight on what to do to get better. With barely a pause, Thomson said, “Shoot lower scores,” and hung up. Fowler was crestfallen at first, but then he started to see the genius in the great Thomson’s words. It was as if Thomson were saying, “There’s a ball and a hole. Stop getting in your own way. Stop making it so hard. Get on with it. Just do better.”

I like it because the instruction is so simple, yet profound. Thomson’s words force you to ask, “What the hell do I need to do to get better?”. You’re unlikely going to default onto some swing mechanic or tip. You might just start focusing on your objective of each shot, choose a club that will do the job and then walk in a hit the ball. It’s at this point you’ll really find out how good you can be.

When I’m chatting to a frustrated golfer I’ll always encourage him/her to simplify. To think less, not more. Almost always improvement will be found when you take things away, rather than adding to an already complex game. This is why the snippet above appealed so much to me. I love this kinda coaching/mentoring.

Sadly, this type of coaching is rare. Most instructors will tell you too many things and get you thinking too much. And the golfer is too ready to accept ALL the advice.

Keep it simple has become a popular catch cry but many miss the mark because they can’t stop their mental wheels from turning. From here they trip over themselves as they attempt to get the ball from point A to Point B.

Asking profound questions is the way forward. One of my favourites is “Where do I want the ball to go?” and then being aware of the first answer that comes to you and being brave enough to go for it.

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5 Comments

  • Adam

    Reply Reply September 13, 2015

    Makes sense. You need a defined goal on each shot. Figure out how to play the hole, then swing automatically. And know where to miss. If you wish to improve score, try to shoot a lower score. Once you have the goal, “where do I want this to end up?”, you can then walk in and swing freely. I think that swinging freely is key to making a least a decent attempt. Of course, mishits are part of the game, but at least when you swing freely, you have a better chance of hitting better shots more often.

    Another thing is I think people need to stick with this. They don’t need to go around and try everything. No wonder they are inconsistent! Instead of doing the same thing, they keep doing something different. Stick with one thing, which would be, in my opinion, look, choose, walk in, go.

    Though, consistency isn’t always guaranteed. You’re going to have bad days, and good days. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t do what you want it to do. But you have to deal with it. Unless you play golf for a living, don’t stress too much over a 78 if you usually shoot a 71.

    And practice the short game. It’s half of the game. Think of a par 4. You hit driver, and an iron. That’s two shots. Say you miss the green, or you first putt. That’s three. Now you have to make a putt for par. If you make it, it’s par. That up and down, or those two putts, is half the hole. 2 shots, one off the tee, and the iron; and two around or on the green. So practice the short game with as much effort as you do your long game. Don’t forget to swing freely even on these shots.

    I believe that if you swing freely, and use your common sense on every shot, choose where you’re going, and try to shoot the lowest score, you’re on your way.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply September 17, 2015

    Ignore my first comment. I was tired and a little too happy lol.

    I agree with Peter Thompson. Shoot lower scores. Of course, there comes a time when you reach a roadblock. That’s when you need to maybe improve your ball striking or putting or whatever it may be. So how would you, Cameron, go about this? Maybe a swing change? Playing more golf?

  • Adam

    Reply Reply September 17, 2015

    And if you would please delete my first comment.

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