[Special] A super golf lesson for today

This is a combined Walking With Koda and blog post today. It’s a super golf lesson and a must for anyone who wants to get better perspective and more from Automatic Golf. Here’s the story:

I have received quite a bit of correspondence over the last few months from golfers struggling with their game. Their stories are always quite similar:

1. They implement Automatic Golf principles into their game.

2. They get results most notably, more enjoyment, a moment of inspiration, a spark.

3. They hit a roadblock. They lose the plot and fall off the wagon.

I have termed this Steady’s Dilemma and you can read about that here. But one blog post isn’t going to change the world. It’s a continual process (not an event) and more is needed.

Sanj got off to a flying start, but then struggled. We have been going back and forwards via email and this post came about because of it. But I still need to go deeper and this morning I recorded this golf podcast (see below).

(link: Golfing perspective)

On the way back home I called Scott Barrow. Scott is my coach and the man always has something interesting and insightful to say. We were discussing performance slumps and how to avoid those horrible blow up holes. Then we spoke about the need for the pupils to go deeper, to become aware of their own thoughts/feelings/emotions and not to become too relient on the coach. Self-awareness is important and many of us are playing blind. Almost like we’re asleep at the wheel.

Finally, we talked about the need to stick with the process and appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly.

Then Scott introduced some magic:

Golf is a bit like The Tour De France. A rider who is trying to win can’t ride flat out each day. He needs to rest and recover some days and stay back in the pack (peleton). As much as he’d like to win every stage, it’s not possible. Some days are not going to be overly exciting, it’s just a matter of finishing the stage.

I loved this analogy and told him right away that I was going to pinch it. He then added:

Golf is also like Barcellona Football. They have been the dominant team for the last 7 or so years but it doesn’t mean that every pass or kick is a match winner. There’s going to be general play and some basic stuff in there. They don’t play on the edge all of the time. They can’t but they’re definitely playing the game.

The best tennis players don’t try and hit winners on every shot. They are playing close to the edge, but they’re rarely flat out for more than a point or two. They are waiting for their chance to hit the clear winner and the in between stuff is the process to get there.

Johnathon Thurston threw a great pass to help Queensland score a try. But not every pass is magic. There’s plenty of “easy” stuff along the way – and the “boring” things like tackles and running.

And so it is with golf. To truly play the game is to realise that you’ve gotta go with the flow and sometimes take the easy option and move on. Not every shot is the match winner (nor can it be) and it’s often best to get the ball in play and keep going.

The foolish golfer plays too hard, is on the edge and invariably self destructs. The smart (and truly Automatic Golfer) is aware of the situation and prepares and plays accordingly. Here’s some examples.

Tight opening shot: If the first shot of the day is a tough one then maybe it’s best to layup, get the ball into play and move on. The poor strategy is blasting driver and hitting it into serious trouble.

Fast putt: You’ve hit a great approach and are now faced with a slick 10 footer for birdie. Your best option is probably to trickle it down near the hole and settle for par. The ball still may go in but your not ruining all the hard work by three-putting.

Tricky hole location: The green-keeper has woken up with a bad mood and has decided to place the pin on the 15th hole in a stupid location. It’s back left with trouble all around. You can try and hit it close, but you’ve been suckered in. Play away to trouble, the fat part of the green and get to the next hole with the minimum of fuss.

Not feeling good: It can happen at anytime. For some reason a particular hole or shot doesn’t sit right with you. What are your options? You can swing hard and crazy and attack the hole or you can take a deep breath, relax and choose a club and shot you are most comfortable with. To me the decision is easy, but many get sidetracked with all sorts of other mental rubbish.

We can’t birdie every hole and it’s unlikely it will ever happen. So forget about a round full of “hero” shots. You’ve gotta play smart and you’ve got to be aware of the situation and plan accordingly. Yes, every shot is important, but some are more important than others. If in doubt, hit the simplest/easiest/safest shot you can think of and then take off. The fun and exciting stuff happens when you approach the less important shots well.

Take away lesson(s): There are some important points in all of this and you may have missed the most important one.

Ask questions. If Sanj, Steady, David, Lukey, Roger, Adam, Mike, Peter, Steve and others didn’t ask questions then we’d all miss out. I would (wrongly) assume my coaching was 100% effective the first time (it’s not) and that would be that. But the brave ones ask questions and we all improve as a result. So ask questions, lots of them.

Coaching is awesome. We all need coaching. Scott Barrow challenges me and I always get something useful when we speak. Our 30 minute call this morning left me buzzing and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

If you want to be challenged and inspired, come and see me for a golf coaching session you’re unlikely to forget.

If you haven’t seen it, then you should check out my Simple Golf Improvement System. Not only do I cover the automatic process in great detail, you get specific help from me. Check it out now.

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29 Comments

  • Leon

    Reply Reply June 27, 2013

    Yeah good one Cam. Probably why I now play off 19. I now play just to enjoy the next shot. Be out in the elements and enjoying the birds the kangaroos the exercise. Probably wrong but I now see golf itself more exciting than super low scoring. Some days I do score low. Like 29 points the front nine then 10 the back. When you join me at the Grand you will better understand this result. Still won the comp that day though. On looking back I enjoyed the back nine as much as the front but in a different way. The front nine I just couldn’t believe the shots that were working for me. Chipping out three times. Long putt going in and nowhere else. Then the ack nine the ball only just going into the rough and being unplayable. The putts sitting just on the edge. The actual golf swing and play was really not much different. The score was. All I said to Terry White was how did the wheels fall off that back nine. He said. Mate how did the wheels get on that frontnine.

    Anyway mate you have some really good stuff coming out each day. Though like golf some days better than others.

    Matt Guyatt and my good self are off to Wimbledon today. He has a mate teaches golf and had two tickets to spare. Matt had his practice round yesterday and can’t play today because of a pro am. So we’ll go down to London this morning and add Wimbledon to my bucket list of done things. Life is all about who you know. I see it more and more.

    Woke at 3 yesterday and today 4 am so the jet lag is getting a bit better. The Guiness is just beautiful. The real stuff is why.

    Talking of real stuff. Finally the Ju-Liar has now gone and go Qld origin 3 game.

    See you when I get back

    Leon

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 27, 2013

      Leon: Thanks for dropping by and I look forward to having a hit with you. Enjoy the UK – hope the weather is ok.

  • Sanj

    Reply Reply June 27, 2013

    Cam,
    Thanks for the response to my e-mail via this blog. Brought a smile to my face when I saw my name in the above blog. As usual great advice.
    I’m now going to start playing within myself and not go for shots that I think I can make. As I explained over e-mail I’ve been playing great golf and have started to play a lot more aggressively and that has cost me matches and money 🙁
    Maybe I needed to go through this period of aggressive golf to reign me in and stop going for the green in 2 on a par 5 (AG has given me the confidence to think I possibly could). I need to take the approach “I need to hit the ball to that target. What club will best do the job?” but to do it sensibly. For me the scoring well is just as important as me enjoying the game.

    WHEN I start going round in level par I’ll maybe start going for the impossible shots!!! 🙂 [JOKE]

    Leon: Enjoy Wimbledon (at least its not raining… [yet]!!!). Shame about Lleyton Hewitt 🙁

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 27, 2013

      Sanj: You can “go for it” some of the time. You’ve just got to work out the right time, the maybe time and certainly the NO time. I think the more you do this the better you’ll get at it. And maybe you’ll begin to appreciate why I say that AG can get a little boring.

  • Terry

    Reply Reply June 27, 2013

    Great post from Leon – except the inappropriate comment about the former PM – not necessary.

  • Michael Murphy

    Reply Reply June 27, 2013

    Ah gee your mate sounds a bit like me! It’s amazing how asleep we are to our own games. I suppose we could not only take the conservative strategy, cocky swing approach but we could see it as another part of the learning process. If we take a 3 wood off the tee and even if it doesn’t pay off and the shot ends up indifferent trees or trouble to what you have been before when using the driver, accept it an look at it as another way to learn something and that you could possibly hit a great recovery! Thanks cam, great thought provoking post mate.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 27, 2013

      MM: And me. It took me a while to work all this stuff out that’s for sure…

  • Lukey

    Reply Reply June 27, 2013

    Cam when you talk about finding your own swing is it not conceivable that you must try things (hitting the ball hard)to find out whether it works or not and so the same can be said for an aggressive approach to your game to see if it works. I think after all you need to find what you are capable of and at the same what you are not capable of. Then perhaps one could then try the conservative approach.
    Cheers Lukey

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 27, 2013

      Lukey: You’re off point here. I’m not talking about hitting it hard. It’s more about strategy and game plan. Plus, you shouldn’t be going to the course and working on hitting it hard or soft. This is the kinda thing you work on the practice tee.

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply June 27, 2013

    Golf is like a radio station you can’t quite tune in, then some days you can hear it crystal clear!.

  • Sanj

    Reply Reply June 27, 2013

    Cam.. you’ve said this a few times… “And maybe you’ll begin to appreciate why I say that AG can get a little boring.” I totally disagree with that comment. For me playing golf is about scoring well (how you do it is irrelevant) and generally you score well when you are playing well. If using AG means you play well then surely thats not boring. There is nothing more exciting than playing golf [I have a passion for golf that is unreal] and playing golf well. Recently I have been trying to beat the course (HC 9) and have gone for everything and that has cost me in terms of score, money & matches. Like I said this is learning processes (only been using AG for a couple of months) and trying to play sensible golf with AG definitely isn’t boring.
    Not too sure if the other guys have experienced this: before AG I used to go to the range on a daily basis. Now I don’t bother. If I went to the range I wouldn’t know what to practise. I’ve become a ‘feel’ player. I see the shot and play it… (i just need to get that image of playing a draw all the time out of my head, cos I know I can’t).

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 28, 2013

      Sanj: I appreciate the feedback and when I say “boring” there’s definitely some tongue in cheek. There’s certainly nothing boring about playing consistently, with enthusiasm, enjoyment, flair. There’s also some deep satisfaction with being able to handle the stress of the golf course and shoot decent scores. So boring is probably the wrong word. AG can be a lot more simpler and not as “sexy” as a fancy new club or some new swing change – but it definitely is so much better.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 28, 2013

      Sanj: By the way. You can learn to hit the draw, but experiment with it away from competition. I also think the longer you’re able to play instinctively the closer you’ll get to your “real” swing. There’s also nothing wrong with a fade 🙂

      Keep up the good work.

  • Sanj

    Reply Reply June 28, 2013

    Cam, silly question but how do I learn how to hit a draw as I don’t like reading tips from magazines and definitely don’t want to see a ‘pro’ as they’ll want to start rebuilding my swing.

    I don’t mind playing a fade, but I just can’t seem to get that “draw” image/picture out of my head when preparing for a shot.

    First time I’m picking up a golf club today after doing the MacMillian (cancer research charity) Longest Golf Day Challenge (72 holes in 1 day) a couple of days ago.

  • Steady

    Reply Reply June 28, 2013

    @ Sanj
    Want to hit a draw?
    Strong grip, closed stance or hooded club. All work well.
    However by experimenting you will know what it FEELS
    Like to hit a draw. Like yourself I’m a feel player.
    As for AG. It is boring in the sense that you find your
    Target pick your club swing accept result and move on.
    That’s it in a nutshell. However the pay off is awesome.
    Ask Cam I’m not boasting when I say this but. I shot 51
    Stableford points. I was playing off 13 at the time.
    Imagine shooting 69 off the stick ( par 70) playing
    off 13. That’s potential. However I tried in vain to
    improve on that. I didn’t need to. Again pick my target
    Choose my club swing accept result repeat. Easy but
    Pesky will try to take credit for it or change it up. Don’t
    Let him.
    Hope this helps.

  • Sanj

    Reply Reply June 28, 2013

    @Steady

    Thanks for the response.
    For some bizarre reason when I visualise the shot, a draw shaped shot always comes into my head.
    Which is frustrating!!!

    I’ll give the “Strong grip, closed stance or hooded club” a go.. but just thinking about it puts me off 🙂

    51 points playing of 13… WOW!! you said you was playing of 13 at the time. What you playing off now?

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 29, 2013

      I’ll give the “Strong grip, closed stance or hooded club” a go.. but just thinking about it puts me off

      It’s about experimenting and exploring in a non-competitive environment. If you try and do this while out playing the medal you’ll have a shocker. So take your time and muck around when there’s no scorecard in your pocket.

  • Steady

    Reply Reply June 29, 2013

    Hi
    Playing off 6 at the moment.
    Just some history. I saw Cam back
    In 2007 for my first AG lesson. In 8 months I
    I went from a 14 to 5 handicap. Then what got me
    There I tried to improve on it and went back out
    to 13 now I have left it alone back to 6.
    My point is it is boring and mundane BUT you
    Don’t have to tweak or change what you do.
    Remember pick a target select the best club for
    your shot swing like there’s no tomorrow accept
    your result then move on and repeat.
    The beauty of AG is found in its simplicity.
    Adults want to mess around with it. You don’t have
    to.
    All the best in your golfing adventure.
    Steady

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 29, 2013

      Steady should be playing off closer to 2 or 3. We played earlier in the year and there’s not too much wrong with his long game. He was a tad on the shabby side with the shorter shots and we spent some time discussing a practice routine for him to become better from 100 yards in. Would be interested to hear his feedback on all this and how he has gone over last few months…

  • Sanj

    Reply Reply June 29, 2013

    @Steady – thats good golf. Well done. Having a lesson with cam is gonna be a problem for me as I live in the uk.

    @Cam – Played matchplay yesterday against a mate. Got crushed 6&5. I just played some loose shots that punished me (plus I also had 3 bad holes in a row).

    All this loosing is getting to me now.

    Silly thing is I was playing a draw (or real bad snap hooks) on most of my shots yesterday, and I wasn’t trying to!!!!! Arrrrrggghhhh.

    I seem to be all over the place. 🙁

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 30, 2013

      Sanj: now is the time for a clear mind. It seems you’re too focussed on score and results at this stage. I think your system is resetting and adjusting. Don’t fight it and please don’t be too worried about the result. You should be playing more freely and enjoying things – don’t let poor results distract you. It’s early days 🙂

  • Sanj

    Reply Reply June 30, 2013

    Hi cam.
    I’ve just re read my last post and admittedly it’s sounds like I’m frustrated, angry & fed up.
    Also sounds very negative. I do apologise for that.
    But actually it is the complete opposite.
    It actually doesn’t bother me what I score.
    I’m not angry or frustrated (not as much as I used to be).
    Before I started to use AG, if I had a bad round I would get really worked up and seriously analyse what went wrong. I would then for that week at the range work on that part of the game that I felt let me down.
    Now I don’t even bother with practising or going to the range (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing).
    Even my playing partners have noticed my change of demeanour on the course.
    Gotta say it is a weird feeling!

  • Adam

    Reply Reply June 30, 2013

    hi cameron havent commented in a while but been reading your stuff. Just wanted to say that youre a great man. You care about people and want them to improve. one thing makes me wonder: why are people so worried about getting more distance when you can just take more club or hit the ball more accurate? 150 with a seven iron is enough for me but if i have a 200 yard shot then i simply take a five iron. Simple. Want more distance? Either take more club or with driver hit into the fairway accurately. Jack Nicklaus said that the only time you’re going to hit a 300 yard drive is on on tailwind on dried out fairways. He said he could only carry the ball about 260 comfortably and he was the longest hitter on the planet in his generation. No one can carry 300 yards.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 1, 2013

      Adam: Lots of people want more distance. I think it’s an ego thing, especially for men. I also believe if you swing the club freely, without a lot of stress and worry you’ll hit the ball much better and further.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply July 5, 2013

    Cameron im interested in going into golf more deep. Like maybe coaching and giving golf instruction for a living like you. How can i begin?

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply July 5, 2013

      Adam: Best bet is to start. Get outside and start coaching. Get some kids together from your club. Coach your brothers or sisters (if you have any). Start. It’s the best way.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply July 5, 2013

    Thank you cameron

  • Adam

    Reply Reply July 14, 2013

    I just now realized that there’s no such thing a consistent golf.you may shoot under par one day but over the next. And you cant win all the time. You have to lose sometimes to be able to learn. still I’ve always wondered how the best champions won so often.maybe is because of this discovery.they learned from their mistakes and moved on. And they weren’t small mistakes. But even the smallest screw up can be learned from. Jack Nicklaus said that he isn’t perfect. So if even jack isn’t perfect then how much of a chance do we have?

  • Adam

    Reply Reply October 13, 2013

    one simple question: how can I tell if my swing is automatic?

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