Stop trying so hard – here’s an alternative for better golf

When we get over the golf ball there’s all sorts of stuff going on in our mind. There shouldn’t be but that’s just how it is.

Don’t stuff this shot up
Please get over the water
Don’t hit it out of bounds
Please make good contact
Oh please God, let me NOT embarrass myself

A golf shot can often have that “final” feel about it. It can seem like it’s now or never. You either hit a good shot or you don’t.

This all adds to the pressure. And the more pressure you feel the more likely you are to lose concentration and start playing poorly.

There is a way around this. Instead of seeing each shot as a do or die situation, look at it as an experiment. The experiment mentality takes the pressure off and gives you permission to relax and witness what is. And this is what you should be doing.

– There’s less stress about making a mistake
– You’re free to try something new
– You’re more aware and in tune with what’s happening because you’re noticing not panicking
– Poor shots are simply “tests” and you can move onto the next shot

Golfers are a strange lot. We can get so worked up over all sorts of shots that we really do forget while we’re out there in the first place. We can get so anxious about our golf that we make poor decisions and never really learn anything.

The experimentation attitude is a game changer. We all understand that experiments aren’t final. That sometimes mistakes happen and we learn and move on. And this is just what I have in mind for you. Here are some examples.

Don’t know how to hit a lob over a bunker? Grab a few balls, a club and head over to the practice green. Open the clubface and see how high you can hit the ball.
Nervous about your opening tee shot? Experiment with trying less and swinging with more freedom. This sounds easy, but only the really brave will try it.
Not sure about laying up short of the bunker? Try it. You may surprise yourself and realise that other golfers don’t care.
Not sure about leaving half your clubs behind? Do it and see how many new shots you learn.
Nervous about leaving your driver behind? Do it. And notice your length of tee shots and how many fairways you hit with your 3 wood.
Worried about the hole with Out Of Bounds? Take a different approach, try something radical (like aiming down the other fairway) but experiment with something new.

This Automatic Golf stuff is also strange. It’s strange because once you figure out what works for you there’s nothing really more to do then to keep repeating. Do the same thing over and over again. But to get to this point you need to experiment. To work out what works and what doesn’t.

Humans don’t like change. We want a different result but typically we’re too scared to break the mould. So we keep doing the same stuff but wanting something different. It’s madness and I suppose this is why the game can drive us nuts. When you can see every little shot as an experiment, the opportunity to learn something valuable, you’ll never be the same player again.

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7 Comments

  • Lukey

    Reply Reply August 23, 2013

    Great post Cam I like this idea (experimenting) and I feel sure it would take a lot of angst out of your shots now all I have to do is find someone that can fix this nerve problem in my left shoulder and arm and then I can go out and do something about it.
    Cheers Lukey

  • Adam

    Reply Reply August 23, 2013

    I never experiment. It takes too much time. I generally keep my game simple like chipping with pw and not doing lob shots. Keeping things simple takes out the complication. Moe norman kept everything and i mean everything simple. He was able to hit the dang white ball straight everytime.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply August 26, 2013

    Hi cameron i think i have my game to its finest level. I will continue on my quest to improving but im going to do it my own way. I will learn on my own as you did.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply August 26, 2013

    I was at the range the other day and this guy was hitting his driver as far as my six iron. Am i a really long hitter our him a short hitter

  • Adam

    Reply Reply September 1, 2013

    By the way cameron i just found a really good tip for putting by paul wilson. Cant attach the link so heres the name: “the secret to great putting”.

  • Troy Vayanos

    Reply Reply September 14, 2013

    It’s true, most golfers put way too much pressure on their shots. It’s almost like it’s the end of the world if we don’t pull it off.

    A change in attitude can make all the difference.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply September 17, 2013

    Troy: people take golf too seroously like i did before. They think that they can overthink their way to victory or success. But i realized long ago that it pays to think less and just get used to hitting the ball into the hole which is the whole point of golf anyway. If it was about the swing we would if we had perfect swings and some of us do be the greatest golfers on the planet. Instead we have jim furyk shooting 59 and jack nicklaus with 18 majors. In my opinion if we get that ball into the hole quickly and in few strokes we would all be much happier. And we would score better over about a half year of golf. Didnt say youd break par but i did say youd improve. Ask cameron he knows more than i do i still have questions but we always will seek more knowledge if we can get it. Youre right its important not to take every shot as if it were life and death. Moe norman whom im a big fan of said once that he had nothing to lose but a lousy golf ball.

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