The builder’s mentality and why it’s wrong for your golf game

First off a confession. I’m absolutely terrible when it comes to building anything and working with my hands. One of my first jobs out of school was working in a metal foundry, and while I did have to use some tools and machinery, I hated it and decided then and there that it wasn’t for me. Have no interest whatsoever.

When I decided to add a new office to my shed, the only solution was to call in my dad and brother to help out. The Old Man has been retired for a few years now and loves building stuff – spent 30+ years cooped up in an office and hasn’t put on a tie since. Construction is now his thing and the brother wanted a free trip to the Sunshine Coast. So it worked out pretty well for me.

With the help of a local carpenter the three boys had all the skill and knowledge necessary. I was a waste of space but I did drop in on them every now and then to make sure they weren’t slacking off. After 5 days they had finished the construction and the office is a beauty. It’s great to get out of the house and have my own space where I can work – the peace and quiet is a godsend!

I noticed how different the building mentality is to the one needed to play golf. Time and time again they boys would measure twice (sometimes thrice) and then cut once. They were careful. And this is a good thing I suppose. A dodgy wall or roof structure isn’t an option – they can’t have walls falling down. Plus, the carpenter dude was bordering on pedantic – he was anal about every inch of the construction process.

At one point he had out a tape measure and string line and proudly chimed in, “this room is perfectly square!”. To the ignorant (me) it seemed overkill but who am I to argue? Wasn’t about to tell them to hurry up and stop wasting time.

You really shouldn’t play golf this way.

I used to be concerned with each millimetre of my swing. I would stop to measure and analyse and there was always the thought in the back of my mind of something going wrong. But golf isn’t a construction site. There’s no damage to be done and you can’t break anything.

And I’m sure this is how too many of us play. We’re thinking like builders and less like golfers. The building mentality is required in lots of situations, but our golf game is simply not that important.

We need to be free. We need to explore. And we certainly can’t let the odd mistake hold us back. The best way I can describe it is: building is a science and golf is art.

Art is more about creating, learning and enjoyment. It’s just not as precise. Precision seems like the right thing to do, but when we’re trying to strike a little object it just holds us back.

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