The problem with improving your golf

I’m well aware that improving at golf can be difficult. The following email is from a client and it sums up the difficulty golfers face when they desire change;

Hi Cameron,

I’ve got to be honest with you too, as you would have gathered by now that model of perfection golf swing is what I’ve been trying to achieve for years, yes it would be nice to have a swing like that, but, as you quite rightly say this is how NOT to approach learning the game of golf.
This is what the golf magazines have been selling for years, a mind boggling, over thought technically perfect golf swing, that turns you into a nut job whenever you stand over the ball trying to place this perfect swing on it.

I’ve mentioned to you before Cameron how much of a technical golfer I try (tried) to be, and this is a classic example of why I (and I’m sure others you deal with) have trouble dealing your approach.
There is nothing wrong with your approach, as I believe it is correct, but, bloody hell it’s hard to change when, for years on end, one believes the perfect swing is what we are trying to achieve in the you tube video manner.

It’s almost like trying to tell a someone with a strong religious belief that their views are wrong. If they have believed it from their earliest days and when someone comes along with a different theory, no matter how scientific the evidence is, the inbuilt belief is the hardest change to make, even though you know it to be correct.

I hope this helps you to understand the struggle converts to your approach have.

Thanks for taking time to read this Cameron

My Comments: Change is something that we don’t like to deal with. Much easier to just ignore it and keep on doing what feels comfortable and safe. I try and push golfers gently into playing more instinctively. I don’t push people that hard, and get them to make small steps and hopefully somewhere along the way they realise that there is a better way.

Yesterday I meet a golfer who had been playing golf for over 60 years. His approach was to analyse each shot. “Too quick”, “Off the back foot” and “No good…hit the toe”, where the comments to his first three shots. He had been doing this for 60 years. I knew it would be difficult to make him to change. We started slowly and I gave him a strategy for thinking less and playing more. He was brave enough to give it a go (this is all that I ask). The results were fairly immediate. He relaxed. His swing speed picked up and he definitely had more rhythm and flow. By the end of the lesson he was dancing…playing golf and letting the golf swing happen.

My new client will need to take this approach to the course. The temptation will be to revert back to his old ways. This is where discipline comes in. Either he will have the courage to follow an approach that has given him new hope or he doesn’t. I’m not sure if anyone can teach courage but in this early learning phase it is perhaps the most important thing a golfer can have. Much more vital than a good grip or new driver.

I encourage golfers to take my three round challenge. I want them to remove the straight jacket, let go and play more instinctively with passion and flair for three rounds. This is it. Three lousy rounds. If they don’t like it they can always revert back to what feels safe and comfortable. There’s no need to plan or think too much. You can’t plan everything – sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. Sometimes you learn to break free from the fear and anxiety that have been holding you back. This is when change is made. It feels risky – but it is rewarding.

Good golfing,

Cameron Strachan

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  • Andrew

    Reply Reply February 6, 2008

    “You cannot teach a person anything, you can only help them discover it within themselves ”

    As I have found anyone with an idea of how things should be (golf swing), or with a fixed plan, (most politicians are this way) will get into a lot of trouble, because reality does not conform to our plans, or our ideas of what it should be.

    “We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.” — William Hazlitt

    The problem with the perfect golf swing is that we try to capture it. We want to possess it and know that it will be there for us, in the same way, day after day.
    If you can perform “your” golf swing without wanting the experience to be repeated, then there will be no pain, no fear, and therefore tremendous joy. It is the struggle to repeat and perpetuate a good swing, which turns it into pain. It seems to me so simple and because it is so simple, we refuse to see its simplicity.”
    Never change your golf game by fighting the existing golf game(reality). To change your game, build a new model that makes the existing game obsolete. This is what Cameron is doing building a new model.

  • Artful Golfer

    Reply Reply February 8, 2008

    I find that if I actually give NO attention at all to my swing, but focus my attention instead on my intended result (target and flight path), that my body simply produces the swing needed to deliver that result. I have no idea what that swing looks like and don’t even care. I’ve never seen my swing on video and resist ever doing so — in order to keep my attention off technique. It’s amazing how difficult this “letting go” of mechanics and swing thoughts are for most golfers. They just keep going in for a tune-up every time their swing starts producing errant shots, which usually occurs only a few rounds after each lesson.

  • Artful Golfer

    Reply Reply February 8, 2008

    p.s. Andrew, great quote by William Hazlitt 😉

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