This is really strange…

This is weird. I’m playing better, way better, but things don’t seem how they should.

For starters, there’s not a lot of magic involved. I thought playing the golf of my dreams would be different. It’s not.

Sure, there’s the odd really good shot, but I’ve always done that. There’s more consistency and less really bad stuff, but for the most part I’m still the same player.

I get nervous. On the 16th yesterday I was quite nervous. But it was different. I didn’t panic and make a mess of the situation. I took a deep breath, welcomed the nerves, focused on where I wanted the ball to go and watched the ball sail to the target. It wasn’t a spectacular shot – the ball went to the fat part of the green and I two-putted for par. But normally when I get nervous like that the ball finds the water. It’s good to know I can play under pressure now.

I’m freaking out a little.

Why?

Because I’m no longer practicing as much. I’d normally spend a few hours hitting balls after work. But not this week. Hardly picked up a club, except for swinging in the backyard and a few “looseners” in the nets before play.

I’ve spent my entire adult life worrying about;

– my golf swing
– if I’m good enough
– my golf swing
– every bad shot
– what am I doing wrong?
– what am I doing right?
– my technique
– my bloody golf swing!

Shit. I’ve spent years worrying and thinking about all this stuff and it feels strange to let it all go. I’ve lost my security blanket, but I’ve just realised I don’t need it anymore.

I’m free. No longer am I trapped worrying about all these stupid things golfers like worrying about. I don’t care about the crap written in golf magazines (stopped reading them a while ago) and I couldn’t care less what Justin Rose does to hit the ball a further 24 yards. Most of this stuff is marketing hype anyway and it no longer is for me.

I’m relaxed. It’s true – golf really is only a game and the world doesn’t come to an end after a bad shot. But I learned something really important – the world doesn’t change after an excellent score. I’m still the same person, no matter what my score says or what number I have to write in the “handicap” box. I wish I had realised this sooner…

My mind is calm. No longer am I driving to the course nervous about;

– my playing partners
– the set-up of the golf course
– embarrassing myself
– hitting the opening tee shot
– playing half-decently

No sir. I don’t care about that stuff either. I’ve simplified my approach. A lot. There’s really only a few things I do each time I take a swing.

1. I work out how far away the target is.
2. I choose the right club for the shot.
3. I walk up and hit that stupid white ball.
4. Repeat.

I know all that sounds too easy but what else can we do anyway? All the other stuff is garbage and an unwanted distraction.

So I’ve been freaking out a little because golf has just gotten a whole lot easier. I’m playing way better and there’s less energy, fear and mental anguish to do so. But I’ll get used to it that’s for sure. I’m no longer a victim to the game and the hype that surrounds it.

I’m now a golfer. I swing the sticks and play the game. Frustration is a distant colleague and I’ve got something more worthwhile.

Satisfaction. Meaning. Enjoyment.

I can’t lose at golf anymore. Yep, shooting a good score is nice but there really is more to the game. I’ve figured that the four and five hours outside in the fresh air should mount to more than just frustration and anger. So I’ve left that all behind and made the craziest realisation of all…

That the less I worry, stress and panic about golf the better I play anyway.

Strange, isn’t it?

I’m no record breaker. I’m just me, but for my talent and application I’m doing just fine. I can drive home happy because I got to play golf and it sure beats work. I can’t say the same for the guys I play with, but I see the old me in them. They’re missing out but they’re too busy trying to fix their golf swing to listen.

It really is a strange game that’s for sure.

References: If you’re keen to explore this simpler mindset further, check out this page.

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13 Comments

  • Cam280

    Reply Reply August 13, 2013

    Awesome Cam!, I concur, just got back from work this arvo and hit a few in the net “theres my swing”, and that was that! less than 5 minutes.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply August 14, 2013

      Cam280: You don’t lose your swing that’s for sure. It’s always there, waiting for you to turn it on. When you coming up for a hit?

  • James Smith

    Reply Reply August 13, 2013

    The fact that the world will continue to turn whether I shoot a 65 or whether I shoot a 95 was eye opening to me. 🙂

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply August 14, 2013

    “Shit. I’ve spent years worrying and thinking about all this stuff and it feels strange to let it all go. I’ve lost my security blanket, but I’ve just realised I don’t need it anymore.”

    This is when you feel like laughing and crying at the same time. You want to laugh because you realize how SIMPLE everything actually is. You want to cry because of all the energy you put into trying when its NOT trying that actually is the key.

    Now if only the Australian batting order could understand what you’re talking about here Cam. It was somewhat depressing tonight to hear a past captain talking about their woes and saying “they need to get in the nets and work on their technique”. NO! They need to go out HIT THE BALL. They need to RELAX and HIT THE BALL. They already have technique in spades. Thats why they’re in the AUSTRALIAN TEST CRICKET TEAM for crying out loud.

    More technique, try harder, work, yada yada……As Doctor Phil would say: “OK, and how’s that working for you?” (!!)

    Aahhh…..that feels better. Thanks 🙂

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply August 14, 2013

      GP: I enjoy cricket – actually wanted to play cricket but found golf instead. I’ve written a little about cricket on the blog but don’t want to turn it into all about cricket. Don’t get me started but here are some thoughts about the Aussie cricket team:

      – I don’t get the rotation policy at all. It defies belief. They rest players just in case they get injured. I can’t remember Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath getting “rested” too often
      – Not sure what Starc has done. But they seem to drop him all of the time
      – Ashton Agar has proven himself and they drop him too. Wow. Surely they stick with him for more than 5 minutes.
      – Batting: they need to hit the ball. There’s too much going on here. It looks like they’re over thinking and too scared to hit the ball. Something wrong with Watson, he can’t hit the thing! A sign that he is over thinking it.

      I saw Clarke in an extended interview thing and he was saying “all the right things” to please the administration. But to me he too has gotten away from playing the game. Far too much analysis on the other team and behaviour stuff. They are failing and yes, someone needs to remind them that you’re in the Australian Cricket Team. You’re a great player. Hit that ball. Play the game. Score runs.

      If they were switched on for the duration they would have won a couple of these matches. As it stands, they’ll probably lose 4 zip…

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply August 14, 2013

    Sorry, in all my frustration venting about the Aussie cricket team I forgot to add WHAT A GREAT POST CAM! This is beautifully written and really getting to the heart of it. Thankyou.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply August 15, 2013

    Hi cameron. Humans in general are strange. One minute we decide on something and the next we change our minds. We as humans are very inconsistent. And unpredictable.

  • Adam

    Reply Reply August 19, 2013

    hi cameron just curious why is it that when i try for more distance i end up messing the shot up with a slice? How can i hit the ball straighter? And maybe about 30 yards longer?

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply August 19, 2013

      Adam: Coz you are getting away from YOUR swing. I think distance causes more problems than it solves. If you can swing freely the ball will go further for you. There is no magic here – no matter how much you play you’ll always hit the odd shot offline. You can’t hit every shot straight – so there’s no point in worrying about it. A little while ago I asked for you to send me another video with a few different swings – have never seen them.

      Keep playing Adam. I wouldn’t worry too much about distance. As you play more and get older you’ll hit the ball better and further…

  • Adam

    Reply Reply August 19, 2013

    Or is distance increase gradual? And also accuracy?

  • Adam

    Reply Reply August 19, 2013

    I will send those videos as soon as i can remember to make them. Is it ok if i make the video in my yard? And what were the requirements for it?

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply August 19, 2013

      I cant remember Adam – I’m too old these days to remember all that stuff. 🙂

  • Adam

    Reply Reply August 21, 2013

    Anyway cameron im curious whats the best way to get rid of a reverse c? Its a backwards spinal tilt in the follow through

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