Why couldn’t he play golf?

I snuck out of the office Friday afternoon for a hit of golf. It had been a busy week and I was looking forward to the game.

The weather was perfect. The course was in great condition and the company fantastic.

I rarely waste the opportunity to play golf. I don’t get to play that often so my mindset is always on playing the game. I couldn’t give a stuff about my swing or any sort of technique. Not even too fussed if I play poorly – it’s really about the experience and getting out into the fresh air.

The paradox here is that I play more consistently than ever. While I’m not about to go onto the PGA Tour, I’m shooting scores that I struggled to when I was taking the game seriously. Strange game really.

One of my playing partners missed out on a great opportunity to play the game. He was so concerned about his swing that he would have been better off staying in the office. He lost balls, hit lots of bad shots and played quite slowly.

The problem was his mindset. He was convinced he needed to focus on his follow-through, so as a result, he took a funny practice rehearsal on each shot. I say funny because what he was rehearsing looked like he’d hit a massive hook. And he certainly hit lots of hooks.

And this routine went on for the rest of the day. When he finally hit some good shots (on the 14th hole) he said,

“See! I have to focus on the follow-through to get my swing right”.

I chuckled to myself because I knew it was only a matter of time before he hit another poor shot. The inevitable happened on 16 and 18.

What was more intriguing to me was he told me that he has been playing quite well of late. If this was the case then why would he be so worried about a stupid follow-through position? The fact is trying to get into positions is an artificial way to play.

You don’t really know when you get it “right”.
We can’t think positions and hit the ball at the same time.
It’s hard to do and requires lots of energy.

Why couldn’t he forget about his swing technique for three hours and play the game? Would his swing desert him? Would his golf development go backwards?

The main reason is so many golfers have been brainwashed into thinking this is the only way to play the game. So we waste our best golfing years fumbling around the golf course, trying to achieve positions and technical ideas we are told are correct.

Our Pesky mind loves this kind of thing because he always has a ready excuse if you play poorly.

“Don’t worry about the bad score because you were working on your swing”.
“Forget about those guys who beat you because your swing will be better than their’s soon”.

And Pesky has got good reason to pump up you up if you happen to play well or hit some good shots.

“See, that new swing change is starting to work”
“Those good shots were because you kept your elbow to your side”

But it’s all a lie. Pesky breeds on your fear and fear comes from being scared to play the game.

Playing the game means you’ve got to enter the arena. And this takes a mental and physical commitment.

After watching regular golfers close up over the last few years it seems most are not prepared to take this step. They want to follow tradition so they’ve got something to hold onto and a readymade excuse.

What’s the worst thing could have happened if my mate let go of his swing and played the game?

He couldn’t have done any worse. Absolutely no chance of that. Sure, he may have played poorly but it would never have been any worse.

So there’s no downside. Playing the game always gives you the best game possible. It also maximises the chances you’ll learn something and play remarkably. And here’s something most adult learners don’t get,

You don’t have to consciously think about your swing to make improvements. Profound learning can take place at the subconscious level. This means you may not be able to explain what has happened. It just is.

So what’s the point of all this?

Please don’t waste the chance to play the game. Give yourself a break. Get outside and let rip. Enjoy the course and the weather and play the bloody game.

You’ll have more fun.
You’ll play more quickly.
You’ll have more energy and feel less tired.
You’ll shoot better scores.
And you’ll learn something meaningful. I promise.

Golf is not about technique or your swing. And I don’t care what the coach or the professionals on TV say. Golf is about playing the game. Your game. Don’t waste your next chance.

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47 Comments

  • Lukey

    Reply Reply November 28, 2011

    Cam
    Back before getting into the auto golf scene you could have been talking about me in this post because that would have been me to a tee.I don’t say that I have totally conquered it yet but I am definitely closer to auto than I am the above and I can walk off the golf course without feeling like I want to give the game away.Normally I would say to my wife I am going to practice but now my comment is I’m going to have a hit (in other words play golf).
    Cheers Lukey

    • Mike

      Reply Reply December 4, 2011

      Me too. Tried too many magical formulas and potions…they can work like magic for a day or a week, then disappear just like magic, leaving you searching for the next promising magic bullet. I’m over that scene. Played 9 holes today just using the ‘back, hit, stop’ technique from the inner game book. Surprised myself with a few truly remarkable shots. Enjoyed swinging without trying this formula or that potion. Then, just for comparison, I played a few shots in trying mode…they were usually poor results, and I felt the difference in tension when ‘trying’ . Auto is the way to go!
      regards, Mike.

      • Cameron

        Reply Reply December 4, 2011

        Good stuff Mike. Playing golf and letting go is what it’s all about. All the garbage just holds you back and gets in the way of remarkable.

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