Young golfer loses distractions

It’s easy to get distracted. To tell stories and make excuses why your game isn’t as good as you’d hope it to be.

A young guy I played with yesterday spent the first few holes making excuses. He’d hit some bad drives and the stories were coming thick and fast.

– I need some coaching for my swing.
– It’s my own fault for not trying to fix my swing earlier.
– My driver is too heavy. It has a D5 swing weight and that’s way too heavy for me.

He wasn’t getting a lot of attention from me. Maybe he was after some sympathy but I wasn’t giving it.

Then something funny happened. He nailed a great drive down the middle. But he was still complaining.

That was crap! The ball started too far right and came back. Also hit it off the toe – it’s not want I wanted.

This was too much for me. I wasn’t happy with his attitude and high expectations. I pointed out to him his drive was perfect, that some of the best players in the world curve their tee shots. A dead straight ball flight is almost impossible to do anyway. And if you expect to hit each shot flush you’ll always be disappointed. Basically, I told him to get on with it and stop complaining.

I think the rev up helped him. He stopped the diatribe and got on with playing golf. His driving improved and so did his confidence. His last 12 holes were miles better than his first hand full.

I’m really hoping that he can go on from here and start to trust his game. If he can learn to ignore the distractions he’ll build a level of self-belief that will allow him to become the best golfer possible.

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  • Mike Divot

    Reply Reply March 13, 2012

    I read in one of Bob Rotella’s books where some player was arcing up about “positive thinking” — “don’t give me that power of positive thinking bull”, etc.

    Rotella said, I’ll make a deal with you. I won’t say one word about positive thinking, if you promise to cut out every negative thought.

    Cutting out negative thought is basically cutting out “Pesky” as you call him. (Timothy Gallwey the “Inner Game” guy calls him “Self 1”.)

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply March 14, 2012

      Mike: I’m not a huge fan of Positive Thinking. I reckon that the best athletes don’t go around saying things like, “I’m going to win” or “I must play well”. But they do focus on the job at hand and on the things they have control of, like, where do I want the ball to go and what club do I need? I suppose this is a form of positive thinking – it’s just different to what most people think.

      Cutting out Pesky is really hard. I think we can waste a lot of time and energy trying to get rid of him. A better approach is to accept him but then ignore his influence. It’s a subtle difference but an important one. Thanks for sharing,


  • Gregor

    Reply Reply March 13, 2012

    I agree, he was probably looking for sympathy and there was a bit of ego in there as well. I’m sure he has hit the ball really well on some of his best rounds, but maybe the way he was hitting it was good enough for his game that day. He was forgetting to play the game. Hit the ball, find it, hit it again etc.
    ps had a great round at the weekend. Best for a while. Pesky was trying to predict what a great score I was going to have but I managed to ignore him enough not to blow it.

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply March 14, 2012

      Gregor: Yep, he’s a good player and on a rapid learning curve – he just doesn’t realise it yet. He’s still very young. Good stuff on the great round – can you share more of the details? Cam

  • Gregor

    Reply Reply March 15, 2012

    Well the thing was that I didn’t start that well, hitting some awful drives and irons but not making too much of a mess by just not getting upset and thinking it would all come good. I had a decent score on the front 9 despite all this. But it was getting better all the time and my confidence was building. At about the 12th I started to suddenly think about score. My 1st thought was to try and put score out of my mind but I had to shut the thought out again and again, especially on the last 2 holes Also I did not start to consciously try and relax or try to swing easier. In fact by the time I got to the 18th I was by my standards hitting the ball harder than ever. I did still make a few bad swings but never 2 in a row so ended up only 3 over for the back 9. Good times!

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply March 15, 2012

      Gregor: I find it quote funny that almost all of our good rounds have some sort of disaster thrown in. Disaster might be too strong a word, but some bad stuff is quite common. I can’t think of a round I’ve played where it has been smooth sailing for the duration.

      The other thing is this. Pesky doesn’t let up. Not sure it’s possible to stop his rot.

      I like the fact that you were hitting it hard. This is going with the flow – trying to swing easily (or slowly, softly, properly) is manual control. There’s no point in fighting it – just let it happen and enjoy the extra distance. Seems you were aware you were hitting it hard but not controlling. This is perfect! A bit like watching yourself on a movie but with all the feelings. Good stuff and well done.

      Thanks for sharing.


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