I went golfing today with my son. As usual, I hadn’t done any practicing this winter. I played once last month in 3 layers of clothes and today, in 45 degree (7 Celsius) weather that was a bit warmer. Not exactly the peak of the season form for my game.
I ended up shooting 3-over par for 9 holes at Everett Country Club here in Washington. Like you, I finished the round thinking “If only I’d have executed that ONE shot better….
You know the one shot I’m talking about. The one shot that would have saved you 2 or 3 strokes if it would have gone well.
I was this close (holding my thumb and index finger barely apart) from hitting par.
Anyway, my son was struggling hard with his driver blocking everything out to the right and this course is tree lined on every fairway. I told him that he looked really stiff and robotic and to loosen up. It didn’t work.
I finally told him to dedicate this practice round to one concept….Trust.
“How do you do that” he asked, “when I have no confidence in my driver right now?”
I said: “Well, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying something different right?..why don’t you pretend that you can speak or communicate to the driver head and tell it to square up at the moment of impact and then travel down the target line? Stop trying to guide the club and TRUST that it is going to happen. Let go of control.”
That’s unconscious golf.
I told him to go up the tee with the idea that you want the ball to go down the middle of the fairway but that you don’t care if it doesn’t. He was completely lost with that one 🙂
“He said I don’t know if I can do that” and I said, “I know…just go ahead and PRETEND that you can” and see what happens.
He ended up parring out for the last 3 holes after that. It was fun watching him. He surprised himself.
You see, every round shouldn’t be a round where you are trying to beat your best score. Some rounds are a buildup to that day. How many rounds have you played poorly and then left the course in disgust or disappointment.
The goal is to have fun and learn and improve in the long run. With that kind of attitude and a certain TRUST that your body knows what to do, has done it before, and will do it again, you can stop trying to force every shot and let them happen to your natural ability.
Dedicate each round to focusing in on one thing that if you were to incorporate into your game without having to think about it, you would drop scores.
It’s too late to do much about your swing when you are out there playing. That should be done off the course or with your instructor.
Oh, and by the way. Did you know that some pros actually purposefully go with a block shot sometimes when they really need to hit a fairway because it is really reliable and easy to replicate.
Ray Floyd wrote about this in his book. I told my son about this and I’m thinking that just maybe, that’s what freed him up to start trusting and letting go of trying to “fix” his swing.
There’s many ways to get a low score on any given day.
Greens and fairways,
I hope that you will enjoy meeting Bob Andrews and sharing his
adventure. I believe that anyone who has played the game will see
a bit of Bob in himself.
I wrote “Sticks” hoping that the reader could recognize some of
his own foolish fantasies, that is, the two hundred and fifty dollar
driver that you just knew would take ten strokes off your game or
the miracle swing trainer that you saw on TV which would be your
ticket to the perfect round.
If nothing else, I hope that “Sticks” puts an occasional grin on
your face and causes a now and then nod of self-recognition as you
Enjoy and thanks for reading “Sticks”!