Golf is in the midst of some controversy these days and I want to know your opinion on the following 2 topics after I give you mine.
Did you know that the International Olympic Committee just voted Golf to become an Olympic sport starting in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro?
In my opinion, as much as I love golf, this is a ridiculous development for the Olympics. In order to make room for golf, it is eliminating wrestling as an Olympic sport! Wrestling has been an Olympic sport since the 19th century and man has been wrestling in competition since…well, since probably sporting competition began!
Let’s face it, it is a privilege to play golf and only a small handful of athletes in rich countries have the opportunity to develop the talent. I work with wrestlers on their mental game in my office and I can tell you that wrestling is a tough sport to train and become good at. I feel for the wrestlers.
By the way, in doing a little research, I found that golf was in the 1900 and 1904 Olympics. In 1900, 4 countries participated and in 1904, 2 countries sent teams.
I’d like to know if you agree or disagree with me below and why.
I’m generally in favor of allowing anchored putting to continue as it has but the other side has some good points. Let’s go over them:
“There is no compelling data” to prove anchoring helps, said the R&A’s chief executive Peter Dawson. “This is about defining what a golf stroke is.”
If there is no evidence of an advantage, then what’s the big deal? And even if there is, anybody can use one so it’s fair for all.
On the other side of the coin is Mike Davis, USGA executive director who said: “Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball, The player’s challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club.
I think the tie-breaker for me is that many average golfers, especially older ones, enjoy the game just a little bit more when they can use a putter that helps them beat the shakes or the yips and that’s the promise of the anchored style.
What do you think?
Greens and fairways,
It’s the beginning of February and I recently returned from my annual winter golf trip down South for some warm weather. This year, I went to Tucson, AZ with extremely high hopes of having a break from 6 months of cold and wet living where I do in Seattle.
It was going to be the usual competition between my younger brother and I vs. my older brother and my son. We have a friendly, but high-stakes thing going between us over the years. I was pumped! I was ready to go. I had used my visualization techniques for weeks prior to the trip…imagining sinking 10 foot putts like I was during my last outing when the season closed for us here in October.
Back then, I had that “knowing” and feeling that I could just putt the ball exactly down the line that I chose. The only reason I could miss back then was if I mis-read the green. I had done what teach others and emblazoned those thoughts and images in a certain corner of my mind where I store all of my successes for later retrieval.
I was mentally practicing “square and point” over and over each night as I went to bed the same way I did 15 years ago to break 80.
I was ready!
3 days before our trip, I check the weather…and there’s a cold front hitting California and Arizona. I panic! What if the weatherman is right? Should we cancel? Postpone? The day before we are to fly to Arizona, my brother calls trying to talk me into putting the trip off a week. I frantically check my schedule and see that I have clients lined up. (Yes I work on weekends but I also take days off mid-week.) I call my son who takes the peer pressure off me by saying he can’t change his work schedule and so we are going no matter the weather!
We get down there and at least it’s sunny! We are excited about that as we step out to the curb at the airport and it feels pretty nice with the radiant heat of the suns rays….but as it turned out, we went down for 3 days that were the coldest Tucson has ever been since 1988! We woke up to temperatures in the high teens and each day had a frost delay which delayed our start times til 11am to noon. The highs each day were no higher than 45 degrees (7 celsius) What rotten luck!
Well, at least we were prepared with our cold weather golf clothes. I even brought some of those chemical hand warmers you shake and put in your pocket that cost a buck or so. I ended up not even using them all weekend.
We all dressed in layers starting with something against the skin that was synthetic so as to wick away the sweat moisture from the skin and onto the next layer so you don’t get the chills when you sweat. I remember constantly putting on and taking off layers throughout the weekend as the sun would come out and then go away again or when the wind came up.
It turned out to not be that big of a deal golfing in the cold weather and we had a lot of fun. Often, when there was no wind at mid-day, we would shed clothes down to just 2 layers. On the other hand, there were times when we could barely hold our clubs, usually at the end of the day.
Here’s my big learning from this weekend:
My first round I came out of the gate playing pretty well for not having played for 4 months. I was very pleased with my game scoring an 83 at El Conquistador. Everyone else in our group had horrible scores as it wasn’t exactly an easy course. Given the weather and all the bulky clothes, it was a good day and I looked forward to improving on that the next day.
What happened? What caused my meltdown?
I’m always teaching golfers to go over their round in their mind afterward and get your learnings! Take what you do well and implant it in your mind adding to your storehouses of success and then see if you can find a bigger pattern that will help you improve from your mistakes that you let go of.
I kept going back to the old excuse that “It must be the cold weather and having to wear the bulky clothes and the wind and the blah blah blah…” That’s the story I kept telling myself to feel better about the situation…”shoot Craig, you’re the mental golf guy here, figure this out.”
But it wasn’t to be. Yes, it was cold. Yes, I was wearing bulky clothes that affected my swing. Yes, the wind tests your patience. But here was the real problem….
I did not play (as they say) “Within myself” after my first round.
My first round I played conservatively. I didn’t swing for the fences. I hit straight shots, kept it in play and focused on that knowing that I had no idea what my swing was going to be like wearing those clothes. Believe me, bulky clothes affects your game.
The 2nd and 3rd rounds I had gotten warmed up and felt cocky. I got drunk on watching my driver roll 30 yards after hitting the ground…something that doesn’t happen up in Seattle’s wet courses.
I allowed one missed 8-iron to a par 3 that went in the bunker to get to me. We kept saying that we were glad that we still decided to come out even with the cold weather and that it wasn’t so bad and we WERE having fun! But I lost that consistency mind-set I had the first day.
In fact, I would say, in hindsight, that hitting a monster drive off a cliff on #18, a par 5, to within 150 yards was the beginning of my downfall. I fell into the “show-off” mindset and that sunk me.
I didn’t even realize this until on the way home in the airplane.
Oh well…that’s golf right? We absolutely did have a blast just hanging out together and messing with each other as golf buddies do. I learned a lot and I hope you did too. It may not be because of just cold weather that you need to play “within yourself.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts below on playing in cold weather.
Greens and fairways,