I always fascinated by how people describe other golfers they know, have played with or the Pro’s they see on the TV. “He’s one heck of a golfer!”, “he’s got game”, “he’s a monster” or “she’s incredible”.
What fascinates me is how people arrive at their description. What parts or aspects of that person’s game are people describing?
I’d love to think it’s about that persons’ demeanor on the golf course, how warm and welcoming they are to their playing partners or how they are a joy to play with…
The likelihood is that it’s how good their scores are or even more unfortunate, how far they can hit a 7-iron?
Believe me, it’s really satisfying to score well and hit balls a long way, but I think that golfers and the game itself suffers from the overwhelming focus on technique and execution of shots, rather than our total experience of it.
People are praised not for their manner but for their skill. Surely, by casting ourselves in a light that is miles away from the people we perceive as the best, we’ll never have a great experience of the game. Becoming skillful at this game takes time, lots of time and consistent effort and coaching. It takes will and desire.
I believe that what will change Golf is a change in people’s perception of the game. Golf is not just a game, dominated by the select few golfers who are considered the best. It is OUR game, a game for all of us at any level.
The crazy thing is the minute you don’t care what you shoot, you’ll score better scores. It’s about managing your expectations of what you can achieve. And by managing, that doesn’t mean lowering your expectations. It means controlling what you say to yourself, controlling what you believe about those “better” golfers and controlling your state and your approach to “your” game of golf. By doing this you will play with more of a sense of freedom and fun and exploration of you and your capabilities and guess what… You’ll score better too!
Now, obviously, I’m not telling you some hokey tale of just wildly slashing away with abandon on the course and that by having a positive attitude, a goofy smile and a total lack of care, you’ll improve. Of course you won’t.
What I am suggesting is that the understanding that, “your STATE controls EVERYTHING”, will go a long way to helping you to play better.
You must have better skills too and these can all be improved and practiced and really MUST be practiced. But here’s the thing, you must control your state DURING your practice too. Setting goals and managing how and what you practice will lead to a better overall game.
Remember the Synergy concept and how it relates to golf? Gaining knowledge and then skill in all the myriad facets of golf will ultimately lead to a more “complete” golfer.
Learning about ALL the areas of golf, be it putting, chipping, the full swing, will lead to better understanding but these alone are not enough. Learning about your body, how it moves and what your swing looks and feels like, is not enough by itself. Controlling your state or knowing your golf course or your own yardages etc by themselves will only get you so far.