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Are you sick of playing bad golf – part two?

bad golf

“Golfers who carry ball retrievers are gatherers, not hunters. Their dreams are no longer of conquest, but only of salvage.”David Owen

By Ian Hardie

In the article Are you sick of playing bad golf? I talked about giving a series of golf lessons to a golfer who many years before had been pretty good at the game

Not quite as good a golfer as the newly pronounced world number one golfer – Jordan Spieth but still a fairly handy golfer in most people’s eyes – with one glaring exception

The golfer having the lessons wasn’t in the slightest bit convinced that they were still any good at the game as the reason for having them being there was that they were

‘Absolutely sick of playing bad golf!’ and very close ‘to giving up this stupid game!’

Just remember those words when you look at their average score later on!

As I covered in that first article, like most golfers who come for lessons – the golfer wanted to spend some time going over all the fundamentals of technique that made up the shots they played in a game – fully convinced, like most golfers are

That the problems within their golf game were caused by their apparently poor technique

Which had the end result of massively affecting their golf scores (you might disagree with that when you see the numbers later) but as you may remember in my opinion the problems the golfer was having weren’t actually driven by poor technique

That was just the physical manifestation of the actual problem the golfer had

Something that became abundantly clear when I scheduled the next lesson for the golfer to be an on course playing lesson so I could see what was actually going on with this golfer

As the shots they were hitting during the lessons – were actually good enough to get the golfer back to the level that they used to play at and possibly even higher

Like a lot of golfers around the world who have previously played at a higher level

One of the issues that the golfer was having with their golf game – was caused by an ‘extra voice’ that was clearly residing deep in their head

Just waiting for an opportunity to come out and criticise the golfers current performance by comparing it with their ‘memory of just how good they used to be’ at the first sign of any golf shot that wasn’t hit perfectly

There are three things that were important in those bits above that you may want to consider further – if you find that you have a similar voice lurking somewhere in your head!

Firstly, the time difference between previously playing at a higher level was over 25 years for the golfer – something I will come back to soon

Secondly, they were basing things on their ‘memory of just how good they used to be’

Which means that if they were a normal human being – only the very good bits of their past performances would form their collective ‘memory’ – with all of the bad bits simply disappearing or being blanked out over the past 25 years

That is a crucial part of the puzzle because all golfers carry around with them a collection of thoughts that make up their golfing identity as I wrote about in this article

A ‘golfers identity’ is created by all sorts of thoughts, things, experiences and statements to do with their golf – and if all that they remember in terms of their shot quality or skills from years gone by are the really, really good ones – that can go towards convincing themselves at just how good that they used to be while generating a false perception of their skill level

Now, you may be thinking – ‘So what if they think they used to be better than they really were?’

Well, take a minute to consider how you react when you meet a golfer that tries to tell you how good they are at the game when you can clearly see that they are deluded and nowhere near that good – outwardly you will be pleasant to them while on the inside part of you will be thinking – ‘what a ………………!’

There’s a pretty good chance that a part of the golfers brain who was taking the lessons was thinking the same thing about the ‘great memories of skill’ that were in another part of that golfers brain

I’m pretty sure that things aren’t going to function well when any part of your brain thinks that you are deluded!

Thirdly, I figured that the ‘extra voice’ that was in the golfers head would only start to become vocal for ‘any golf shot that wasn’t hit perfectly’ – which is a common behaviour among many golfers – so let’s take a minute to consider just whether perfection is even possible in golf

Perfection can be defined variously as ‘the quality or state of being perfect or complete, the highest attainable state or degree of excellence, an ideal or faultlessness’

While golf is a game played with many basically uncontrollable variables affecting every golf shot that is played – so it’s pretty difficult to imagine that there is such a thing as a perfect golf shot – or that anyone ever has or will hit one

Plenty of effective shots are being played around the world as you read this but as for any of them or the golfers that are playing them being perfect – I think that’s a fairly unlikely idea

So take a minute right now to release any ideas of ‘perfection’ in golf that you have

As you may recall from that first article, I set the golfer a task to take some notes during their next game of golf as I wanted them to track a few things as they played which they went on to do but I’m not going to cover them now – instead I want to look at the final thing I got the golfer to do – which was to write a brief description about two totally different golfers that they knew

The first description I had the golfer write was about them when they were in their late teens:

I had played or thought about the game of golf every day for some years, often playing two rounds a day or hitting hundreds of golf shots in practice

I had very few close relationships, attachments or responsibilities and no money worries

I was in great physical shape being fit, flexible, had a good diet, didn’t drink alcohol or smoke

I would generally shoot somewhere between 2 under par and 3 over par for every round

The second description I had the golfer write was about them currently:

I haven’t played or thought about the game of golf very much for some years, I spent ten years not playing at all when my kids were young, I seldom hit any golf shots in practice and I only get to play once a week if I’m lucky

I have a wife, 2 kids, a sick parent, a mortgage on the house, college fees coming up, and my business that employs 6 people hasn’t been going well lately

I’m in a shape alright – round – I’m not fit or flexible, my diet is probably poor, I drink alcohol regularly and I smoke occasionally

The best I have shot in the last year was 3 over par but I mostly struggle to break 80 in my rounds

I’m sure that you will agree that those are two very different golfers both physically and mentally, not to mention chronologically

So, having the same expectations and judgements on their golf shots is ridiculous

Something that the golfer quickly understood when we talked about it but the thing that they found most useful was …………… exactly what I’ll be taking a look at in ‘Are you sick of playing bad golf – part three?’

Until then

Play well

By the way, if any of this is something that you are struggling with at the moment (or have been for some time) I would suggest that a good starting point for you to change things would be to get hold of a copy of this program and go through it

It certainly helped the golfer I’ve been talking about above!

7 Days to your best year of golf ever


Related Posts

Are you sick of playing bad golf?

What’s your golfing identity?

Why don’t we listen to that little voice?

7 Days to your best year of golf ever