“Properly fitted clubs are the only part of improved golf that anyone can buy.” – Tommy Armour
By Ian Hardie
In the article The reality of every golf shot that you hit I began with a simple question which you may recall was:
“What is the reality of this moment?”
For most golfers, the first thought that would have entered their mind is that ‘they were reading’ and even though they may have thought that was the only thing they had going on at that time
The reality would have been that many other things were happening in their brain as well
In fact, it’s extremely unlikely that their brain would have been ‘only be focussing on reading’ and given the myriad of functions it can perform at any one time – most of which we are not aware of as humans
It was probably using considerably less than 1% of its vast resources ‘to read’
Which brings me nicely to the point of today’s article, taking a look at whether you are really allowing yourself to focus on your golf game?
The instant response from most golfers to this question will be things like:
‘Yes, of course I do’
‘I focus fully on every golf shot that I hit’
‘Golf is the only thing on my mind while I’m playing’
But if we think about the fact that those conscious thoughts that you are aware of are considerably less than 1% of what’s really going on in your brain – just like the ‘reading’ example I gave above
I’m not so sure that’s really what’s happening when most golfers are out there
Now, before you think I’m suggesting that you aren’t able to focus properly – I’d like you to take a closer look at the image at the top of this article and pay close attention to just how long it takes your mind to begin to ‘give up’ trying to figure out how that image can possibly work – as it simply doesn’t make sense in the three dimensional world that we would ordinarily expect to see a staircase in
By the way, if you aren’t aware the image is of a thing called the Penrose stairs – also known as the impossible staircase
It is a two-dimensional depiction of a staircase in which the stairs make four 90-degree turns as they ascend or descend yet form a continuous loop, so that a person could climb them forever and never get any higher – something that is clearly impossible in three dimensions but not in the two dimensional image that you see
Enough about that though – how long were you able to look at it before all sorts of other thoughts flooded into your mind?
Most people who look at that image experience a fairly short period of time before those ‘other thoughts’ start flooding into their mind – simply as it’s a normal human reaction to have a bunch of thoughts that are normally ‘not noticeable’ – suddenly pop into your mind when things get tricky and your conscious thoughts get a bit muddled
You might want to read that bit again to make sure you have that!
It’s something that you have probably experienced on the golf course at some point:
Let’s imagine you are playing well for the first 14 holes of a game – as after working on your golf for some time you have discovered that by making a point of thinking about only one or two key thoughts for your game and ignoring everything else – you play much better
You’re in the zone, you finally have it figured out, PGA / LPGA Tour – here I come!
Then on the 15th hole, one of your playing partners hits an absolutely amazing shot out of trouble to within inches of the flag – from a position that you would have expected that they would have had to chip out from – at best
Amazed at what you have just seen, it’s enough to break your focus for just long enough to allow some of those thoughts that up till that point – you had managed to keep out of your mind
‘That shot was amazing, I don’t think I could have played that’
Which quickly leads on to:
‘I probably would have ruined my good round that I have going if I was in that position’
Which leads to:
‘I am really playing well today, I need to keep this up until the end’
Which leads to:
‘I’m going to play safe for the next few holes – I don’t want to blow it’
Which as you may know ends up finally as:
‘I blew it – again!’
Sound familiar to you?
The good news is that you aren’t alone in experiencing things like that – in fact, it just confirms that you are the same as every other human being that plays the game of golf
Now before you start to think – “I don’t to be the same as every other golfer, I want to be able to focus better than that” – the first thing that I suggest you do is to take a look at this really useful article that will help with that
Once you have read and understood what I’m saying in that article, the next thing that you need to do is take some time to answer a question that will begin to allow you to focus on your golf game – much better than you do now – in fact way better
Be warned before you attempt to answer it though – it’s a pretty tough one to answer!
As it will be driving a bunch of those thoughts that you normally will manage to keep below your conscious stream of thought in the ‘not noticeable’ department while you are ‘focusing on your game’
Below the surface though, the many thoughts that you will no doubt have to do with this question will be swimming around – just waiting for a gap in your focus – so they can flood into your mind and wreak their havoc
It doesn’t sound very pleasant in there does it?
Which is why the best way to allow yourself to focus on your golf game – is to work out the answer to the question and lay those thoughts to rest
“C’mon Ian, just ask the darn question and let me get on with it” – I hear you thinking
Well, Ok but let me reiterate what I said before – it’s a tough question
The reason it’s so tough is exactly the reason why your focus on your golf game will exponentially improve once you get it figured out – if you don’t quit golf first of course
And by the way, yes you read that right!
So, now that you have been sufficiently warned – here is the big question:
Do you ever feel guilty that you’re out playing golf?
As you can imagine, there are a bunch of things that can follow those words – all of which can generate feeling of guilt in that ‘not noticeable’ department of your brain – such as:
When there is so much poverty in the world?
When you really should be at work?
When you could be spending time with your family?
There are plenty of things that can go on the end of the question aren’t there?
I’ll be taking a look at a few more of them and how you can deal with them in “Are you really allowing yourself to focus on your golf game – part two?”
Until then make sure that you spend some time considering whether you ever feel guilty that you’re out playing golf – when……………………………