Are you a panic golfer? When you miss a shot or two, do you start looking for ways to improve your swing? In years past, I was that exact golfer. I felt that when things started to veer off the rails, I needed to immediately change, adjust or tweak something in swing in order to get back on course. Naturally this was the wrong approach to improving my round and usually finished with a higher score than I expected. It was like rolling a snowball downhill, my challenges kept getting bigger and harder to manage.
Recently, I played two golf courses (see yesterday’s article) that challenged my desire to make changes to my golf swing. We were playing in a shotgun event and my very first tee shot was on a par 3, 156 yard straight shot. After chucking it severely, I was annoyed, but not feeling anxious enough to have to make changes. After my next fat chip, poor putt and then a poor drive on the next hole, I started to mentally review my strategy of staying the course.
Playing mental ping pong on whether to start making adjustments, I talked my self out of any changes because of the following: it was my first 18 holes of the year, my season was only a week old, and this was a fun event with no pressure to excel. Hence, I calmed myself down and played a roller coaster round of good and poor shots. In reality, this type of round was to be expected given how rusty my game was after a 6 month layoff.
Staying the course during a round is actually very important. Trying to adjust our game while playing rarely results in anything positive. I have found that making a mental note of my challenges is a great place to start for improving my game. Usually, my swing woes correct themselves and by staying the course, I shoot a better golf score than if I started to make corrections.
The only real place to improve our golf game is at the practice facility. Putting, chipping and hitting balls on the range are areas I always address at one time or another when honing my skills. I do, however, remember my challenges from previous rounds and decide whether they still need addressing.
Golf is a slow burn type of game. There are a few players who seem to naturally pick up the game, however for the most of us it is all about staying the course. Focusing on the long game with segments of specific practice has served me well over the years. I think this process will help any player wanting to improve their game. Regardless of how you approach improving your game, remember to enjoy the journey and be grateful for all the small victories.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!