Golf is a tough game! Anyone who has devoted any amount of time to playing this awesomely frustrating sport knows that at any time great or disastrous things can happen. It is because we have any control over some events even though we think the opposite. I cannot remember the number of times that my round has change significantly (good or poor) for the swing of one club. The mental challenges to the unknown results does force many players into a tailspin. But not me, I have decided (actually years ago) not to focus on the short game, but to say focused on the long term results of improving my game.
Throughout my golfing journey, I have often thought that my game had turned the corner and I was on the upward swing of success. Of course, this has happened as many times as the corner revealed a downward trend in my playing. I often wondered why I was going in the wrong direction until one faithful day I figured out the reason and it was so simple!
I accepted the fact that golf is a tough game and that the only aspect of my participation in this crazy sport is how I think and feel at any given time. I realize that this sounds crazy, but keeping my mind positive always garnered better results than if I spiraled down the dark tunnel of fear. Yup, I changed my mental attitude and found that I played better golf in the short and long term. Seems like a crazy idea and you would be correct except for the 25 years of success I believe I have experienced because of my choice to remain positive.
To be honest, this is not always the easiest thing to accomplish. There were many instances that tested my resolve and I am not afraid to admit that I failed sometimes. However, over the long run staying positive helped my game achieve the successes I sought during my journey.
Fast forward to today. My game has plateaued over the past three or four years. I have tried to move to the next level with limited success. I have sparks of greatness and think that I am on my way only to smacked down by this crazy game. I do not worry too much about my ups and downs anymore because I think I have accepted that unless I am going to devote a greater amount of time to improving, my game will not ultimately change. Wishing it so does not make it happen.
What does all of this mean, well for the time being I will keep trying to improve. I have some facilities to help, but I am not sure I want to dedicate more time to playing/thinking/writing about golf. I wonder if that is the right path or am I feeling the doldrums of the long winter’s nap? I am not really sure, but I do know golf will always be there to lift me up or smack me down depending on how I mentally approach the off-season and starting next April, the 2023 golf season.
For now, my musings will remain musings. I will continue to write and use my DIY driving net in the garage. I will wait to see what happens in the upcoming season, but make now mistake that I am wary of golf’s intention to make me earn my success.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “What I The Toughest Part Of Golf?”
I’d say it’s taming the mind. But then I look at every error I make as a mental error. Swing related or not.
The mental error may be in choosing to train myself rather than seeing a pro. It may be thinking I’m better than I am or not having enough faith in myself. It could be failure to use the right swing thought or failure to put my body into the correct position before the shot so that I can make it without needing to deal with being out of place on the fly. It’s all of it mental error in one way or another.
And the fact that we’re aging doesn’t mean we can’t get better at this game. It may be that we are never going to reach the distances we’re seeing on the pro tour, but we’ve been beating longer hitters for a long time to reach this level. There’s tons of guys that can outdrive me but not out play me. And I get beat often enough by guys who can’t reach my distances. It’s not about hitting longer. It’s about being more consistently in play and out of trouble is all. Well that and having a razor sharp short game.
Having more stats is one way you might consider. The shot scope stats show my putter has been pretty good during the 17 rounds I’ve got recorded now. And looking at the make percentage by distance numbers I see exactly where I need to put in time on the greens. And surprisingly, it’s the 3-6 foot range. The testers. I drop 98% inside that, and 69% in the 6-9 foot range but only 56% of the 3-6 footers are falling. From 9-12 I show 42% and 12-18 40%. 31% of the 18-24 footers are falling for me. I even know how many strokes each of those stats are comprised of so I can weight them. Like 3-6 includes 66 attempts. So there’s a good 25 strokes lost across just 17 rounds that I can work on not losing as often going forward.
And that I believe comes from a mental failure. I spend lots of time practicing from 9 feet in my home. And when I get on the practice greens I tend to practice longer putts for speed control. And I’m leaving out the knee knockers. Likely I’m trying too often to die them into the hole rather than ram them in I’d bet, but we’ll see. It’s a target area to improve now so it’s getting added to the practice routing.
Oh, and I picked up another small donut to keep with me in the bag. I love those things for taking practice swings before a round. I tend to use it on the 4 wood to warm up because it also helps me find the swing. It’s easier to swing it fast right than it is to do it wrong. It doesn’t take long to find that out. I took maybe 8-10 swings with it. Took it off and took just a couple more and then drove the green off the first tee tonight. Short of the flag by 20 and right by 10, but on the green with the first tee shot all thanks to find the right swing first and then just letting it happen. It fits in my back pocket so I can use it on the first tee and tee off before putting it back in the bag. Quick, easy warm up and speed training to boot. For like 6 bucks.
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There is quite a bit to unpack in your comment. I agree that knowing our game, whether on the green or otherwise, is a stroke saver. There is no one solution that fits all and your use of stats would be an eye-opener for everyone. Keeping all what you said in mind, I like your approach to your game (after many discussions) and your success is built on a strong foundation.
Reading your thoughts brings me to one of my all time favorite “golf sayings” and I believe the most accurate advice anyone can get about this game we love so much.
Instructor Martin Hall says If you keep on doing what you have been doing, you “will” keep on getting what you have been getting.
It is irrefutable. Fingers crossed for an early spring Jim.
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Thanks Doug. That is a great saying. I love it.