Jumping to Confusion

Lost and Confused SignpostHave you ever walked up to your ball with a club already in your hand before you actually looked at what was going on around you? This usually happens when a player is familiar with the course and draws conclusion before their next shot. We are all guilty of it, but is it really a case of familiarity or confusion?

One of the major challenges to members of a golf course is familiarity. Many players use the same club off the same tee all the time. Next they walk to their ball with the exact distance in mind; then select their club because it is the one they always use! After shooting the same score over and over, they question what is wrong!

Complacency on the golf course is a real challenge for most players. It causes them to stop thinking and to play golf on autopilot. Playing without thinking is the root of many challenges for amateurs. Having a preset plan on each hole stagnates the development of the famous Jack Nicklaus course management, degrades the Seve Ballesteros shot ingenuity, and limits their Lee Trevino’s love of the game!

Ultimately, by jumping to confusion players limit their ability to lower their score. Fortunately, there is a fix to this quagmire – change your approach to playing your favorite course. Instead of using your driver, use your three wood off the tee. Instead of bashing the ball each time, play to your favorite distance to the green. Instead of pin hunting, shoot for the middle of the green. There are many fixes, the real approach is just deciding to make a change.

As Jack Nicklaus says: Success depends almost entirely on how effectively you learn to manage the game’s two ultimate adversaries: the course and yourself. The only thing that a player can control is themselves; so instead of jumping to confusion, try something different. Only you can decide what changes are required, but changes are required if you want to lower your score!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Your Ego and Golf

ego2-drhannanEgo is your best friend and your worst enemy! Ego helps drive our dreams and at the same time hold us back. Is it possible that ego could be the magic bullet that can morph your game from average to fantastic? The quick answer is yes and here is how.

Ego is the furnace that heats the dreaded fear! It is the great inhibitor that stops golfers from achieving their goals and releasing the great golfer locked inside their body. Many would argue that ego does not play any part in their game. They would state categorically that they are in total control of all aspects of their game and could improve all aspects if they desired.

Maybe that is so, however before drawing a line in the sand answer the following questions

  • Would you be willing to lose 20 yards on your drive for one month to increase your overall distance by 20 yards if it meant your scores would increase by 5-10 strokes for three weeks?
  • Would you be willing to change your grip to improve accuracy if it meant that for two months you would struggle with finding the fairway?
  • Would you be willing to change your approach to course management if it meant months of frustration, but eventually your new approach lowers your score?
  • Are you willing to examine your game, decide on a corrective course of action and work at it indefinitely knowing that eventually it would lower your score?

If you answer yes to all these questions, then congratulations you are one of the rare few whose ego plays no part in their game. If you answered no, then you are in the majority of golfers who like the idea of changing their game, but are unwilling to follow through.

Through the years I have talked to many players who took lessons from their local professional only to find that they reverted back to their old ways because the advice was just not working. After a casual conversation, they found the process to frustrating and decided to work out their challenges in other ways. This particular situation is nothing new and without realizing it, the players let ego stop them from becoming a better player.

Personally, I have experienced many attacks from my ego. In my early years, ego ruled my golf game. My focus was on hitting the ball hard and long regardless of direction.  Finally, when the frustration factor grew to high, I would try to make a change. After losing distance, I immediately reverted back to my grip it and rip it approach because I could not accept being 25 yards behind my playing partners. I seemed to overlook the fact that I was in the fairway and still had the same score. My ego blinded me to the success of hitting the ball straighter and in the long run improving my game. Fortunately, age and experience has helped me conquer my dreaded ego – most of the time!

During this year’s drive for scratch, I will see many conflicts with my ego. Fortunately, I am aware of the this beast and ready to do battle. My first battle will be to improve the performance of my 3-wood. At one time, it was the best club in my bag, but over the past couple of years it has become erratic and unreliable. I took my 3-wood granted and paid the price. The use of this club is critical to scoring low because I am not a long hitter and need the 225 yards (or more on a good day) on the par 5 approach shots.

If history repeats itself, this focused change will be both frustrating and rewarding at the same time. Regardless, I will not let my ego stoke my fear and prevent me from improving my game. I expect it will take two solid months before I will feel comfortable and doubt-free when hitting my 3-wood. This time will be well spent and for the greater good of my game.

Ego is your best friend and your worst enemy! This year, I have decided that ego is going to be my best friend! It is a constant battle, but those with the desire to improve will conquer their ego and elate in their success.

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!