Courage under fire
I’m back after a short break.
A question that I keep getting asked is, “I’ve tried automating my swing but I’m still hitting poor shots”.
The first thing is that golf really is a difficult game and no matter how much you practise, how good your technique and whether you learn to automate your game or not, you will still hit poor shots. Sometimes they will come at the worst time. The goal of learning automation is to maximise your chances of playing your best golf.
The second point is automatic golf gives you a process to deal with poor shots. I sometimes think that playing good golf is not about hitting great shots – it’s about dealing with indifferent play and learning to minimise the damage.
Let me explain more …
One of the hardest things about playing automatic and instinctive golf is to keep the process going after a bad shot or two.
The temptation to make changes to your technique is strong when things go awry. But you must resist this change if you’re going to be the best you can be.
Yesterday, playing in a big club event, I hit one the worst tee shots in a long time. Using a three wood, I skied the ball off the toe of the club. The ball went straight left (I’m left handed) and into big trouble. Luckily for me the event was foursomes and my partner played two miraculous shots and got us out of big trouble.
The temptation was there to analyse what I did wrong and play safe. I did neither. Standing on the third tee I recommitted myself to letting go and trusting my subconscious to get the job done. Using my three-wood I pulled the trigger and nailed the shot down the middle of the fairway.
Instantly my confidence returned and I was able to perform well for the rest of the day. This is the magic of trusting the natural learning process and not getting bogged down on technical thoughts. I’m sure if I’d tried to work out what I did wrong with the first shot, I would have spent the rest of the day fidgeting and worrying about my swing.
This appears to be the right thing to do. Unfortunately I don’t think it works. For me, the most courageous and beneficial thing you can do after a bad shot or two is to think less and play more. Yes it can feel uneasy but you’ll maximise your chances of playing better and getting your round back on track. And it sure beats a long and boring round of working on your golf swing and chipping out of the trees.