For The Tribers

This post is for those Tribers that have made a real effort over the last few months. You know who you are.

It seems the automatic approach can be difficult to obtain for some golfers. Here are some more thoughts on the subject.

1. Automatic golf is not a quick fix. If you’re expecting an instant cure you’ll be disappointed. What is required is an understanding that it is the right thing to do and then perseverance to hang in there.

In my own case it took nearly two years to automate and improve my putting. Sometimes I walk onto the green and it feels terrible – I lack confidence and I’m nervous. But by trusting the system I’m able to negotiate those bad times and pull through. When I’m feeling good my putting is awesome!

The same goes for the full swing, chipping and putting – you need to automate and you need to be patient.

2. It requires constant dedication. Training your system to play golf without a lot of conscious control is a continuous battle. It can feel horrible sometimes – but these are the times that you must let go and play without hesitation. There is no other option.

Talking with friends and clients and using my own experience the problem I see consistently is golfers changing their approach when they’re not feeling good. They play safe – steer the ball or don’t commit. The reality is that you’ll never feel super confident all the time. The trick is to play that way – even when everything is feeling bad.

If you want to play your best golf you need to have an “I don’t care attitude”. This is easy to do on the practice fairway or in social rounds. When it does matter it becomes much harder. But are you able to step up and swing freely and confidently when you’re nervous and playing for $1000 dollars?

The best players, and this includes professionals and seasoned club golfers, are able to play the same way all the time. They don’t let the situation get the better of them – they don’t change their approach and they don’t worry about their swing. They play – that is all they do.

My mate Ev is a great player. He really is. He is still learning he doesn’t need to do anything differently under pressure other than trust his subconscious. In the past he has tried too hard, thought too much and over complicated things. He is nearly over the hump – he has experienced the difference between conscious play and subconscious (automatic) play. He has made some huge progress and looks set for a breakthrough.

The hard thing with automatic golf improvement is that it’s not possible to read about it, watch it or even talk about it. You have to experience it. You have to live it and the only way to do this is to get out there and swing naturally – without fear of consequences or result. Yes the result is important – but you can’t allow your swing to be affected by what you want to achieve. Get out of your own way and swing the club in a way that will allow you to soar. Here’s a few tips:

  • stop thinking about your score
  • stop thinking about your swing
  • stop tinkering with your clubs
  • stop tinkering with your swing
  • stop thinking about your handicap
  • stop worrying about results
  • stop making stories up about what may or may not happen
  • stop analysing

But most of all start playing. Here’s my basic rules for playing golf:

1. Work out what you want to do. This is vitally important

2. Choose a club that will get the job done

3. Distract your conscious mind for the duration of the shot (this is not negotiable)

4. You should be swinging automatically and naturally

5. Repeat until you hole out on 18 and for every round you play in the future.

It’s fun and it does work. Steady Oz has worked it out – it took him some time but he has achieved a level of mastery that most will never know. He continues to improve and is rewarded by shooting the best score possible.

If you have any specific questions please let me know.

Keep striving,

Cameron

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ESteady - April 13, 2009

Hi Cameron!

Thanks for your effort. It must have taken considerable time to sit down and compile your latest post.

Cameron, I hear everything you say and have bought into the natural learning /automatic philosophy, so please don’t think that I’m being awkward / argumentative, but what you have said above does not deal with my particular situation. I know how to go auto and I am trying to do so but seem unable to distract my concious mind for the duration of the shot. Do you have any suggestions other than counting, humming, whistling etc.

It’s not that I am thinking technical thoughts whilst I play my shots, or indeed thinking about the target or any of the other suggestions various gurus advocate, I just simply can’t get my concious mind to stop thinking about going automatic! Have you ever had anyone else with this or a similar problem? What about you other Tribers?

I honestly believe that automatic is the most natural and stress free way of playing golf and that is why I have persevered this far with very little success. Believe me, I am not the type of guy who gives up at the first hurdle!! However, we are no longer talking philosophy, we are talking the practical nuts and bolts of trying to get the job done. So please let me know if you have any thoughts on my specific problem.

Same goes for the rest of you Tribers. I’m sure you’ll all appreciate it’s one thing grasping and buying into a philosophy but what’s the point if you can’t implement the system. What distraction techniques do you other guys use?

Cheers

ESteady

Reply
Cam Strax - April 13, 2009

Hi Esteady,

I’ve just finished watching The Masters and will write more about it on my golf blog later today.

OK – I understand what you’re saying and I know you’re not being argumentative. I do think the above post is perfectly suited to you because thinking about automatic is not playing automatically – you need a neutral thought like, “why do pink elephants always tie their shoelaces with their eyes closed?” (that was very random wasn’t it?)

You can’t stop your mind from thinking – it is natural for it to do so and fighting this causes too much trouble – let the thoughts come and go and you’ll be able to find your mojo.

The mind can be a difficult beast to tame. It does take time. One strategy that works well is to just ignore those thougths that come and go. Don’t give them any attention. You really have to lose yourself in the distraction – work out what you want to achieve and then go for it – let your conscious mind focus on the automatic cue.

You could also be trying too hard. Give yourself a break and let your natural swing and style find itself – you could be getting in your own way.

Do you think too much when you throw a ball?
Do you think too much when you drive a car?
Do you analyse how to walk down stairs?

The answer is usually no. You’re putting too much emphasis on the technique. Relax and have the mindset “it doesn’t matter”. Let the game free wheel and you’ll make a breakthrough.

One thing that I’ve always said is that you need to experience this process. It’s easy to read, talk and think about it. But you’re only a real automatic golfer when you have experienced the euphoria of instinctive play. It’s like magic and is hard to describe in words.

Finally, you may get results by feeling the swing. Instead of thinking, you can feel what is happening. This assumes that you’re not judging, just experiencing and feeling what is happening throughout your golf swing.

My advice is to ease up a bit – have some fun and stop trying so hard.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

Cameron

Reply
Lukey (Tony Lucas) - April 13, 2009

Hi Cam
I agree with everything your saying and will continue to talk to yourself and the Steady’s and bit by bit I feel sure I will achieve automation
Cheers Lukey

Reply
ESteady - April 14, 2009

Hi Cameron

Thanks for your further input! I hope others are gaining as much insight from your posts as I think I am beginning to!

Relax and have the mindset “it doesn’t really matter”. Do you genuinely believe that this way of thinking (or not thinking as the case may be!!!) is suitable for everyone? Surely you accept that there can be different mental approaches to the game. For example Hogan / Snead, Nicklaus / Palmer or Faldo / Ballesteros.

I don’t want to come across as some sort of uptight, control freak because that is not who I am. You may not believe this from my posts but I am very relaxed and never let my performance on the golf affect me away from the game. However, I have always really enjoyed being very competitive (I play golf for the competition and the challenges competitive golf brings) and whilst I enjoy every aspect of the golfing experience (the outdoors, the scenery, my playing companions etc) my two main motivations for playing have always been to shoot consistently good scores and to improve my game where possible. I tend to think think of myself as an analytical player rather than a flair player. Whilst I admire and totally respect the likes of Snead, Palmer and Ballesteros, the other guys I mentioned were/are my heros.

I’m beginning to ramble now so I’ll leave it there for now. I am certainly not finished with playing auto! It may be that I just need a little longer to incorporate it into my game!!!!

Good golfing and thanks again for your input.

Cheers

ESteady

Reply
Cam Strax - April 14, 2009

Hi Esteady,

You make some interesting points. Here’s my take.

All those players you mentioned reached the pinnacle of their game because they played automatically.

I’m a big fan of all of these guys – but lets use Faldo as an example. (he’s more recent 🙂 )

It is widely accepted that Faldo was a control freak – he spent two years rebuilding his game and changing his swing.

What is not commonly know is that during that time he played 9 holes everyday in tournament mode. He attempted to shoot the best score possible and played without concern of his swing. It’s this ability that I think made him a great player…

Sure the new swing technique gave him some confidence – but the ability to pull the trigger in competition without fear or self-doubt is what made him great.

The same can be said for Nicklaus (my hero)and others.

The automatic approach gives the analytical person scope to think and analyse. The deal is that you have to do this behind the ball – not over it.

I can assure you that you will never reach your full level if you’re playing tightly and with too much control.

I’ve been working very closely with a mate and control freak named Ev. He was a complete skeptic for quite sometime. Although he was able to get his handicap down to about 4, he never really played that well.

On Saturday he had a breakthrough. He stopped trying to play and let it happen. He played the best nine holes of his life. He said I was a genius. I told him he was the genius as he was the one that was playing – not me.

So analyse if you want to – but you need to free up while you’re actually playing.

I hope this helps.

Cameron

Reply
John Stead - April 14, 2009

HI Cam,
great posts from all the tribers. ESteady, it is so scary how much you and I are alike. I’m ultra competitive, wanting to suceed/improve/win. You could play me in cards,snooker/pool,golf,darts chess etc I will be trying to woop your ass.Not in a nasty way but just be competitive. However I have come to 2 conclusions in my sometimes shitty compettitve streak and that is this. I’m not the best at everything and don’t ever give up..
I can relate so much to your story, of often failures if you want to call it that. There is no quick fix. However Cameron is right that you have to let go and get so focused on your counting, saying something that is so unrelated to golf or what ever.
Don’t use this as part of your routine but just take in the following words by Eminem’s song Lose yourself

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

Hope this helps.
Steady(oz)

Reply
ESteady - April 14, 2009

Hi Cameron

This is great! Our chats are definitely beginning to sink in!

So what you’re saying is that I can analyse as much as I like provided that I let go and play automatic for the few seconds it takes to play each shot!!! Now I’ve got it!

This is very similar to the ‘Think Box. Play Box.’ used by Annika Sorenstam’s mentors Pia Nilsson and Lyn Marriott. I really like their take on learning to play golf and there are a lot of parallels with your method.

I was misinterpreting things in that I was trying to allow everything to be automatic, i.e club selection, shot shape, green reading, the whole works!!!!

Just confirm one more thing for me and I will go away and practice (mentally) and leave you alone to work on your other projects! I may be wrong (yet again!) but in your Perfect Putting System don’t you say that a golfer effectively does not have to read the green because the subconcious will do that for him/her? This is basically what I have been trying to do with my game as a whole and certainly in competition it has not been effective.

If you can confirm that the only time I need to go automatic is for the duration of the shot itself I will feel more comfortable and I’m sure I will be able to re-commit to trying this again in competition.

Once again, thanks for all your time and effort. You must really love all this to give your time for free. I’m sure all the other Tribers are equally as grateful as I am for the opportunity to hear from someone who clearly knows what they are talking about and is not trying to brainwash us into purchasing their product.

Do you have a favourite charity to which I might make a small donation in return for your efforts?

Cheers

ESteady

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ESteady - April 14, 2009

Hi Steady(Oz)

This Tribe business has suddenly got a good deal more interesting, eh!

I’m now glad we all persevered. Shame there aren’t more of us though, don’t you think? Can’t believe that you, Cam, Lukey and me are the only ones who watch this Blog!

Yeah, just the nicknames being the same was a coincidence but if we are that similar that is quite freaky. All I can say is that I hope your not as bald as I am!!!!!!!!!!

Shame we’re all so far apart. I bet we would make an interesting 4 ball.

Cheers

ESteady

Reply
Cam Strax - April 14, 2009

Esteady,

Sorry for the confusion. My fault not yours.

Yes, you can use your conscious mind to work out club selection, wind, rain, distance ….anything. But you need to go automatically when you hit the ball.

When you really get into the flow you can play many shots entirely automatically. This includes club selection and reading greens. This is the master level and really is like magic.

I will be honest. I have ever intention of making a profit one day from this info. You guys have got in early and are helping me make a better product. Believe me, you’re helping me more than me you.

Thanks for your offer – feel free to donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal or maybe something in Italy after the earthquake. I may ask you guys to provide video or audio testimonials down the track. SteadyOz could be in real trouble.

Good golfing,

Cameron

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John Stead - April 15, 2009

ESteady,
my hair is either going grey or falling out. I get called fryer tuck by my inlaws.
BTW I’m sure once you come to understand about going automatic your game has to improve. Why because your subconscious is playing not your analytical/critising self playing.
Cheers and all the best.
Steadyoz
PS Tony stick with it.

Reply
Lukey (Tony Lucas) - April 15, 2009

Cam and the steady’s
Just reading everything you guys have been saying it would appear we are very similar becuase my wife said to watch it or I would suffer with paralysis from analysis and I nearly did.By the way I am grey and thinning on the top and yes I’m very competitive as well and yes I like to play well.When I sat back and thought when I played snooker and darts I would normally win when I had the devil may care attitude (auto process ?) freaky isn’t it.Also when talking to my best mate the other evening (another golf tragic) we both realised we played our best golf when wait for it we appeared to play on auto pilot.I do look forward to our continued contact and the chance for me to share with you that special day when it occurs.
Cheers Lukey

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Brent n - April 15, 2009

Cameron,
have been busy working and golf has been on the back burner. Played a round in an open , with no expectations other than try to enjoy. came in with a decent score . Then shot the best score i have ever carded the following weekend and lost a stroke.
What you say makes sense to me, although at times i still tend to think over the ball.
Thanks for your help.

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Andrew - April 18, 2009

Cameron
the last competitive game I played on 22/03 I hit the ball reasonably well (had some mis-directed hits) but it felt very automated where I thought about what shot/where I’m going to hit the ball (behind the ball) then set up and hit it. The score was average but it could have been lower as I made a few 3 putts. I had a practice round of 18 holes for the first time in 4 weeks and felt a bit rusty but I hit some very good shots (shot 78 off the stick) but I putted very well having 27 putts. I took the “I don’t care attitude” approach and it worked reasonably well. I think I still have a long way to go in being fully automated but it feels like I’m getting there

Reply
Lukey (Tony Lucas) - April 18, 2009

Hi guys
Good to see we have a couple of extras joining in and that things are working but could I get Cam or Steady oz to have a look at what I have written under the tribe section.
Cheers Lukey

Reply
Declan Toal - April 25, 2009

hi cam .i have been working very hard on automtic golf and it was working fine but i have a scratch cup on shortly and i seem to be going to practice ground it seems like i am trying to find faults to fix beforehand .as tournaments start to pile up i am finding it harder to stay automatic. great reading all the other guys thoughts.

Reply
Cam Strax - May 1, 2009

G’day Tribers,

Great to see some others joining in. This was always the goal of The Tribe. There is so much good info on the website now that I reckon it can help any golfer improve.

Keep up the good work.

Cameron

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