A golfing mate quizzed me tonight on how I would rebuild my golf game if I had to start from scratch. This is not the first time I’ve been asked this question, and it was a bit of fun thinking about it.
The last five or so golfing years have been great for me. I reckon I’ve learned a thing or two and can help you rebuild your game.
I’m also sure you’d like to know what and how I’d do it all again if for some stupid reason I lost my game overnight. Here’s a list I compiled in a few minutes.
How I would rebuild my golf game
Lighten Up– This one would be high up on the list. Golfers take things too seriously sometimes. Although we think our golf games are life and death, they rarely are that important. I remember when a family friend took me aside and told me to stop being so serious. She told me to relax and stop being so serious. It took a little while but it certainly helped. Not only has it helped my golf game, but it affected all parts of my life.
Ignore Most – I’m not saying ignore everyone. You always need mentors and people to guide you but I recommend you ignore most. Playing partners and swing gurus are best given a wide berth. Learn to trust your skill and game and you’ll be on the right track.
Break Some Rules – I wasted years during my golfing development trying to swing in a way that I thought was correct. This is getting back to “Ignoring Most”. I can honestly say that when I stopped trying to swing in a certain way and just swung, my golf swing found a freedom that unlocked some real magic. Another way of saying this is “be different”.
Play more than I practice – I learned golf in the “Faldo Age”. The myth here was that he spent years on the practice fairway, perfecting and honing his swing. Golf coaches and mentors pushed many to follow the same path. The truth is that although he spent too much time on the fairway he did play at least nine holes each day. And when he played golf that is what he did. He stopped thinking about his swing and played a variety of shots to get the job done. This I believe is what allowed him to become the best in the world and win 6 majors.
Get a good set of clubs – I went through a patch during the mid nineties where I thought my bad golf was due to poor clubs. I changed clubs a lot. My shaft flex was never correct, nor the lie angle. My mind was scattered and I always had an excuse for poor golf. When I realised I was telling stories and the clubs had little impact on my play I was able to get to the bottom of uncovering real golfing success. Get a good set of clubs and stick with them, there’s nothing wrong with them.
Use rock solid fundamentals – The temptation is always to try different things and improve technique. Even today my mind wanders around thinking about ways I can improve my golf swing. This is something that I try and avoid. Been there and done that kind of thing – and never really had much success with it. Instead I rely on “my” fundamentals, these include;
- A comfortable and natural grip and stance
- A free flowing and simple swing – I like to feel like I’m throwing the club
- Play “my” shot – a draw with the irons and a fade with the driver
These simple fundamentals are rock solid. If I ever get tempted to rebuild my golf swing I remind myself about the above three. They will almost always get me back on track.
Avoid Golf Magazines – Read them for the articles and golf results but I would never use them for a source of golf learning. I’m struggling to think of anything that I’ve learned of value in them. Sad but true.
Work the short game – In my early days I spent a lot of time around a chipping green. Without enough money to hit range balls I opted for the vacant short game area. I didn’t know it at the time but this time was well spent. A reliable short game is incredibly important – maybe the easiest way to rebuild your game.
Aim for confidence – Confidence doesn’t just happen. I don’t think you can wish for it and you certainly can’t pay for it. Confidence comes when you can swing the club without fear or self-doubt. Then you realise that all of the control, worry and energy is wasted – that your real game shines through and this is better than anything you thought possible.
This is a big step to take but it makes golf worthwhile. I would never want to waste another second looking for the secret or a miracle cure. Playing golf with confidence is the ultimate. It makes the game fun and gives me the best score possible each time I play. There is no comparison to confidence. Daylight is second. It’s hard to put into words the euphoria felt when you know deep down you have everything you need to play great golf. The searching is over and all you have to do is play.
Help others – This one is warm and fuzzy but I have received tremendous enjoyment by helping others. This is something I would recommend and the hidden benefit in giving is that you continue to learn and develop.
This is by no means a definitive list. I’ll probably add to it in time and I’d like to hear you thoughts. Leave your comments in the comments section below. And feel free to pass it on to any golfer you know that is having trouble with their game.