The Timbo Letter

This lesson was originally a reply to an email. It turned out to be much more than that. A Cameron rant that is a useful lesson for all Tribe members. To get the full story please join The Golf Tribe.

Dear Tim,

I can hear your pain. Golf can be frustrating at times and sometimes all the hard work seems to be wasted. But you’ve got to hang in there. Why?

Because you’re a pioneer. And you’re not a pioneer for the automatic golf movement, for me or anyone else. You’re a pioneer for your own golf game. Because only YOU know how to play Timbo’s way. Only you know what you really want to get out of the game.

And this is the first step. Why are you playing? What do you want to achieve? This might seem a little deep and meaningful but let me use my story to illustrate.

I used to be obsessed with my golf swing. It was all I ever thought about. I used to worry what others would think and I would tweak it from the first tee to the last. I could play some good golf at times but never could I play with any consistency. I can appreciate your pain and frustration because I used to be the Captain of that ship. But not anymore.

I have changed.

Realising that the golf swing obsession is a lie and a waste of time made me a better player. I woke up (I wish I could remember the exact day) and decided I was going to play the way I wanted to.

Hit the shots that I wanted
Swing the way that felt good to me
Play the course in a way that suits me
Approached the game my way

No golf coach or mentor can give you this Timbo. It has to come from you. And here’s the thing…

For the most part life is not about promoting this mindset. School, University and employment is about conforming. The golf industry and its coaches want you to conform to a set of rules that are unlikely to suit you. When you realise this you can become a pioneer of your game.

My goal now is to play my way. I don’t care about my swing (there’s not much I can do about it on the golf course anyway – it’s too late) and I certainly don’t care what others think of my game or the way I play.

You might have heard of some trouble in the golf team this year. Most of it came about because I would not conform to rules that said I had to do things a certain way. I refused – unwilling to change my approach for individuals who refuse to walk their own path and think for themselves. The cookie cutter approach is for lazy educators – those not willing to explore and strive for remarkable.

My attitude caused some unrest in what is a super conservative club in a conservative sport. But they get over it – especially when your golf clubs do the talking πŸ™‚

I’m not saying jump up and down and make a fuss. But be clever. Use your practice time to develop your game further. Learn a new chip shot. Then own it. And don’t stuff about – your practice time is golden so don’t waste it! You’ll look back at those times as the best fun you’ve had.

And ignore what others are doing. Most will bash balls for hours on end. No goal or objective in mind. What a waste! You need to be smarter Timbo. Treat every shot as your last. Pretend you’re out on the golf course and each shot is important.

You’ll then be training your system for actual play. I’ve been saying for a long time that you’ve gotta practice like you play – not play like you practice. Read that sentence again. It’s also important.

Eventually, no shot will be a mystery. You’ll be in control and be able to handle everything the game can throw at you.

A pioneer has to play the game. Not only the game of golf but he needs to understand how to play the conforming game. So my advice is don’t upset the apple cart too much – but don’t be afraid to stick up for what you believe in. It’s a fine line but you’ll work out how to sort any issues.

Here’s a story you might not know:

A few years ago I quit golf. I was sort of still playing but mentally I was finished. I had had enough and playing good golf seemed like an impossibility.

My problem was putting. I seriously couldn’t get the ball into the hole from a foot. The yips were so bad that I would feel sick each time I walked onto the green. And it was embarrassing! The club hackers could beat me and nobody could help me. Talk about being lost at sea!

I had a decision to make. Would I quit or would I do something about it?

For the next two-years (yes, it took two years) I hit every putt automatically. I stopped trying to analyse and I did my very best to relax and not worry. There were some horrendous times – like when I four-putted from one-metre or when in front of the entire golf team I dropped kicked a short putt and left it short of the hole.

But I kept trucking. Determined to break free from the years of BS and conscious control. And I never hit a putt without going through my routine or letting fear get the better of me. I made up my mind that I would NEVER let fear influence my game again.

Change.

It wasn’t magic but things started happening. I would walk onto the green and feel no nerves. I would be thinking about the weather or talking shop. I was relaxed and the three-footers starting finding the hole. I sunk tricky putts to win golf matches. People started telling me I was a good putter. It wasn’t long that putting became a strong part of my game.

Why am I telling you this?

Because to be a pioneer takes commitment. It takes a burning desire to be the best that you can be. Automatic golf is not a miracle cure (I get annoyed when people expect it to work instantly). The conformists are all searching for the quick fix. Each practice session or game is about looking for the one thing that will work today. A pioneer doesn’t do that.

A pioneer plays their way no matter what. They’re not looking for magic because they know it doesn’t exist. A pioneer puts their faith and trust in themselves and then stands backs and plays golf. There’s no rushing or panicking. They play golf and move on. Comfortable in the fact that each time they play they’re getting a little bit better.

So Timbo. You have to hang in there. Don’t be in a rush. And be prepared to walk your own path. You don’t get a second go at this. Will you be able to look back in 50 years and say you played the game exactly how YOU wanted? I encourage you to take a stroll (or a hundred) and really work out how you want to play.

And it’s not about winning or your handicap or breaking par. At least I don’t think it is. It’s also not about how many fairways or greens you hit. Statistics are a distraction. The real beauty in golf happens when you can walk off the course saying you’ve played the game your way. There is nothing more rewarding.

And the fun part?

Winning and success will take care of themselves.

I’ll talk to you soon.

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Grayden Provis - April 27, 2010

5 stars.

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Tony Lucas - April 27, 2010

Cam
How true the above is having just completed our club foursomes championships (hit,shit,sorry)I was surprised how calm I was even when things were not quite going the way they should.We experienced horrific conditions on the last nine (gale force winds)but it only steeled my reserve and tried harder and harder to stick with auto.I will also note I have not received confirmation yet but I think we have won B grade .
Cheers Lukey

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Bernie Folkes - April 27, 2010

Hi Cam “et al”
Great post. With my makeup, I am always trying my best at everything I do. Unfortunately this can and does get me into trouble at times (at least that’s what my wife says). I have looooooooooong given up on being a scratch golfer. I really don’t care toooooooooo much about my “Andy Capp” these days. I just want to enjoy myself.
However, my makeup up at times prevents me from doing this. In Cam’s words “….I have to continue trucking….”.
cheers all.
Bernie

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    Cameron - April 28, 2010

    @ Bernie: Maybe the toughest skill is learning to try without trying. You care but you don’t get in your own way. The ability to swing the club without fear and hesitation is an important one. One day I might be able to explain this better.

    Keep trucking….

    Reply
Frank Varga - April 27, 2010

Well said, congrats Cam

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Tim Hardham - April 28, 2010

Cam,
I thank you very much for the above post. I am very appreciative of the help you have given me over recent years and of the constant support you offer when I feel “lost” or lose my way. I have decided that I am going to copy the above post, print it out and put it on my wall. The advice contained within definately leads to the path that I want to take and it will serve as a constant reminder to “PLAY GOLF MY WAY”.

Your words have re-ignited my golfing passion and when I return I know I am going to give you a run for your money. πŸ™‚

I am very excited for the future of my golf and look forward to working more with you and fellow tribers to become the best I can be.

Thanks once again and see you soon,

Tim

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    Cameron - April 28, 2010

    @Timbo: And remember that you are the talented one. You have the skill and ability – not the coach (or anyone else). You have full control.

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Tony Lucas - April 28, 2010

Tribers
Just a quick note to those wondering where Steady had got to well unfortunately he was burgled just recent and had his computer among other things stolen.He assures me as soon as he can get things sorted he will back..
Cheers Lukey
PS Tim well thought out and continue to play your way.

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Tim Hardham - April 28, 2010

2 rounds back into auto golf. GOLF MY WAY
Round 1: Even Par
Round 2: 1 under

Amazing what happens when you get out of your own way!

Thanks Strachs

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Grayden Provis - April 28, 2010

Brilliant TIm. Good on you.

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Tony Lucas - April 28, 2010

Tribers
I think we should say well done all of you for playing golf our way.It goes to show no matter what your level of expertise is, if you go auto you will play a better brand of golf.Really well done Tim and to all the rest for getting in there and having a dip.I feel proud we have been able to think outside the square and do something different.
Cheers Lukey

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Allan Kenny - April 30, 2010

Cameron just a note to let you know that i have started to reap the benefits of your idears as my handicap has gone from 24 to 16 in a short time .now my driving has lost the slice but accuracy is improving.thanks heaps allan kenny

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    Cameron - May 4, 2010

    @Allan: Good stuff Allan. This is really exciting news. Congratulations and make sure you keep coming back here to keep us up to date. We can all learn from your experience and insight into your improvement process.

    Good golfing,

    Cameron

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Grayden Provis - May 2, 2010

The dreaded “i” word has struck…..injury! Its a particularly troublesome one too – achilles. Looks like I’m not going to be swinging for a while – maybe QUITE a while. It makes you realize you have to appreciate and enjoy each round. You never know – especially as you get older – when you might have to stop. It certainly makes playing with angst and fear look a waste of time when you CAN’T PLAY AT ALL! Just enjoy hitting that ball Tribers. At the end of the day thats all golf is – not stats and scores.

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    Cameron - May 4, 2010

    @ Grayden: OOUCH! Not good mate. Hope it comes good soon. I might have to keep you busy with some other stuff I have in mind.

    Take it easy. CD on way.

    Cheers,

    CS

    Reply
Tony Lucas - May 2, 2010

Grayden
Sorry to hear that you have been struck down with injury and particularly the dreaded achilles and all I can say is listen to your doctor and hopefully it will heal quicker.I hope you will continue to view the site and have input because it is appreciated.Hope to get my video done in the next week or so and send it off to Cam for analysis and to put it out there for all to see.Thought you might like to know my partner and myself won the B grade foursomes at my club (both gross and nett).
Cheers Lukey

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Bernie Folkes - May 2, 2010

Hi Grayden, Cam & all
Grayden, I feel for you, I really do. Having just recovered from feet surgery and a more than three month layoff, I can appreciate your position. I am the last person to give advice, however, take note of everything your doctor/surgeon says. If he/she says rest do so. Don’t try and come back tooooooooooo soon as it may put you back longer. Best wishes.
PS. My wife filmed me on a Flip video last Friday. I sent the results to Cameron via E-MAIL. Waiting to hear what next. Looking forward to Cam’s advice of what is required next.
Again best wishes all and especially to you, Grayden.
Bernie

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Grayden Provis - May 2, 2010

Congratulations Lukey on your success and thanks for your comments (you too Bernie). You’re both right. Taking the time to let things heal properly is actually the FASTEST route back. Great to hear you’re both getting into the videos..You’ll be glad you did. Cheers boys.

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Tim Hardham - May 3, 2010

Best wishes Grayden and I hope you have a full and speedy recovery from your injury. You make a very good point about appreciating the game every time you play. As you also noted, “playing with angst and fear look a waste of time when you CAN’T PLAY AT ALL!”. I think all tribers need to realise this and the sooner they do the more ENJOYABLE the game will be.

Well done Lukey on ur efforts recently…..Keep up the good work and I look forward to hearing about some ‘A’ grade wins in the near future πŸ™‚

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Tony Lucas - May 3, 2010

Thank you Tim and I agree saying the same about A grade would be nice.
Cheers Lukey

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Grayden Provis - May 3, 2010

Cheers Tim.

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