Timbo Letter #4 – Playing Golf
I watched you play today. You may not have noticed but I was watching every move you made. I saw some things I liked and there were some things I didn’t like too much. I don’t want you to think I’m bashing you because I’m not.
You have all the skill and talent to be a great player. But you’re making some common mistakes that are holding you back and unless you become aware of them you’ll always struggle with your game.
At this point you’re in that nasty place where lots of players are – you have a nice swing, you can hit some good shots and you have potential oozing from your pores.
But you’re not really playing golf.
And you can’t play the golf of your dreams because you’re falling for the trap of trying to be “perfect” at all parts of your game.
Let me explain.
Western life drums into us that we need to practice hard and become good at everything. The thought of a well-rounded game makes most golfers get excited.
- Strong mental game
- Good lag putter
- Fantastic bunker player
- Crisp iron player
- Long and straight driver
You get the idea.
But I think trying to be all these things is not a good thing. Because you’re always thinking (and being distracted) on how to improve each area of your game.
“How do I hit a draw with my driver?”, “If I could only hit a lob shot like James”, “Why do I struggle with bunker shots?”
These thoughts take you away from the joy of playing golf. In fact, continual thoughts of improvement will consistently hold you back.
So what’s the solution?
You’ve got to break through the self-doubt and have the guts to play your way.
You need to find your mojo. Discover a way of playing that suits you perfectly. You must master your way first – then and only then should you start looking at doing something a little differently.
Stand up on the tee, get comfortable and make the best swing you can. You’re completely comfortable in the fact that your fade (or draw, hook or slice) is your shot and that’s the way it’s gunna be.
You aim your iron shot at the front of the green because the big bunker at the back right is protecting the pin. And you know deep down that your bunker play is no good so there’s no point in trying to hit a shot that gets close to the pin. There’s no point in risking exposing your weakness.
You feel good on the green so you hit your putts with confidence. You knock the shorts putts into the back of the cup and you’re not scared to give the long putts a go.
It doesn’t matter what your situation, you keep coming back to the shots that feel good to you. Nothing changes the way you approach the game. You keep doing the same things over and over. Boring? A little. Effective? Absolutely!
You can’t play remarkable golf unless you first master your own game. As much as it would be great to be an expert at all levels, it’s not realistic. Even the great players continually go on about how they have to keep working at their game and fixing their faults. Their continual effort doesn’t not seem to be helping – they’re never happy and always searching.
But the true masters? They’re unbeatable because they know what works for them and they wouldn’t change for anyone. They have the courage to play their shot each time they play, despite Pesky and tradition yelling at them to do something differently.
Timbo, find the shots you like and you know you can perform successfully. Then go to these shots each time you play. At all costs avoid hitting the shots you know deep down are not you.