Trying fails…try less for better results.

G’day there,

Modern society likes to reward those that work hard and dig deep, especially when the going gets tough.

Sure, you have to hang in there, but trying harder can end up with you getting into more trouble. Often, you need to take a step away, evaluate the situation and then approach the problem with a fresh mind and body. You’ll often make a breakthrough.

If you play golf often or long enough you’ll encounter your fair share of problems…it has a nasty habit of throwing enough ‘junk’ at you to test your patience, attitude and discipline.

A common situation is the golfer leading up to an important round. Not wanting to disappoint themselves (or anyone else) they spend more time than usual practicing (before and after work?) in the hope that it will help. On the day of the big event, they might stretch, warm up with all the entire bag of clubs, chip and putt (just like the big boys). By the time they reach the first tee they are ready!

In a perfect world this disciplined and well prepared golfer will shoot a good score. But I think this approach backfires more than it works.

Let me explain more.

The golfer will have his mind full of swing thoughts, he will be trying really hard on each shot and will be eager to do well. I believe he will be too tight, with little chance of letting a free flowing swing shine through.

If the first few holes go badly (which they usually will) he will try even harder, making the situation worse. This process can go on for nine holes or more. With his system in shock (and disappointment) he will eventually give up. His score has blown out so there’s no point in trying. This is when the magic can happen…

Once the golfer lets go his subconscious is free to perform the skill. This is exactly what should happen! This is how you put into practice all that hard work…you allow integration to take place.

The analytical golfer will not twig on what has happened. On the way home from the course he will make up stories as to why he performed so poorly early on….”I was swing too quickly”, “my weight shift was wrong” etc. He will do the same for his better performance on the back nine, “My timing was right”, “I had a slower swing” etc etc.

On his next visit to the course he will “try” and put into practice what he thought about on the way home from the previous round, most likely repeating the poor results again. The sad thing is that some golfers can play like this for their entire golfing life. They miss out on achieving their best form on consistent basis.

Their golfing problems stem from trying too hard. They never let go, but instead strive for manual control on each shot. They apply too much logic and not enough emptiness of approach to succeed. It all makes sense to them but I think if you want to play golf to your highest level it requires some counter intuitive thinking.

So try less…stand on the first tee and let your swing take you where it wants to go. You should aim for a free flowing swing…there’s no kinks and nothing in the way. You have to do this for all of your shots. You’re not allowed to analyse the good or bad shots. They just are…a part of the process.

The more you do this the better you’ll play. I have never known anyone to fail with this approach if they stick with it. But there’s a catch…it requires some courage. It can be scary doing this. Especially when your own the first tee with people watching.

So the problem is not in trying harder but in trying less and being prepared to accept the consequences of doing so. I encourage all golfers to take this approach for three rounds. Give it a go and see how you go. I bet it will be no worse then what you have now. And you may just surprise yourself.

Good golfing,

Cameron Strachan

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