Playing golf can be one of the most frustrating endeavors known to man. Everybody wants to improve their game which means that they want to improve their score. Some of us took up the game when we were young. I started playing at the age of 8. Others did not take up the game until they were adults and in the case of one of my newer golfing buddies, he did not take up the game until he was 73. Many people take up the game only to quit after so many years of trying to improve and get better. Many people do get to the point where their handicap is in single digits only to get stuck there seemingly for the rest of their life. Some of these people quit due to this apparent lack of progress. One of the problems in golf is that our faults do not seem to be consistent. Our game seems to change from round to round. One round we cannot drive the ball. The next round we seem to have trouble with our iron game or our short game. Another round we just putt horribly. Even within these problems, the issue is not consistent. One round we may be hooking all our drives and the next topping drives. Irons may be hit fat one round and then thin and to the right on another. All of these things seem to happen out of the blue. The reverse can happen also. One time when I was in the throes of one my worst periods of the chip yips, I had a round where I had spectacular chipping. I put every chip, which there were many, within inches of the cup and wound-up shooting one over par. The bottom line is this. Whatever the problem may be with our games we want it fixed. Believe me that is no problem for golf instructors.
No matter what the problem is, slicing, hooking, fat shots, top shots, pulled shots and even the yips, there is somebody out there that can fix it. There is always a constant with these fixes. The first constant is that the fix is easy. The results are guaranteed. Sometimes there will be multiple ways to fix the same problem. You can easily find these on the internet or go to a local pro and the fix will have the aforementioned elements. You know what? Most of the time the fixes will work. The instructor will change something in your set up or swing and sure enough the problem seems to get resolved. The other thing that gives these physical changes more validity is you will read or hear about a top tour pro changing something and voila wins a tournament. It makes no difference that whatever the change was, does not seem to work forever, or another problem crops up in your game. It makes no difference that the pro you read about who made the change and won a tournament, has now missed the cut in his last 6 event. We are all brainwashed, including yours truly, into thinking that we need to make some change in our swing or technique to get better or solve a golf problem. We just cannot get over this philosophy even when we know that it is not a viable or permanent solution to our golfing woes.
There is no question in my mind that the reason our golf games remain stagnate and we do not get better is the brain. At one point in this blog, I went through a long period of playing and writing about what I called 100% mental golf. However, I really could never do it. There was another phase of my golfer education where I thought the game was 50% mental and 50% physical. I had very logical thinking when explaining my reasoning. I wrote that you could have the best mental attitude and course management, but if you swing and golf fundamental were bad you would not be able to score. You could have the perfect golf swing and fundamentals. but if your mental attitude was bad and your course management was unsound, then you would not score either. Naturally it probably is somewhere in between. I think we all have had this experience playing golf. We are having a bad day striking the ball. All of a sudden, we hit a spectacular shot that ends up about 3 to 6 feet from the pin. The opposite can happen also in a good round. You’re hitting the ball very well and in the middle of the round, you hit a horrible shot, that causes you to make double bogey. I have a saying when I finally hit a good shot in a round. I don’t know where those good shots come from, and I don’t where they go. So, what’s a golfer to do. These problems with our games are not going away. Be aware that most of your game’s problems are mental. Probably close to 90%. That is the first place to go when considering bad shots. Remember more of the mental feeling on good shots. Look for pre swing problems before you go anywhere else. Your good shots are not accidents. They are the result of a functional golf swing and a well-planned shot. Bad shots are usually from not planning shots, self doubt, and trying to do shots beyond your capabilities. Try to undo the brainwashing by looking at your swing as a last resort to improve your game. Next, an in-depth look at my struggles with the irons.