Habits are Habits
Habits in Golf are usually classified as being good or bad. Have you ever heard of Mediocre Habits?
Mediocre Habits – this is like a gray area. You know that you have some Good Habits and you know have some Bad Habits – these are easy to spot because they’re black or white, they standout and that’s good. You can notice your Bad Habits and correct them and you can see your Good Habits. But it could be your Mediocre Habits that are killing your golf game.
What’s a Mediocre Habit?
Let’s start with your Driver. I mean what a great place to start – Everybody wants to hit their Driver better – don’t you? Sometimes you hit it well and sometimes you hit into the trees. If you had only Good Habits with your Driver your name would be Tiger or Annika because you’d be hitting it well almost every shot. If you only had Bad Habits, you’d always hit the ball into the trees. Yet, you sometimes hit a good one and sometimes hit a bad one. Why is this? Why can’t you become more consistent? Because you have some Mediocre Habits!
For example – When you’re on the tee ready to hit your Drive, where do you aim? A Golfer with Mediocre Habits would aim down the middle. They say – “I want to be in the middle of the fairway, so that’s where I want to aim.”
A Player with Good Habits would aim based on where the trouble is on that hole and what your predominate ball flight is. This Player says – “OK, there’s water 230-yards down the right side of the fairway and if I hit a bad shot, I usually slice the ball to the right. So, I’ll aim down the left side of the fairway. If I hit a good shot and the ball stays straight, I’m in the left rough or left side of the fairway. If I hit a bad shot, I still have plenty of room for my ball to slice without rolling into the water.” The Golfer with the Mediocre Habit of aiming down the middle will be in the water 4 out of the 14 drives during their round and hit a good shot in play the other 6 drives.
What about the other 4-shots?
Well, because you’re so worried about how you’re going to hit your drive and the possibility of hitting the ball in the water again – you make a tension-filled, defensive swing that you pop-up 3 times and top once. So the end result using your Mediocre Habit of aiming down the middle is 6-good drives for you and 8-bad drives for the golf course.
The Golf course wins 2-up! Doesn’t it always?
Who do you know that always aims down the middle? And don’t mention any Player on the PGA or LPGA Tour or anyone that consistently breaks 80! Because Players don’t have as many Mediocre Habits as the Monkey’s do. Why? Because the ultimate Good Habit – ahh, or maybe I should say – the Ultimate Exceptional Habit of a Player is to have a PLAN! And the only ones planning to hit the ball down the middle are the Monkeys.
Why is aiming down the middle a Mediocre Habit as opposed to a Bad Habit? Well, at least you’re aiming! Golfers with Bad Habits don’t even look where they’re aiming. They just put their tee in the ground, ball on top of the tee, stand to the side of the ball – take a couple “Ornamental Practice Swings” and then hit the ball. The only time they looked to see where they were hitting the golf ball was for a split second when they were walking up to the tee box.
Yet, this is what 3 out of every 8 Golfers do on the golf course.
And you ask how do I get this information and why do I use a number like 8 Golfers? I know this because when I used to conduct classes every week, I would have 4-Golfers per class and I’d do 2-classes per week. And 3 out of every 8 Golfers would do it as I described above. 4 Golfers out of 8 would have the Mediocre Habit of aiming down the middle and 1 Golfer out of 8 would actually look to see where the trouble was before aiming.
And in an interesting coincidence, about only 1 out of every 8 Golfers was satisfied with their Drives. And in an even more interesting development you might have heard that only 1 out of every 8 Golfers break 90 on a 100% of the time – consistent basis. The more I think about it, the more I believe it’s not a coincidence.
What do you think?
This is so vital to your golf improvement that I’ll repeat it again – the best Players in the world do not aim down the middle. They look for the trouble and considering their ball flight – they aim away from the trouble. That’s why they’re Players – they have a PLAN. If your PLAN is to aim down the middle – that might be one reason you’re a frustrated Golfer or as we say – a Monkey.
Now here’s my next question for you to answer – Why did you always aim down the middle? Who told you to do that? And if you’ve always aimed down the middle and yet haven’t been satisfied with the results of your drives – why do you still aim there?
Mediocre Habits – I have a story for you.
A Golfer is standing on the 1st Tee and pops up her drive and it goes almost straight up in the air and lands about 35-yards away. She looks at no one in particular and says – “I hate when I do that. I wish I could stop popping up my tee shots!”
Which opens the door for the Monkey that’s playing in your group and waiting to play the part of the expert Golf Professional – “Sarah, I think you’re teeing up the ball too high. On the next hole tee the ball much lower.”
“OK, I’ll try that.”
Wait a minute – this isn’t a story about Mediocre Habits, this is more about Bad Habits because Sarah is now taking advice from a Monkey that has never broken 90 himself and often times has trouble breaking 100 and in addition to that he’s always in remorse about how he hits his Driver. This is a Bad Habit because next hole as Sarah is teeing up the ball, the Monkey is standing there with his arms crossed saying – “That’s good Sarah, but tee it a little bit lower.” So Sarah does and then sets up for her tee shot and tops the ball about 17-yards into the rough in front of the fairway.
“Sarah, it looked as though you were trying to kill the ball on that shot, try to slow down your swing next time” proudly proclaims the Monkey.
“Yes, I think you’re right, I swung too hard on that one. I need to slow down.”
And of course all this advice comes after the Monkey himself made a triple bogey on the first hole.
On the 3rd hole Sarah tees up her ball as the Monkey assumes his position. “Yes Sarah, that’s a good tee height. Now make sure you swing nice and easy on this one. Don’t try to kill it!”
So Sarah says to herself “Swing nice and easy”, even though the Monkey that just gave her this advice had just hit a bad tee shot himself on the third hole and exclaimed to everyone in the group – “Dang’ it, why can’t I just swing easy. I can’t stop trying to kill the ball.”
And Sarah makes a nice and slow swing and hits it right. When I say right, I mean it goes so quickly to the right that it almost hits her Monkey Instructor in his, um …. mid section – before rolling into the trees.
“Sarah, it looked like you swayed and then picked up your head on that one. Next time you might want to …..” “Would you shut up and keep your Monkey comments to yourself” – Sarah interjects.
Sorry about that – I’m sure Sarah wouldn’t have used that tone of voice – but I wanted the story to have a happy ending.
Have you ever seen that story above happen in front of your eyes?
Listening to others on the golf course is such a Bad Habit that you should be banished from the golfing world for ever listening to anyone on the golf course. I know we’ll never get rid of the Monkey Instructors that are lurking in the shadows like crack dealers waiting to spot Golfers that are frustrated so that they can spew their Monkey advice and look like a hero if you do well. We’ll never get rid of them, but we can become Golfers that can see them coming and know how to handle the situation so that you don’t have to listen to them every hole.
Who has more Good Habits – a Player or a Monkey?
Who has more Bad Habits – a Player or a Monkey?
Who has more Mediocre Habits – a Player or a Monkey?
Monkeys have Bad Habits, Mediocre Habits and Good Habits and they never change. They never change because all the Monkey wants to do is practice their Good Habits and try to make them better. Yes, sometimes they work on their Bad Habits, but this happens so infrequently and without the same conviction as they do with their Good Habits that they become Mediocre Habits. And Mediocre Habits are worse for your golf game than Bad Habits.
Players also have Bad Habits – but the Player realizes what their Bad Habits are and after some practice they become Good Habits. The Player is always working on their Bad Habits to make them better because the Player knows that they are only as good as their weakest link. So if the Player is always working on their Bad Habits – they’re not giving them a chance to turn into Mediocre Habits – they skip right over those to become Good Habits.
And remember – Mediocre Habits are the worst Habit of all because you don’t know what’s going to happen. If you know you can’t hit your 3-wood of the ground (a Bad Habit) – you can stay away from it and not make any bad shots. If you know that you’re 6-iron is the best club in your bag (a Good Habit) – you can use it with confidence whenever you need a good shot. Though if you’re Mediocre with your Hybrid Club – you don’t know what’s going to happen – so you end up with some good shots and some bad shots which ultimately causes you to have those 2 or 3 or 4 “blow-up holes” per round that ruin your scores.
Do you know what I mean?
Do you want to be a Player? Then do this for yourself –
List 5 Good Habits you have on the golf course
List 5 Bad Habits you have on the golf course
After you have listed them – under each Good Habit write why you think it’s a Good Habit and under each Bad Habit write why it’s a Bad Habit. Then send it to me. Yes, send it to me by email – I want to look at it.
Or you could just read the rest of this Golf improvement Weekly, delete it and move on to something else. Though, not doing this assignment might be put under the category as being a Bad Habit.
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life
Golf Made Simple!