How bad do you want it? It seems that the more you sit inside and the less you’re out playing golf – the more excited and optimistic about your golf game you become. Isn’t that odd? Odd, why odd? Because you might not believe this, but there are people out there that get upset on the golf course. Really, strange as that may seem, there are. I’ve seen it before with my own eyes.
Isn’t that amazing? They spend all winter getting excited about playing and then once they start playing they get mad that they’re playing. Let’s use the following true story as an example. An example that I believe you should take to heart and use as an example to improve your performance on the golf course.
We once had a gentleman that came to see us that said – “The reason I’m coming to see you is that I need to play better. If I could just get my Driver in play more consistently – I could break 90.” Maybe you know this guy? He’s a great person, we started a friendship within minutes of meeting each other. We had fun and laughed through our morning session as he really hit the ball well. In fact he looked me straight in the eyes and said – “this is the best I’ve hit the ball in my life. I’m hearing the click. I’m hitting the ball first and I can see it, hear it and feel the solid contact. This is fantastic!”
Flash forward a few hours – We’re on the 4th hole of our 9-hole On-course segment of the day. He had bogeyed the first hole, double bogeyed the second hole and bogeyed the third hole. He had not lost one ball yet, he hasn’t had to punch out of the trees and hasn’t hit any drives into the water. Yet, he looks me straight in the eyes and says – “This is the worst I’ve ever played.” And proceeded to tee up his golf ball, say that he’s aimming down the left side of the fairway and drives it 210 yards onto the right side of the fairway – leaving him with 140 yards to the green.
He then looks at me and says – “See what I mean? I can’t do anything right! I aimed down the left and the ball is on the right. This is the worst I’ve ever played in my life!”
Now before we go further into this conversation, you must understand a few things about this gentleman that you might see in yourself and if you take note of these Bad Habits, you’ll help yourself to improve your on course performance –
Whenever you hear someone make the comment – “This is the worst golf I’ve ever played” – you must understand that this Monkey most likely says this just about every round of golf they play. I’m being 100% serious! I promise you that if you hear a Golfer say this during a round of golf, that the next time you play with them, they’ll say it again. Why? One reason is that their expectations are way too high. Second reason is that one day a few years ago they had the round of their life and they adopted that score as being their standard round – so anything less is their worst golf.
His number 1 goal was to keep his Driver in play. Well, for the first 4 holes – every Driver he hit was in play and like this last Drive he’s been hitting them a pretty good distance. And who cares if the ball is on the left side or the right side when you’re on the verge of possible selling your soul to you know who just to get your Driver in play. And in fact maybe that’s why we had him make a PLAN to aim down the left because we knew that the ball might drift to the right. In fact, I would say that these were excellent drives considering that this was a Golfer that had relegated himself to hitting his 3 wood for the last 2 years because he “couldn’t hit my Driver to save my life.”
This Golfer said his average score was 93. Though, he did say that he usually took 2 or 3 Mulligans a round. And was a frequent taker of gimme’s when he was within a couple feet of the hole. So in reality he more likely had an average of 98 if he had played by the rules – but hey, who needs rules? They just get in the way of a good score. And if your average score is 98, that means that you must have close to half your rounds at 100 or more.
So with saying that – I would say that this Golfer – who was only playing with 4 golf clubs (Driver, 7-iron, sand wedge and putter), having practiced for 4 hours in the morning (longer than he’s ever done before, so fatigue was starting to set in) and playing a golf course he’s never seen before at 4 over par for 3 holes and in the fairway on the 4th hole only 140 yards to the green was not coming anywhere near his “worst golf he’s ever played.”
I would actually put it in the category of he was probably playing close to his finest golf ever!
Now with him saying that this is his worst golf ever – do you think he’s gaining confidence or losing it? Of course he’s losing it. Which is sad because he’s playing better than ever and should be gaining confidence! Yet, for some reason he’s thinking otherwise. Why is this? And how many times in the last year have you done this yourself?
So to explain why – I’m going to go on a shot by shot recap of his first 4-holes of what he called the worst he’s ever played and please look back in your memory bank to see if you’ve ever heard or seen yourself doing these same things. But, first remember – his number 1 goal was to get his Driver in play – something he had so much trouble doing that he had to use his 3 wood or hybrid club off the tee instead in the past!
The 1st hole he teed up his Driver and said that he was aiming down the left side of the fairway. He hit the ball 200 yards and ended up on the right side of the fairway about 180 yards from the green. His second shot was a well struck 7 iron that landed exactly where we had planned because we had made the PLAN to hit about 40 yards short of the green and to the left to give him a good angle to the flag. His 3rd shot was a medium-high sand wedge that stopped 15 feet short of the hole. 2 putts for 5 (bogey). He then said if he could become a better Driver of the golf ball he could play so much better.
He then proceeded to ask what he did wrong with his swing on his tee shot.
Second hole he teed up Driver and said that he was aiming down the left side of the fairway. He hit the ball 215 yards and ended up on the right side of the fairway about 145 yards from the green. He hits a well struck 7 iron down the left side (like we planned) that ended up just left of the green, though even with the hole. His third shot wasn’t a good one – he took out his wedge and tried to play a shot that wasn’t necessary and hit a little behind the golf ball. The ball went about 1 foot and then rolled all the way down the hill, leaving him with a tougher shot. Before the next shot we made a PLAN that made more sense and he hit a pretty good shot that ended up 4 feet short of the hole. 2 putts for 6 (double bogey). He then said if he could become a better Driver of the golf ball he could play so much better because he would have a shorter iron into the green.
And again asked what he did wrong with his swing on his tee shot.
Third hole is a par 3 about 142 yards, there are 2 sand bunkers that guard the front right and front left portion of the green. He made a PLAN to favor the left side of the green. He hit a well struck 7 iron that started down the left side like he planned and slowly and gracefully drifted slightly right and landed on the green about 25 feet right of the flag. “What’d I do wrong on that swing?” – “What do you mean, what did you do wrong? You hit the green.” – “But did you see how the ball drifted to the right?” – “You’re on the green putting for birdie and complaining?” – “No, I’m not complaining. I just want to hit the golf ball better!”
Which I can say might be one of the most disturbing comments I’ve heard on a golf course!
A 100 shooter not happy that he hit a green in regulation on a Par 3. With a chance to make a birdie. With a chance to be 2 over Par after 3-holes – better than bogey golf – his goal. And this is happening using the aforementioned 4 golf clubs, with fatigue (mental and physical) setting in on a never seen before golf course. As he walked onto the green, was his focus on making a putt? No! It was on trying to hit the ball better. Have you ever seen this scenario before? Guess what he did on that green. 3 putt for a bogey. What do you think he said walking off the green? Ready? “If I could just hit my irons better, I could get the ball closer to the hole to make those putts.”
Trust me, this is a true story that has happened more than once in the last year.
So now onto the above mentioned number 4 tee where he hit a nice Drive again. This is where the “This is the worst golf I’ve ever played” comment comes out. Now this is important. How many bad shots did he hit so far in this round? As far as I could see – one. The wedge next to the second green that he hit behind the ball. So the question becomes – How does this very nice gentleman come up with his comment about how bad he’s playing?
Now you might conclude that this is an extreme case – it’s not, it happens often. You might think that this gentleman might just be a negative person – he’s not, he’s a great guy, very upbeat and positive – off the golf course. So why the change on the golf course? And this is the key – do you have a little of this gentleman in you? Maybe your expectations on the golf course is not set so out of whack as his, but just what are your expectations?
Most Golfers don’t even know what they should be. They watch the best Players in the world make it look so easy and then if you can’t hit your Driver 280 yards 10 out of 10 times, you get frustrated. Why?
What has caused you to possibly get your expectations too high. There’s nothing wrong with setting a goal to eventually hit 9 out of 18 greens in regulation or make 2 birdies a round – these are great goals. But, you need to consider where you are now and understand that improvement doesn’t need to be dramatic to improve your scores on the golf course. Gradual improvement that you can see and feel will breed confidence that will breed even more improvement. But for a 100 shooter that couldn’t hit his Driver in play to have hit it in play with good distance (more than 30 yards farther than normal) 3 times out of 3 attempts and to be scoring better than they usually do – and considering the other factors mentioned above – is a fantastic accomplishment!
That he’s about to blow because of not having realistic expectations!
Here he has a chance to get to the next level and for some reason he’s not going to let himself do it. Which is a shame because he has the talent and he’s showing it to me, but he’s not allowing himself to see it for himself.
And to do things a little differently, I’m going to give you the answer first, then I’m going to give you the question – The answer is that for 7 out of 8 Monkeys it is “Frequently”. The question – How many times a year do you talk yourself out of a good round because you’re not hitting the ball as well as Tiger or Annika?
Monkeys expect every shot to be perfect and complain and ruin “game changing rounds” if they aren’t perfect
Players PLAN and the rest takes care of itself
Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life
Golf Made Simple!