PLAY ENJOYABLE GOLF – my road back to golf (part 3)

New-clubs2

I am struggling to cast much light in this latest blog, as I have to admit that my golf has taken a back seat on the list of my priorities. But then again maybe yours has to, so this is just what you need! Let’s see what I can salvage from the ashes of the past 5 months.

The ‘big idea’ in the previous blog was my 3 goals – so lets look at those before finishing on a high with something that I know everyone loves!

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The first goal was to maintain my playing/practice and in the bigger picture my overall time management. I have to say this is a big red F. I have played a few times but it has been infrequent and I haven’t had one single practice session, but lets look at this another way. The key is that I realise and accept that at this moment in time playing just can’t be my priority and so acceptance plays a role in my overall goal – which was to enjoy the game. I appreciate this and so when the opportunity to play arises my focus is on hitting a few good shots, playing a few nice holes and enjoying myself.

I truly believe a lot of golfers could benefit from creating this level of acceptance – sure don’t let it become an excuse not to practice or do more for your game, but you have to be honest with the situation and certainly not expect performances that don’t match the work load being put in.

That said the time management is not all bad. Working with Karl Morris, we identified aspects of my life and put them into 4 categories, we then decided which categories were the most important – for me it was health and so my focus has been to put my health ahead of anything else, I am coming along OK, however I do still put work ahead of health sometimes and that has to be changed before I worry about taking on any other tasks.

Talking of health that leads me nicely to the next goal on my agenda fixing my back. I have maintained the program, been seeing the chiropractor monthly and it is coming along slowly. Day to day is better but the golf still not quite there – I am closer to completing 18 holes without too much discomfort but am a way away from the freedom I want. However I did discover that when I played the day after an appointment it was as near to perfect as for a few years, then as the month went on it got a little worse, so maybe I need more appointments! So for back and health generally I think a B grade.

The 3rd goal was focus on the simple things I discover in my game. When you have played so little and practiced less this is hard, but yes when I have played I believe I have found a few key thoughts in each skill area and have stuck to those – I have also kept to a simple game plan and not tried to take on shots that maybe I would like to play and was capable of a few years ago, but played within myself.

This is possibly the biggest area of improvement that could be made for all golfers, understand your percentages and play to only them. I was talking with one of my elite players the other day during a playing lesson and he was hitting shots that he felt he should be able to hit with his playing status – professional, but when I asked him the percentages related to his practice the shots were no more than 20-30% shots. That makes no sense and ultimately leads to poor scores and frustration, this was corrected for the back nine and the score improved by some 6 shots!

So let’s finish with my high I know you have been waiting for! This could be related to the simple things. Finally I got my new clubs (irons and wedges), I paid more than I would have liked – yes I still have to pay for clubs! But the results have been well worth it. After doing extensive testing it was clear that the shaft that suited me came with quite a big up charge but why, when in the demonstrations the ball flight and impact was so much better, would I settle for anything else?

Finally they arrived and I have played several rounds with them, the result? An extra 7 – 10 yards of distance on every iron, I don’t know what was happening before but they are just so easy to swing and the results then lifted the enjoyment up a notch higher. I have played several rounds and all have been comfortable mid 70’s (+3 to +5), there have even been glimpses that the old performances could be in there if I did create the time for practice – birdie, birdie, par, par, birdie start! Little 7 hole stretches under par and I even managed a 3 under round back at my old course in the UK – actually -3 for 17 holes, I lost a ball on one hole!

So today’s conclusion is that you have to accept and plan to what time you really have to put in, don’t make it an excuse not to practice, but be realistic. Prioritise for the long term and the ‘BIG IDEA’ is “do the tools really make that much difference?” A big yes! This is the first time I have been fitted properly – I won’t tell you how I was fitted 5 years ago, the last time I bought clubs and was playing at the time, I don’t speak ill of fellow golf academies! But now I have done it professionally it makes a world of difference, I still have to hit the shot but can do so with a much better feeling.

P.S. I have now been fitted for a new driver and fairway wood – can’t wait for them to arrive!

About the author

I am a professional golfer and a Class AA member of the PGA GB & I. I inspire and improve golfers of all levels, currently at Thana City Golf Club, Bangkok and have been in Thailand for seven years. I am passionate about golf and want to bring the game to life making it fun for all including creating dreams for elite performers

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