Saturday, January 31, 2009

Preface to The Disciplined Golfer


Golf is deceptively simple, or so it seems. The ball is not in motion like a football. You neither have to worry about someone wrestling you to the ground nor does the equipment require Herculean strength to manipulate. Why then do we have so many problems with the golf ball?

This manual was written to address the disparity between the perceived ease and actual difficulty of golf. The truth of the matter is that golf is both easy and difficult.

Today, we have more knowledge of the golf swing today than centuries past, yet a visit to the range will show that the problems that plagued our golfing brothers of yesteryear still infect the enthusiasts that take up the game each year. If knowledge equals power, we should be better. Yet, that isn’t the case. The key is being objective with information and judge it against a quantifiable benchmark.

Each new comer to the sport will be infected with well meaning advice from friends who can barely hit the ball efficiently. Old saws like “keep your left arm straight” and “keep your head down” are the usual suspects.

Should such simplistic advice were to be the “be all and end all” of a golfer’s problems, then golfers should have no problems playing to a decent level (below 80s).

Take another golfer and prescribe scientifically correct information as part of an improvement program, and his fate won’t be very much different from the new comer described above. Why?

The two golfers above though they differed in knowledge, they were united in a lack of understanding of themselves. Proper information plus a proper understanding of self is like sodium and chloride together – they produce something beneficial. Apart from each other, they are deadly.

Most of us cede control and ascribe our golfing weakness to elements outside of ourselves and control. The magic bullet is not some secret technique, being stronger or even practicing more. The barrier that prevents us from becoming as good as we are capable of lies within.

I am not referring to golf psychology where one pictures the shot before pulling the trigger or deep breathing techniques to conquer stress etc.

You can visualize all you care for, but if you have faulty mechanics, the shots are just not going to happen. If you are 70 yrs old, visualize all you want, you won’t be airmailing your tee shots 300 yards. Visualization must be tempered with a realistic assessment of one’s capability.

What I am referring to is an understanding of how you work. I will be outlining:

1) Beliefs and their impact on perception
2) The role of information and knowledge
3) The relationship between mental know how and physical execution.
4) A process to bridge the gap.

Once you accept responsibility for your improvement and not ascribe it to external forces, understand and apply these 4 principles, then the game that you once thought easy will become easy and you can improve as much as you want to.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Disciplined Golfer - Developing a Winning Game

Golf is actually an easy game...

Think about it:

1) The ball is not moving

2) You get to play in a very pleasant environment

3) You do not have to worry about anyone tackling or trying to break your legs

4) The equipment that you use to play the game is quite light as compared to weightlifting

5) You do not really need to be very fit to enjoy the game

So why do so many of us have problems with the white ball?

1) We are impatient - we want instant results. Hey, did you learn to drive your car in 5 minutes?

2) We think we know better than the pro - granted some pros can't tell the difference between the back of a donkey and a dog, most pros actually know what they are talking about. I once had a lady take a lesson from me. Throughout the lesson, she kept saying: "I think I know already." The result was the same...fat and topped shots. The ball never lies.

3) We are not really doing what they pro is telling us and what we think we are doing - this is what we call a faulty feedback loop. I believe that if you picked up any golf magazine and followed any of the tips to the letter inside, it would work to a certain extent. Are you really doing what you should be doing?

I have spent many years researching on data collected from teaching and observing students. The problem it seems that prevents us from playing good golf is not so much more information as pertaining to technique, rather it is lack of good information on learning psychology.

Most of the information on golf techniques are no more than the same information packaged in a different way. I challenge anyone to provide me with some new "tip" that has not been published or taught by an eminent teacher in the past.

This post is certainly not meant to foment any unrest among golf pros etc...As I have iterated before, my passion is to help people get better at this game, I am not worried at all if people are upset over my comments, I still sleep soundly at night.
I am currently writing a book entitled "The Disciplined Golfer - Developing a Winning Game". I truly believe that this will change the way you look at learning golf whether you are a beginner or an experienced golfer trying to improve.