is so refreshing recently to hear golfers who are playing in
major events reply to the question, "What is your plan today
for shooting a good score?" Now you often get this kind
of answer. "I am going to try and have some fun and enjoy
the experience." If you watched the Women's Open Championship
at Pinehurst you heard from the winner Michelle Wie and from
the 11 yr old qualifier Lucy Li, (the youngest ever), use almost
exactly those same words.
I guess the message
that I have preached for years, ENJOYMENT, is finally getting
heard even by those in highly competitive events. Why? Because
the great destroyer of movement in sport is muscular tension.
When you are having fun and enjoying the activity you are more
relaxed which leads to a better performance.
If your mind
is in a state of constant worry your muscles will be tense. "Don't'
slice it, there is water on the right!"... "Last year
playing here in the office tournament I topped my first tee shot
with everyone watching!" ... "If I miss this next
putt it will be a four putt green and we'll lose!" Those
are tension producers. The body won't lie for the brain. Whatever
is going on upstairs will come out downstairs...you can count
on it. These kinds of negative thoughts cause doubt, uncertainty,
concern, and you had better believe they have an influence on
your swing. Henry Ford was absolutely correct when he said, "If
you think you can...or you think you can't...you are right."
One reason those
thoughts get in your mind in the first place is that you are
overly concerned with outcome. What if I hit it in the bunker?
My game is awful out of the sand. Negative thoughts will hinder
any effort to produce a free flowing SWING. Instead you will
end up trying to guide, steer, or over- control what should be
a more effortless motion that is free from tightness. The procedure
is: See It (visualization); Aim It; Trust It, SWING IT; Asses
It! If the shot was good stamp that feel into your kinesthetic
memory box. If it was not good, then take a practice swing that
represents that way you wanted to do it. This will help you when
you face another similar shot because then the actual last swing
you made with this club was a good one. Notice we didn't say
HIT IT as part of your routine. Because that is the club's job.
Your job is to swing the club.
What we are reading
here are the 5th and 6th elements of the seven step Formula for
Achievement. Here it is: 1. Desire to Improve, 2. Set Goals,
3. Acquire Correct Information (enter your teacher or mentor),
4. Practice and Train (can't get better without practice and
your body can only do what you have prepared it to do) 5. Think
Correctly (see above) 6. Believe (see above) and finally 7. SUCCESS...You
reached your goal.
That's a plan.
Should you need help in fulfilling it you may contact me at the
number listed below. And so I sign off to you the way I sign
off all my letters, and emails.
For more enjoyable golf experiences,
Gary Wiren, PhD
PGA Hall of Fame
World Golf Teacher's Hall of Fame