I got a phone call last night from a good friend who had just left a golf lesson. He has been struggling to find confidence and consistency in his swing the past few rounds and finally said he needed some help and scheduled a lesson. He was unsure of what the problem was and was second guessing everything he was doing on the course. The funniest part about it was he wasn’t scoring all that bad, but you could tell the enjoyment of playing had left him. He was stressed out and frustrated more than usual that he didn’t know what was wrong with his swing.
When I pick up his call he sounded even more depressed than after a topped drive. He says, “I just left my lesson and the guy there wants me to change a bunch of things in my swing.” I took a moment to process his comment and responded by asking him what he expected to hear at a lesson? Did he expect the guy to tell him everything was alright and to keep chugging along? Was he hoping for the one quick fix answer that every golfer searches for?
His response to that got me thinking a bit about swing changes in general. He told me he knew that what the instructor was telling him was right and he had heard the same thing before from multiple people. Basically he was saying that he knew the changes were right, but accepting them would mean spending lots of time at the range getting used to the changes and the rest of the summer trying to play them on the course. He was afraid of getting worse before he got better.
This made me think back to the swing changes I made and all the work I did over the winter. Part of me agreed with him because I got much worse before I got used to my changes and started playing better. Part of me also disagreed with him, because as golfers, we are always making changes and adjustments. The pros are constantly working on their games to get better so why is it such a reach for the average golfer to do the same? I think the reason is really because we don’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to the changes.
When we only get to play once or twice a week we expect a lot out of our swings and scores. Building up the mental toughness and confidence to play your swing that day is one of the hardest things the average golfer can do. Especially since we lack the ability to grove a consistent swing on limited practice. It really made me think of a quote that sums it all up, “No-one will ever have golf under his thumb. No round ever will be so good it could not have been better. Perhaps this is why golf is the greatest of games. You are not playing a human adversary; you are playing a game. You are playing old man par.”
- Bobby Jones