A passion for reading and a passion for golf are generally worthwhile attributes to have – but I rarely combine the two. My whole adult life has revolved around golf, so when I read about golf, the effect is rather diluted on me – I have usually come across something very similar before. So I look out of golf, amongst other subjects and topics for inspiration, guidance or a new approach, attempting to think outside of the box.
Indeed, there are many that I have spoken too, who suffer from this fatigue of golf information. The internet and social media are partly to blame – the algorithms of Facebook and Google ensuring that you as a golfer become bombarded with offers of help resembling the desperate diet industry; “ten pounds (or strokes) off or your money back guaranteed!”
So rather than rely on help from a multitude of sources (magazine tips, friends advice) that promise a quick and easy solution why not take charge of your game – become an entrepreneur for your own game. So what does this really mean? Lets focus on the aspects of personality and attitude required to solve problems on your own.
PART TWO INCLUDES:
If something is very important to you it is a given that your emotions are tied to its status. As a mild example, take the case of a university student – what are the chances they would feel anger, frustration and anxiety over a failed exam after a period of intense study? It is nearly guaranteed that they would feel this way.
You would be very surprised to come across a student who would fail to complain about an aspect of the exam, about an unfair question or the time limit. One who would seek to understand their failings, their weaknesses rather than blame circumstance. Upon failing would they appreciate the result of the exam in highlighting their current level of performance? Or would they react with anger and lose confidence in their potential? This exam is one of the many they will face in university not forgetting the more numerous tests that life will throw their way. Will they demonstrate emotional control whatever the outcome? Will they remain rational in the face of failure?
Emotional control with your golf is easier to accomplish when you have a clear plan or goal in place. This doesn’t have to be your ultimate goal but one that gives your performance perspective. It is very easy to feel anger or frustration after a bad round, but what if you realise the rounds implication in your scoring average for the season? It will likely have a very small effect. It is the law of averages that will dictate that you do not achieve your potential in every round. Seek to see your performance in practice or in tournaments in the context of your whole season. Accept that bad days and bad shots will happen and resolve to keep them to a minimum – make your bad days better.
Taking risks comes in many forms – surfing a monumental wave, betting everything on red at the casino, engaging in a high stakes business deal or cutting the corner on that par four! All can be termed risky because of the consequences of failure or because the odds are not in their favour. So why is risk taking an entrepreneurial skill?
To be an entrepreneur, to tread the path rarely trodden, requires nerve, insight and dedication. Taking risks at opportune moments creates opportunities for success that are very hard to come by in a conservative fashion. Risk taking is different to the situation of having your back against the wall, with only one card left to play. Then you are simply committing the obvious and only option.
Entrepreneurial risk taking is different. In sport and business it means choosing a strategy eschewed by others, seeing the biggest challenges as opportunities to separate yourself from your competition rather than an opportunity to fail and fall behind. So when is the right time to take on these big challenges?
A deeper knowledge of yourself – your strengths and weaknesses, can help you overcome your competitor. It will keep you rational in times of emotion, it will allow you to trust your intuition under pressure and make better decisions.
In the casino we can work out our exact odds before a decision to gamble is made, but this is not possible. Our intuition and a trust in our skill is usually all we have before we choose a club or strategy. Fear is a common topic amongst golf psychologists. An awareness that golf is a game, that by definition every shot is risky should change your perception of failure- it is acceptable and likely as you strive to improve.
Patience usually requires some maturity and as previously discussed, some humility. Maturity is defined as ‘the quality of being fully developed’. It would be rather an arrogant claim to be fully developed as a golfer unless you were achieving consistent success over a long period of time. But in terms of developing or improving it is key to see the value in mixing a patient approach with one of taking risks.
Remaining patient causes you to avoid the emotional highs and lows that are inevitable throughout any round of golf. You take a rational approach to your strategy with the next shot or with your technique during the round. You stick to your game plan despite bad luck or an opponents fantastic play.
The more detailed your game plan – for that round, or for the month or for your ultimate goal – the greater your chance of remaining patient. A detailed plan in business or sport should have multiple solutions in place for many likely eventualities. If you decide that a defensive strategy off the tee on a tight links course will pay dividends over the course of a tournament you must commit to this.
More often than not patience is a key facet of undergoing a swing change. Success is the obvious goal of a swing change but smaller more achievable goals must be ticked off before change becomes permanent. The time it takes to make a change a permanent habit is different for everyone and cant be known beforehand. Be patient and commit!
Wisdom can be defined as the ability to think and act using your knowledge, experience and common sense. Cultivating these virtues is not a short term task. It involves a hefty dose of perseverance and persistence to the task of improvement. It is a commitment to all the small daily tasks that culminate in our ultimate achievements. But it is also the adoption of an attitude to always learn, to never claim to posses all the answers.
Much of the article could be termed as an attempt to ‘cultivate wisdom’. It’s intention is to stir some self-awareness, to make you ask yourself questions others will not. Do you want for the wisdom and attitude of the know it all, be like me attitude? Or would you prefer to become your own entrepreneur, seek to develop yourself in line with your own ambitions and not those of others?
Biomechanics may prove to us exactly what is happening with the body to create certain golf shots – but does this mean we have all the answers and only need to achieve these positions? No we need to cultivate wisdom from those before us who achieved peak performance. We must search for their keys as we try to improve and better ourselves without really knowing where the road may lead.
The desire to find the limit of what is possible is evident in all walks of life. Scaling Everest, visiting other planets, automatic AI, running the fastest, earning the most money or having the biggest hit are borne out of a desire to conquer the biggest challenge. Are you curious enough to do what most are not? Do you want to find your limits?
When you reach for your limits, obstacles will always present themselves. How you overcome this challenge is a test of your creative skills and it is where true ‘flow’ can be found. Thinking outside the box, beyond the pattern of regimented traditional ways can create a beneficial insight to your performance. It will help you achieve what traditionalists cannot.
We can’t know whether we reach our goals in the future but we can control our attitude and application throughout the journey. Isn’t it nice to know that whether we succeed or not we can learn about ourselves and apply our lessons learnt to all walks of life?