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Improve Your Golf Game to Improve Your Career

September 11, 2020

The summer is coming to a close which in New England means we have maybe eight weeks remaining for the hardiest of golfers. I never expected to become a golfer. I picked up the game as a way to fill the weekends my kids were with their mother. I have come to appreciate the challenge the game provides and it being a wonderful practice ground for mindfulness. Like the majority of golfers, I have a fade that flirts with being a slice. This, for the uninitiated means the ball flight will curve to the right for a right-handed golfer. A fade/to slice cuts down on the overall distance of the shot and frequently puts the ball into trouble.

It must be easy to fix because every golfer can tell you what is wrong. However, they are having problems with their swing as well, so maybe knowing what is wrong is different from what is needed to correct it.

If everyone is struggling with their swing, why do so many people play the game? YouTube is full of videos explaining the simple change needed to hit the ball straighter and farther than ever. I have paid a golf pro to help me with my swing. His guidance worked for improving the length and direction for all but the longest club, my driver. I applied a tip I found in a book called “Practical Golf.” I am sure I could have found the same advice in any number of different resources. It turned out changing my hands a fraction of an inch was what was needed.

Before getting to that final tweak, I modified my stance, focused on shifting my weight over each foot, finding the best posture, location of the ball relative to my stance, coordinating the rotation of my shoulders and hips, as well as adjusting the angle of approach to contact the ball. All of these come into play in a swing. All of these are necessary for a repeatable swing. So, I was wrong to suggest there was only one secret, if only I had been told this tip twenty years ago, to fix my slice. This is why the game is frustrating, challenging, and magnificent when you make perfect contact.

Mindfulness Matters in Golf and Life

Think about the average golfer seeing professionals launch their 200 yard shots on relatively straight lines landing within feet of their intended target. This is the way amateurs like myself are being told to hit golf balls. It’s not a good shot if it travels only 150 yards and lands in the rough. What the average golfer isn’t being told is the pros do not hit their ball straight every time. The television crews are instructed to hide those pros that are struggling in a given week. So, the golf watcher is being fed only those shots that are excellent by the pros having a good week.

Secondly, we aren’t told how much practice is going into a golf pro’s week. The dedication is extraordinary however the time commitment is probably like any other aspiring professional wanting to climb the ladder in their industry. Even if we could match their commitment and practice, they face the same challenge we do. Our expectation gets in the way of our execution. Deborah Graham of Golf Psych works with the touring pros to help them stay in the moment, to create a plan for their round, commit to a shot, and focus on execution of the shot, not the result. She recognizes sole focus on the result takes the golfer out of the moment, away from the current shot.