Rats. I wanted to golf today but the weather isn’t cooperating. I also stay away from the course sometimes when my golf instructor, Pete Black, is the starter. Today and tomorrow, he is the afternoon starter and that’s when I like to play. He of course wants to know how things are coming along and somehow manages to pump yet a few more “should dos” into me and I am full up with “should dos”.
After a few months of heavy contemplation, I have decided to find another instructor. My decision has nothing to do with Pete Black’s knowledge or him as a person. He is a walking encyclopedia of golf. He seems to know who made birdie on what hole in every major that has ever occurred. He is an expert when it comes to the art of the golf swing, to course management – and he really wants to help me. He is the type of instructor who gives students extra time and is always generous with his expertise. He has given me little training aids – a donut to add weight to my clubs for L to L drills, and a grip to hold and swing and practice various specifics like, for example, cocking the wrist at the right time.
My need for a new instructor is more about style and what I need in order to further my golf education. I need fewer words and more just trying to get the feel of it all, so my body can catch up with my knowledge. When I’m lacking confidence walking up to a long fairway shot, all the words in the world don’t help me. They attack my confidence even further. I need to just know I can hit it, that my body remembers what it is supposed to do and will take my ball from point A to point B in the manner in which I want it to. I’m not there yet but that’s what I’m working on the hardest at this time. That’s what I need help with right now. Then I could very well return to Pete Black at a later time.
Keep the boss happy
I just checked out the book “Inner Game of Golf” from the library and I have already found value in it. In just the first few chapters the book has suggested that I have two selves. Self 1 and Self 2. Self 1 is the mean self who barks orders at poor Self 2 like, “keep your eyes on the ball” or “get those damn shoulders to 90 degrees” or “don’t hit it fat this time” or “for God’s sake don’t hit it thin either” or “you’ve got to drive it extra far on this par five or you’re totally screwed” and so on. It also says things like “you idiot, I just knew you’d mess that up” or “what are you some kind of spaz” or “why can’t you get this” and much worse. As for Self 2 – it just golfs. If Self 2 could be left alone to just golf, it would probably golf much better.
So I learned that I have to keep Self 1 occupied just enough to stop henpecking Self 2. Self 1 has to have something to do that is interesting enough so it doesn’t even consider getting in Self 2’s face. In my case, I am finding that being really strict with myself about tempo achieves this purpose. I even try to say my tempo out loud. For example in a medium range iron swing, I say “one-and-two-and” rather slowly so that by the time I say the last word I am finishing my follow-though. Self 1 gets engrossed in the lovely rhythm of the tempo and is content. Self 2 swings more fluidly and hits a better shot.
I must really work to do this every time though. It doesn’t come easy to a high strung person like me. I get as impatient as anyone, rush shots, skip steps of my pre-shot routine and commit other such disasters to the swing process. But when I do this counting thing, this controlled tempo swing, good things happen.
In the end, golf is going to teach me a lot about self discipline.