Most golf instructors today have it all wrong. This whole notion about positive reinforcement achieving much more success than negative reinforcement? Hogwash! No, quite the contrary… they’ve been going about all of this bass ackwards, because each year when the surveys are published about the average scores from average golfers – the average scores are getting worse, not better.
The time is now to pose a different strategy, I say.
So you’ve been playing great golf as of late and have no earthly idea why that is. Sure, every player will give his/her own reasoning behind the lower scores, with everything from “I’m hitting it on a rope, and 40 yards longer” to “my iron play has never been better.” A few will credit improved chipping and putting, while others will say they’re cutting down on the senseless penalties and managing the course better and making smarter decisions.
But the bottom line is that the game is no longer fun and you suddenly find yourself going through the motions every round playing a boring game. You miss that feeling that can only come with the sound of a splash as a ball finds the center of a water hazard, followed by your reliable proficiency of uttering no fewer than 5 F-bombs that can be heard three fairways over. You miss calling yourself bad names after chili dipping a pitch shot from just in front of the green, or the challenges that come from trying to unearth a badly plugged ball from the green-side sand bunker that shouldn’t have been in the way but ultimately was. The sound of a ball making dead-solid contact with a hollow tree 80 yards into the woods? That feeling of bewilderment that can only come from a 2-footer that horseshoes around the cup? The thrill of swinging as hard and as fast as you can from the tee with absolutely no idea where the ball is going to go? The swooshing sound of a wedge being helicoptered 75 yards after a bladed shot from the bunker?
Yes, you miss each and every one of those scenarios and you desperately want the game to be like it used to be, and you fear that it’s gone for good. Well, I’ve got good news for you today – I can get you back there. It won’t be easy, but if you’ll follow my 10 Simple Steps – I can make you an even greater hacker than you ever thought you could be.
How to Lose Your Game 10 Simple Steps
1. Play every last inch of the course.
You’ve probably listened to someone tell you that you don’t hit the ball far enough to play the back tees, and sure enough – you’ve meandered forward on the tee box and found yourself a lot closer to the greens on your second shots. Move back to the tips and leave yourself longer shots into the greens, so instead of hitting a comfortable iron – you’re hitting a fairway wood. Come on, you know that’s where you should be playing anyway, anyone can hit a green with an 8-iron…
2. Put the 0 back in hero.
You’ve feasted on the conservative approach, pitching out sideways when you get stuck behind the trees and still making par, or maybe the lowliest of lows – laying up when there’s trouble that you know you can reach. Come on, reach between your legs and give the boys a jingle again, letting them know you’re still there. You didn’t come here today to lay up, did you?
3. Swing really hard on every swing.
You’ve simply forgotten how awesome you looked with those neck veins flared as you lashed at the ball with every ounce of your inner being. Deep down you know you’re the longest hitter in your group, and who cares where the ball ends up? You’ve got a reputation to uphold, and your buddies have forgotten how bad it feels when you tell them, “Hey, you’re away.” Grip it and rip it, from driver all the way down to wedge, the harder and faster, the better.
4. Play the night owl the night before.
Sleep? Who needs sleep? If your tee time is 8:00 tomorrow morning, don’t worry about getting back home before 2:00 a.m. at the earliest. Go ahead and live it up the night before, I mean get totally ripped, to the point where you forget where you live. You’ll find a way to get home and get at least 3 hours sleep, that’s really all you need anyway.
5. Get to the course 2 minutes before your starting time.
There’s nothing like that first swing of the day to wake up every muscle in your body. Why waste it on the range before the round? Your back, legs, and shoulders will be fine, it’s not like you’re getting to work 45 minutes earlier than normal to loosen up and stretch your fingers at your desk job Monday thru Friday. The only additional time you need is figuring out who you’re going to screw over by them having you as your teammate in your weekend match. If you have to sprint into the pro shop to check in to be on the first tee on time, you get extra points.
6. Just say no to practice.
Above all else, avoid practice like the plague. Seriously. You’ve probably gotten into the habit of going a few times each week, found a little something to take with you to the course on the weekend, and the accuracy of your shots has become a little too predictable. Just simply stop going to the practice range after work and go home and vegetate like the rest of the hackers in the universe without even thinking about golf.
7. See how many days in a row you can play without taking a day off.
Like Def Leopard always said, it’s better to burn out than fade away. During your summer vacation (since this won’t be possible if you have a job) see how many consecutive days you can play without a break. Seven would be good, 10 is really good, and 14 days would be great. Make sure you’re going to the first tee cold-turkey without a proper warmup though! Can’t forget step #5.
8. Really tight grip pressure is vital!
One of the reasons you’ve been hitting good shots lately is because you’re gripping the club much too lightly. When you grip the club, squeeze as hard as you can and maintain that level of grip pressure from start to finish. Your knuckles should be bone-white, and you should be able to feel that in your arms and shoulders too. The instructors say to apply enough pressure as though you’re gripping a tube of toothpaste without squeezing out the toothpaste? Baloney. Squeeze every last ounce of that toothpaste out of the tube. If you prefer the “holding a live bird” analogy, kill it with your bare hands.
9. Have at least 10 swing thoughts during your swing, more if possible.
Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. You’ve gotten into the habit of having only one or two swing keys over every shot. That’s obviously not enough. Look, the longer you stand over the ball at address and think about all of the needed mechanics to produce the upcoming swing, the better. The absolute last thing you need is only one small thing to think about. In your mind, you should feel like you’re juggling no fewer than 6 sticks of dynamite, and nary a one can hit the ground. That’s the amount of confused stress and tension we’re looking for.
10. Set your expectations really high.
Who cares if you can’t remember the last time you broke 90 – you’ve got more than enough talent at your disposal to play par golf just about every round. Go ahead – put that number out there in front of your buddies before the round even starts, telling them that they’re going to witness something really special from you today. Every round – par golf or better should be the goal.
So there you have it. If you follow my 10 Simple Steps as outlined above, you’ll be back to playing the game the way it wasn’t meant to be played in no time at all.