One thing a golfer can and should bring to a golf lesson is a well defined need. Before putting yourself in the hands of your instructor and letting him/her dictate the action, the perspective student should have a specific area of the game that he/she wants greater satisfaction. The teacher should be able to focus in on your area of dissatisfaction and by teamwork, you both begin to cure the grievance.
Prepare yourself to confront your dissatisfaction with reasonable expectation and a goal of improving your weakness with information, practice and coaching. Your hope is to gain the necessary information and encouragement to know competence at a part of the game where you before had doubt.
Beginning golfers are hoping to make the game which seems hard and awkward, become an activity that is fun and has an upward trend. They want to hit shots they haven’t hit before, shoot a good score on the shorter holes, not hold up other golfers on the course and to attempt to shoot their best ever nine or eighteen. They want information on how to use the different clubs in their bag and rules and golf etiquette.
Some players are serious about competition. They hope to learn how to make repairs to their game in the course of a tournament round, or between rounds of an event. They may wish to know the nuance of shaping and flighting different shots. They want to be able to perform in competition the same way that they play in less stressful situations. The competitive golfer has goals or needs goals to chase. They might want help with their equipment to make sure it is helping, not hurting their play.
Try to write a paragraph about what it is that you want from a lesson. Your instructor/coach will be happy to expand on your words and help you define your hopes for more fulfillment at the different facets of a fascinating, complex game.
Pressure on The Links Let’s say that you have been playing particularly well over the past thirty days leading up to the club championship. Your regular foursome has even speculated that you should be a favorite to claim the title this year.
Fast forward to the first tee of the club championship. You are excited, you had a good warm-up session, and you can see your name on the perpetual trophy in the clubs’ trophy room. You are, however, paired with a person who irritates you, who has won the tournament before and even gives you a needle now and again. He is up first and hits a great shot down the middle of the fairway on number one. Your name is called and now you feel that you have to perform.
You realize that it is suddenly hard to slow yourself down and hard to visualize the success you had so recently been feeling. Your swing gets as fast as your breathing is short, and the shot heads right into the fairway bunker behind some trees. Your eye cannot help but detect the look of your playing partner, his obvious interest. Alas your rhythm is off, you can’t seem to get any momentum, and your high hopes might have to wait until next year.
This scene is played out at nearly every one of the 20,000 plus golf courses across the country each year. People have desires and positive feelings that succumb to pressure. It is remedied some by experience, but everyone who puts their skills to the test in competition, knows the strange realignment of your body and mind when pressure is applied. It causes discomfort, doubt and in some cases severe distress.
Imagine that you are walking down a two foot wide path. There is traffic coming at you close on your left side, and there is a forty foot drop off just right of your trail. You are wearing flip flops and not feeling particularly stable. This is how it might feel to be in a big tournament vs. playing in a recreational atmosphere. On a two foot path across a pasture, you trust you can stay on the path, while on the dangerous one of the same dimension, there is fear and doubt.
Hard work, love of your equipment, the belief of your swing thoughts and a steady use of positive focus, are great weapons against the enemy, pressure.
The most obvious cliche and the most elusive of visions is to control that which you can control and be completely satisfied with yourself if you stay focused. To walk off the course at the end of the day and say to yourself that you acted and performed to the best of your ability that day is mature, satisfying and a success. Winning is usually both a surprise and an expected outcome if you prepare and stay steadfast.
As part of being our new teaching professional here at Shadow Hills, Pat Fitzsimons will be writing regular essays and posts about ways to improve, his teaching methods, and general golf items of interest to make golf more fun.
“Attitude Builds Confidence and Better Scores!”
by Pat Fitzsimons – PGA Professional
An often heard sentiment surrounding golf is “Why can’t I take it from the range to the course?”. I hope to offer some insight into this situation.
You sometimes find yourself having a wonderful session on the driving range, hitting shots with solid contact and pleasing flight. You dream of splicing them into the round you are about to play. Seems you can’t miss. No matter what club you bring out, the ball goes where you want it to, and the excitement and expectation for a good day on the course is growing. You head to the putting green and roll a few into the hole from five feet and lag some long ones close. All bases covered! Let’s see now….what is my best score ever?
Today is the day.