A Frustrating Beginning
For those of you who spend any period of time in the office during the week, there is a high probability you have heard me talking loquaciously about the game of golf, or more specifically my lessons.
It’s been over ten years since I first found myself on the driving range at Wentworth with a hand me down driver. Over the years, I’ve played a few rounds of 18 here and there and the results of this start-stop approach have been all too predictable.
Fast forward to February of this year. I invited two close friends up to the Midlands for a game of golf and evening liquid refreshments. Over the course of the next three hours, I undertook what was to be the worst and most frustrating round of golf I had ever played. As each hole (and numerous hacks) were completed, my belief dwindled and I questioned if I should forget golf altogether. This negative internal dialogue manifested itself into my physical swing and led to an even worse result.
After dusting myself down and using alcohol to numb the internal pain, I woke on Sunday morning with a sore head, but more importantly a clear mind. I have never been a quitter so on the Monday morning, I rang my local golf course and committed to paying for 10 lessons upfront starting that very week. I would not be beaten by the preceding Saturday!
I was lucky to have been allocated Matt as my golf coach. There were two or three instructors at the course but I could tell from the first lesson that we were a good fit together. What I was screaming out for was a mentor to work with me to dissolve those bottled up frustrations and self-doubt in order to be in a position to perform.
Over the course of the next couple of lessons, these frustrations were all too apparent. I would take one step forward one week and two back the next. As this happened, I would tense up, air my disappointment and be over critical about my results.
Matt recognised this destructive cycle. Over the next few sessions he taught me to relax my grip and hips, provided ‘in the moment’ feedback by getting me to feel what the correct position feels like and to please my Air preference, video replay of my swing. Most importantly, he allowed me to learn in an unpressured environment and allowed me to take my time.
From the fourth lesson onward, I started seeing tangible and at times astonishing results. Tony Robbin’s talks a lot about the theory behind success as a cycle of belief, potential, action and result. This can be demonstrated perfectly with my experience on the 17th hole last week.
The 17th is a par 3 and is only 130 yards to the pin, the majority of which is over a huge lake. On previous occasions, the fear of mishitting and landing in said water was immense and I had only landed over it once by luck. Matt had often used the 17th as a metaphor for my belief. When I hit a good shot on the range, he would put context to it and say that would have cleared the lake on the 17th, highlighting my potential. So to last week. I walked up to the 17th tee and prepared my iron. As I commenced my backswing, I visualised and transferred my work on the range, hearing Matt confirming I would indeed clear the water. My action was to strike the ball perfectly and it indeed did clear the water, rolling down the green to within 10 foot of the flag. I stood and smiled knowing all the hard work on my relaxation and belief had transferred itself into a positive result. This in turn has only served to fuel my belief that has led to potential.
The whole experience to date has served to highlight two key things:
- The role of mentor has been critical to my performance and mind set. I have been blessed with a coach who knows how I work and has squeezed the best out of me.
- Belief is the key. Belief has brought an almost arrogant confidence that has bred and fuelled my potential. This has led to favourable actions and at times, brilliant results. As a positive feedback cycle, this feeds to strengthen my belief.
The Future is Green
My goal by the autumn of this year is to get a handicap to join my local club. I will continue my lessons with Matt and have taken 5 shots off the preceding weeks score already.