In Caddyshack after a bad front nine Rodney’s character complains to Ty (Chevy Chase) about how poorly he played. In my favorite moment in the movie, Ty puts his arm around him and says, “You’re…..um...not good.” Most of us think we are better than the round we just finished and few of us are doing anything constructive about it.
What is your plan to improve your game? It is doubtful that new driver you are admiring will do much good. It is a myth you are going to get much better by continuing to just play more golf. The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance says that elite performers engage in deliberate practice. It is defined as an “effortful way” to improve your performance. Going to the range and just hitting more balls is not what they are talking about. Having a plan for each practice session and a specific target for each shot is closer to it.
I used to play a lot of golf growing up and was solid 4 hdcp when I was 17. I have played very inconsistently over the last 30 years, seldom playing over 10 times a year. I also ruptured my Achilles tendon twice last year and had two tough surgeries. !#$%* is right! I am committed to get back to playing well and really enjoying the game again.
My plan starts with signing up for a series 6 lessons from a local PGA pro. I start tomorrow. I need to get back to the basics of grip, posture, set-up, tempo and get a check up. It has been years since I took a lesson or saw myself on video. I remember having an effective pre-swing routine, but I no longer have that feeling of confidence over the ball. This is especially true with my driver.
I then have committed to spending 70% of my practice time on my short game. It is the quickest way to get my scores down and save strokes. I listened to a great CD from Dr. Bob Rotella entitled, Putting Out of Your Mind. He said it does not make much sense to practice a lot of putts that you are going to miss. Why practice a lot of 10 – 20 footers that you miss most of? I have been spending 90% of my practice time from 5 feet and in and it is already making a difference. For longer putts and speed control I either putt to the fringe or a tee. Practice putts that you are rolling into the hole consistently. Doesn’t that make sense?
I will keep you posted with my progress in future columns. I am going to develop a written plan and keep track of what I am doing. I am committed to engage in consistent deliberate practice. As Jack Nicklaus once said, “golf is more enjoyable when you play well.” I want to avoid a friend coming up and telling me, Chip..um…you’re not good.
Chip Eichelberger is a father of three, avid sports fan and formerly Tony Robbins international point man. He speaks on peak performance issues to clients such as Mass Mutual, ADP and Hyatt. View free videos and articles at GetSwitchedOn.com