Bobby Jones’ Psyche Perspective by Ed Gowan
While Mike Vandermark”s analysis of your golf “phyche” is helpful, a few of Bobby Jones’ perspectives are just as valuable. You may recognize one or more and not have realized they emanated from the outstanding golfer of his era. They were never more appropriate than they are today. Enjoy them!
Let’s begin with the basic, “…Sometimes it’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian.” How true, but just consider the number of drivers purchased under the assumption it’s the arrow!
His ability with the English language is an art rare these days. Just consider, “On the golf course, a man may be the dogged victim of inexorable fate, be struck down by an appalling stroke of tragedy, become the hero of an unbelievable melodrama, or the clown in a side-splitting comedy, all within a few hours.”
Some of his most intelligent commentaries were simple one-liners we would all do well to remember:
“More short pitches are missed because of an abbreviated backswing than for any other reason.” ‘No putt is short enough to be despised.” For the Health Club crowd, “The best exercise for golfers is golfing.” “In putting, as with every other stroke, the player ought to forget about his head. Think with it, not OF it.” Remember this one? “Never up, never in.” “A good part of the game is played between the ears and is often as important as any mechanical skill.” And lastly for today, “Rhythm and Timing are the two things which every golfer must have, yet no one knows how to teach either.”
Bobby’s approach to psychology on the course (sorry Mike Vandermark) was simple and direct “Employ courageous timidity…”, and “Golf is said to be a humbling game, but it is surprising how many people are not aware of their weaknesses.” “Golf is a game of temperament and, for some, of temper.” “No virtue is so often rewarded as perseverance.” “Mental tension does no harm when combined with physical relaxation.” And one of the best ever, “The average player ought to realize that he must study his faults and learn to correct them during the course of a round.”
Jones’ philosophies have been copied, rephrased, repeated and remembered like no others before or since: “Golf has been called a reflection of life.” “A strong back and a weak mind have made many a golfing champion…” When praised for his honesty in calling a penalty for something no one witnessed, “You might as well praise me for not breaking into banks. There is only one way to play this Game.” Here’s one that’s been lost on many recently, “No man learns to design a golf course simply by playing golf, no matter how well.” There are way to many examples of that statement. “A Golfer who is devoid of imagination will never rise far above mediocrity.” And here’s one final thought with the USGA/R&A’s distance statement in mind, “With modern equipment and modern players, we cannot make a good course more difficult by adding length, but only by the introduction of subtleties around the greens.” Oh, so true!
One final thought as it relates to the present game as much or more than in yesteryear. “There seems to be little appreciation today that golf is an amateur game, developed and supported by those who play for the love of it. Amateurs have build the great course where the player pros make money; amateurs maintain the clubs and public links that provide jobs for the working pros; amateurs spend millions of dollars each year on golf equipment and clothing; and, amateur rules and administer the game throughout the world. In this way, golf has prospered for several centuries. It would appear to be the best possible arrangement.”
Pat yourselves on the back…YOU are the heart and soul of the future of golf!
Tee box psychology
You\‘re not broken
by David Breslow, Golf Channel columnist
One of the most common statements I hear from players at every level is, “If I could only get out of my own way I know I’d play better!”
Have you ever thought this or said this to yourself? Do you find yourself muttering this when you miss an easy shot, negative emotions are churning too high or you allow anger, lack of confidence or the need to be perfect interfere with your ability to play your best?
The truth is, when you think or say this statement, you’re absolutely right! You’re very smart because the truth is: if you did get out of your own way you would be better. The challenge most people have is they aren’t sure how to get out of their own way so they keep trying new tips in the hopes it will eventually happen.
Many believe the keys to success are hard work, the best equipment and the gathering of as much information as possible. Of course, these things are very important but if these were the only keys more people would be shaving strokes off their game. A lot of people work hard, have great equipment and have loads of information at their disposal. They read a lot of books, buy tapes and attend seminars. So, why are they still not able to perform up to their true talent level? It’s because there is often a big gap between what they know and what they do. How do you know when you’re in your own way?
Here are some telltale signs:
When you over analyze or your mind is “running on”
You get angry when things don’t go "my way"
When frustration/anger interfere with good decision making
When lack of confidence appears prior to a shot
When you recall negative memories prior to a shot
When you try the same approach and expect a different result
Fixing what’s not broken
Many players are looking for “the” answer or that one quick-fix tip that’s going to put them over the top. We know from our own experience that this approach rarely provides us with the longer-term benefit we’re looking for, yet we continue chasing it down. Of course, we keep doing it as a way to pursue excellence and this is always an admirable quality. The real question becomes this: Is what we’re doing getting us what we want? If it is, great! If it’s not, it’s important to step back and take an honest look because the goal to improve is a good one, but most likely the strategy we’re using to get there isn’t.
I invite you to take a look at a common misperception I see in many of the golfers I work with…in fact many other clients from all walks of life as well. I call it the “something’s broken so I need to fix it” mindset.
When people set off on a journey to compile more strategies and more tips to help them perform better they do this while thinking that there’s something to “fix” in themselves. In other words there is an assumption they are “broken” in some way because something’s not working. It makes perfect sense on the surface doesn’t it? If you’re not playing as well as you know you can the solution is to try and fix the problem, right? The problem with this mindset is, most people keep trying to fix things that aren’t really the problem to begin with.
The Wired to Win philosophy is not based on the “I need to fix myself” approach. You don’t need to fix anything. Truth is you already have the key performance tools you need to play your best golf and you don’t need to “fix” anything…you simply need to put them back in sync. Believe it or not, some people would actually rather believe they need to fix themselves than believe they’re already equipped with everything they need. This “fix it” philosophy is an illusion and will keep a person “chasing their own tail”.
Here’s a metaphor to demonstrate this. I call it the “Elite Racing Engine.” A finely tuned racing engine is loaded with elite parts. When those parts run smoothly they operate in a very efficient manner. When there is any obstruction or disruption in the process this high performing engine begins to under perform, right? One part of the engine works harder to overcompensate the other poor working parts, it will eat up more fuel than it normally would and generally perform at less than peak efficiency. Here’s the question: When this engine underperforms, are the parts no longer “elite”?
The answer is, the parts are still elite. Just because the engine underperforms doesn’t mean the parts are no longer elite, they’re just not operating effectively together anymore. I believe this process is exactly the same for you and I. You already have elite parts within you. When you under perform your parts aren’t “broken” nor are they less elite, they’re just not operating together efficiently.
The Wired to Win approach is based on fundamental laws and principles that allow your elite parts to function more effectively. Most golfers don’t need “more” information. They already have far too much mental clutter as it is. Here’s the proof: If you’ve ever experienced the “zone” you know it’s a state where your elite parts are operating beautifully and it’s also a state of “less”…not more! When in the zone you don’t over think, worry, compare or waste energy at all. So…playing your best is a matter of “less” not more…it’s a matter of really “getting out of your own way.”