Getting on the course: Being Uncomfortable
February 5, 2020
If you have been doing the assessments and practice drills, I hope you are starting to see some progress. Improvement in the drills, however, will not necessarily translate to better golf on the course. As we are focusing on building our skills in practice, we then need to have a strategy to transition them to the course. The best advice I can give here is to get very comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Building trust is one of the hardest aspects of golf. I think the key word in the statement is “building.” It takes time and commitment to what you’re trying to do. The reason we create drills and assessments is so that a player can understand the extreme feeling they need to create to accomplish the goal in the swing. To build that trust we have to understand what we do to make the drills work, then transfer those feelings onto the course. I do not expect every shot to be perfect on the course, but if we start to see better shots, we can start to trust what we are doing.
At the end of 2018 I was fed up with the inconsistencies in my golf game and the disparity between my good and bad golf. I decided I need to make some changes to my swing to help eliminate some of the big misses I had on the course. I turned to a coach I trust in Ryan Chaney and we came up with a plan for what I needed to work on. With a plan in place I assumed I could change my swing and play better quickly. This turned out to be a great reminder of how hard it is to change a pattern and how uncomfortable it can be to play through it. I’ve attached a video of one of the drills I have to show how extreme the movements were. Taking those feelings to the course put me so far out of my comfort zone I really didn’t know how to handle it at first.
As you go through the drills and start to find the feelings you need to create to accomplish what you’re trying to, you then need to be willing to create those feelings on the golf course. This is very challenging when it's outside your normal comfort zone. If, for example, you have to focus on a spot 4 inches in front of the line to accomplish the impact line drill, that’s where the focus needs to be on the course. That can be daunting as you may feel like you’ll top it. What I found to be helpful was reminding myself that I knew when I did what I wanted to it worked. I had the data to back it up and the results in practice. In the first round I played after some practice, I found myself stuck in between what I wanted to do and what was comfortable, the results weren’t good. For me, the feeling I was working on felt like I could either shank the ball or completely miss it(I actually did miss it in practice, so don’t feel bad if you see some goofy shots in practice).
What I learned was that I would rather be uncomfortable and play well than just feel “safe and comfortable.” I also realized that this was going to be a process and would take time to both learn and trust what I was doing. At the end of the day I wasn’t happy with how I played before, so the best thing I could do was commit to what I was doing and let the results follow. If I felt like I completely committed and the results weren’t what I wanted, then I knew I just needed more practice because I believed in what I was working on. Thankfully, as time has progressed, when I commit, the shots tend to be what I’m looking for. The more times you get positive feedback on the course, the easier and easier it becomes to trust what you're working on.
I hope you are enjoying the process of working on your game and developing new skills. The skills of managing expectations, committing to what your doing, and trusting your process are paramount to continuing to improve your game. These skills allow the physical work you’ve put in to be realized on the course and should lead to better results. As always, feel free to share this and I welcome any feedback or questions.