October 14th, 2013

The beginner’s story


Last week we talked about the Paranoid golfer. We have at Lighthouse Golf Resort a new golf beginner who is an “Inverse Paranoid” golfer. I said to my new student, when he started with me golf this summer:“the way you practice is the way you are going to fight”.
Now, going back for a short time to my own golf experience from the early “80’s, when I began to be a very good player and playing of 1 handicap or as you people say it in Europe to be exact 0.6, my golf coach often got on me about my sloppy posture. He would say “You aren’t setting up properly in your swing. You’re rushing it, you’re just going through the motions.” I would answer “Why does it matter right now? I’m not playing with anyone today. I’ll do it right at the golf tournament this weekend.”“I’ll tell you why it matters” he would say, upset: “You play like you practice. Practice sloppy and you’ll play sloppy. You’re not going to be sharp unless you practice being sharp”. I’ve heard this again and again over the years. I use it today as well on my own students.
Not just practice makes perfect, PERFECT practice makes perfect. This summer my new students from Russia arrived. However this summer I had a great student who in few lessons had a good solid full golf swing. I said “Skip steps now, you’ll skip them later. Cut corners now, you’ll cut them later. You get used to what you do most of the time”. The student didn’t find golf so difficult because it came from tennis and it was  already disciplined. There are a lot of people who played tennis and are very good golf players (Dinu Pescariu, Florin Sagarceanu, just to name a few). But for those who aren’t so competitive like my new beginners, they need more time.
I wanted that students to feel comfortable when they entered in first tournament at the golf club. It’s really difficult to come into a golf club on your own and golf is a more difficult sport to take on than tennis. Student’s passion and dedication for golf transformed him into a very good player in just 3 months. The way the student practiced golf was the way that he fought in his first golf tournament and earned  him first place in 2013. When the student received the award at gala function  admitted to be shocked when I read out his name. “I honestly did not feel I was going to win it because I noticed so many golf players so much better and playing golf for a longer period than me” he said.
I understood it can be pretty daunting for beginners when they walk into a golf club and see so many faces. What I liked also about my student were the practice habits and that he had a mindset like that of an “inverse paranoid”.
An “inverse paranoid” would be someone who actually believes that he or she has nothing to lose and everything to gain when playing golf. My student was completely at ease because he believed that he had absolutely nothing to fear, and that it’s more than likely that he will have an exceptionally successful round of golf. I teached my student how to relax for golf game, to trust his own abilities so he can focus on the task in hand and this stopped him from being hold back by worries, distractions and self-criticism.
I can help golf players to improve concentration, rely on their swing, eliminate distractions and cope with competition pressure. I can teach you also to get into this elusive “Zone”, using relaxation and visualization techniques, so you can get out of your own way, leaving expectations, analysis and fear out of the equation, so you can perform the best of your abilities regardless of the situation you find yourself in.
 If you can hold a putt of two meters long on the putting green or hit a driver straight down the middle on the driving range when you are practicing in your own, then there’s no reason why you can’t do it again to win a competition, if you are in the right frame of mind.