I would be willing to bet everything I possess on the fact you regularly use the ‘C’ word regarding your game. I would guess maybe even in the last week or so. The ‘C’ word being consistency.
If you have been for a lesson you will have told your pro you want to be more consistent with your game. You will have probably read many articles or purchased many books promising you a more consistent swing, more consistency on the greens or the holy grail of consistent scores. Yet how did all of that work out for you?
Did you indeed become ‘more consistent’? Did you find the ‘secret’?
What about your own actual experience of the game itself? Have you ever had many days one after the other where your swing has felt the same? Probably not.
For virtually everyone, including some of the best players in the world, our actual subjective experience of the game is one of anything but consistency. Much closer in fact to untold chaos!
Yet we are still constantly sold the idea that somewhere over the rainbow is a consistent game just waiting to be discovered. It is perhaps the biggest myth of all and it sends so many of us down rabbit holes we may never emerge from; not to mention a lifetime of golfing frustration.
Only recently on my own podcast ‘The Brain Booster’ I had former PGA Tour winner Phil Blackmar, who gave me an incredible insight into the futility of the ‘C’ word. He shared the story of when he was working for the Golf Channel and how he had questioned many of the greats of the game about their swing. He asked legends such as Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson how often they felt like they had their swing under control. The feedback was astonishing in that some of the greatest players ever to hold a club stated MOST of the time in their career, they had been fighting their swing as opposed to having control of it.
So if the greatest players of all time spent most of their careers managing their swing at less than its best, what hope does it give to the rest of us mere mortals?
I firmly believe this seemingly desperate scenario actually gives us a wonderful opportunity IF we change the frame of how we play the game. If we shift our futile search for consistency and instead pursue the goal of ADAPTABILITY.
Instead of the fool’s errand of consistency, we change our quest to the far more achievable goal of being able to adapt our game to what we have today. That means getting the best out of the way our body and mind are interacting right now on this unique day we have been given.
If you change the questions you ask yourself, you can literally transform your golf, not to mention your life. The great motivational guru Tony Robbins is often quoted as saying ‘the quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your questions’.
So if you change your question from ‘what swing have I got today?’ to ‘what shots do I have today?’ a subtle but vitally important shift. This single question has the potential to change your whole experience of the game because I firmly believe on any given day you might not have your swing but you will always have shots you can play.
This may mean you have to play with a 25-yard slice today because it is how you are actually moving TODAY. It doesn’t mean you will always have that slice and it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on improving your swing but if there is one single thing I have learned in the last thirty years of coaching, it’s the futility of trying to change your swing on the golf course, especially in competition.
As Jack Nicklaus himself said many years ago, ‘you need to dance with the lady that brought you’. In other words, to be so much more tuned into what you have today as opposed to what you wish you had. Most of the time club golfers do not destroy their score with a steady string of consistent bogeys. It is usually the triples and quadruple bogeys we throw in that cause all of the damage. More often than not, these high numbers occur because we make what I call A-game decisions when we have a C-game swing.
We go for plays and attempt to bring off shots requiring our best game. We try to carry the water over 200 yards, we try to get to the par-5 in two, we go for the flag on a long par-3. Yet today, if I only have my C-game, then these A-game decisions will get me into a lot of trouble. It is the wise golfer who can make C-game decisions on a C-game day.
So maybe you stop being drawn into golfing conversations about the ‘C’ word and quietly make the decision to become a more adaptable golfer. I promise if you do, this season will give you more pleasure than you can possibly imagine.