I have said this before but I will say it again. I love golf and I love what I do. I get to be outside and I get the opportunity to teach others how to play this game. Playing this game requires a lot of patience and discipline. I can teach you how to swing but I cannot teach you how to be patient with your progress. I'm sure you have heard the saying "Rome was not built in a day," but when it comes to golf too many people think they can become an overnight sensation after one lesson. I like to think that I do a good job of explaining the swing and highlighting areas that need attention in my student's swing but I am not a miracle worker.
The hard work happens when you leave me. Do you practice deliberately? Meaning when you practice do you focus on the areas that I showed you in the lesson or do you just go back to your old ways of practicing? Are you changing your mindset about the swing or are you continuing to exhaust yourself by swinging at the ball instead of your target? Do you believe you can improve or are you constantly berating yourself? Are you trying to show off for others or are you focusing on your personal goals?
Playing golf is supposed to be enjoyable. If you are not having fun then you are putting too much pressure on yourself. Golf is a game. Treat it that way. The question to ask is "How do I beat the course?" Too many golfers worry about beating their buddy. When you are stressed or getting angry, the course is beating you. How does an inadamant thing have the ability to beat a human with a brain? It doesn't but when you let your emotions take over, the course wins every time.
Emotions are hard to manage, especially if you are a parent of a junior who wants to play golf competitively. The best advice I can give to those parents is to let their golfers enjoy the game. If they want to play in tournaments, encourage them to learn the rules of the game, get them out to play on course so they can strategize about how to beat the course and when they are struggling encourage them to think about what they have learned and apply that knowledge. Let your juniors drive their ambition and do your best to minimize your expectations.
I have taught many juniors who competed throughout high school but did not pursue it in college. It is not the end of world. The experience they gain on this golf journey will help them, no matter where life takes them. You can rest assured that they will not be calling me or any other coach in a panic because their boss invited them to play in a foursome next week. Yes, we absolutely get those calls.
The key thing to remember whether you are pursing golf recreationally or competitively is to be realistic in your expectations. If you put in the right effort, progress will follow. Even more important, do not compare yourself to another golfer. Some golfers get certains pieces of the game easier than others. Some golfers need more time to change bad habits. Golf is a journey, a personal journey. Enjoy it!!
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