I just got an update on my golf handicap from GHIN (Golf Handicap Information Network) and despite all my best intentions, practice, instruction and efforts, my numbers are UP! Sigh.
They (the infamous “they” who shall never be named) say that it’s not unusual for a handicap to fluctuate a bit. Everyone can go through a slump or two. I seem to be in a chasm! I’ve decided rather than wallow in misery at my rising numbers that I would spend some time trying to figure out what’s behind this GHIN roller coaster I am on.
- First, of course, I submit all my scores, even the really bad ones. Perhaps I’m being too honest and should hold back a couple of those really horrible rounds, but if I do that then the whole purpose of the handicap score is skewed and why do it at all? Better to be honest, put in all the scores, no matter the end result.
- Second, I think I’m trying too hard. I know it may sound a bit crazy, but because I want to do well, I try too hard and I think that’s why I flub up. I’ve taken all the lessons, read all the books (written one too — aka The Ultimate Guide,) spend time on the range and the putting green and play at least twice a week. Still I am not improving. Here’s what I think is going on:
- I know too much and my head is full of dozens of swing thoughts every time I set up in front of the ball.
- My desire is always to get the most distance I can get so when I swing my club I swing fast and with fury. That guarantees I am swinging too hard and with little control. I may get distance but not direction. I’ve been in every sand bunker on Cape Cod.
- I play stupid. I have a pretty good idea how far I can hit each club in my bag, but I forget to take into account the wind, the conditions of the fairway (hard or soft) and I more often than not let my enthusiasm for distance get the better of me. I end up over the green and into the far distant bunker or on to the next fairway.
So what do I do? We still have about three months of golf to play here in the northeast. It gets a little frigid around mid-November, but I’ll play golf when its 50 degrees out. So there is still time to improve. In an effort to make the golf gods smile upon me once again, I’m implementing some counter-measures.
- First – simplify all my thoughts into just one. Get the noise out of my head. Get all the practice done on the practice range, not on the golf course.
- Second – SLOW DOWN. I know, I know, we’ve all heard it before: “Let the club do the work.” “Less is more.” But it’s true. When I slow down my swing and stop trying to smash the ball with my golf club, when I let go of the tension and relax my grip, the club head does its job and the ball goes sailing exactly where I want it to go.
- Third – play smart. It’s much better to hit a short wedge shot out of the back of a sand trap and onto the fairway then it is to try and hit the ball forward towards the green, over a steep overhanging cliff of a bunker and take three tries doing it.
So that’s my plan, in the short term — at least for this afternoon. I’m off to play nine holes at the local course. It’s 95 degrees out there and I will probably faint from the heat. But it’s a good chance to keep my play simple, slow and smart! My new mantra for Success!
What do you think? What do you do when your GHIN is rising?