It’s no secret that golf is a mental game. Is there anyone who hasn’t flubbed it off the first tee after an hour of perfection on the range? Body memory doesn’t cut it where golf’s concerned. There are too many other variables at work on the system. So why not try looking at golf as a ‘series of problems to solve’, rather than a ‘set of skills to master’?
This is my new 2010 golf philosophy. I’ve always learned by understanding and exploring underlying patterns, in math, physics, even new social situations. What are the rules? I ask, before finding out how far I can bend them. Golf is physics; physics is about predictability, which just so happens to be the biggest challenge in golf.
Any relationship requires trust. To be honest, even after 6 years, golf and I still haven’t quite bonded. It’s my fault, really. Not once have I ever sat down with the game, took it by the hand, and said those magical words: “Ok, so now let’s talk about you.” This season, I’m putting our past animosity aside. I’ve spent too long feeling helpless, like some poor abused child, quaking over the ball, not having any clue whether I’m to be rewarded or punished for my persistence. This year, I’m exploring the ball’s motivations before bringing my body back into the equation.
In math, every complicated equation can be broken down into its components and worked through systematically (BEDMAS anyone?). The golf swing’s string of complex contortions can be worked the same way. Basic physics are the simple additions and subtractions underlying golf. Only by developing a close personal relationship with the fundamentals can one hope to have any sense of security (or even hope) while standing over the ball. The idea isn’t to produce a perfectly consistent swing (although a girl can still dream), but to know enough about the ‘why’ to be able to bring an errant swing back from the brink on the 17th hole. Because isn’t that as much as any of us golfers can ask for… just a wee bit of hope?