It’s time to seriously think about change…when you put your drive for the 10th on the motorway; when they refer to the sand trap on the 14th as Byron’s Bunker; when your woods really are made of wood; when no-one dreams of giving you a 9 inch putt; when a 4 ball medal match plays through your friendly 2 player match play; when your putter carries the name of a long-dead, hardly-remembered golfer; when your 3 wood has the word spoon inscribed underneath; when your preferred ball is a Spalding Executive; when Titleist sponsor you….. to wear Nike…it’s time to think about change.
Perhaps it’s even time for a radical change.
You’ve done everything you can think of and still your handicap is in the 20s. You bought new clubs, new golf balls, 7 putters, used the interlocking grip, the baseball grip, the leading grip, the trailing hand grip, the Toga Death grip. You’ve stood closer to the ball, further away from the ball, practically on the ball. You’ve tried yoga, acupuncture and chewing gum to help you relax. You’ve tried drinking Red Bull to keep you focused. You’ve bought a shed full of magazines, DVDs, books. You’ve changed your diet, changed your ball marker and even your lucky black hat. Nothing works. You’ve tried absolutely everything short of getting a lesson from the pro.
You need help.
Psychologically people tend not to want to change. There are a hundred theories why this is so. A popular one believes it all stems from the time we were living in caves and any change was dangerous to our survival. In those times change really was difficult. If you wanted to change your swing there were no driving ranges, no nets to practice in, very few indoor practice areas. So change was only made when the price of not changing was so drastic, or life – threatening that you had to. Maybe you were slicing so much you were worrying velociraptors. That would make you work on your grip.
It is now almost universally agreed that people don’t like change because we simply like the comfort of routine, custom, habit. This seems to be true for most aspects of our lives. All our daily life we tend to sit in the same seats in the clubhouse, park in the same place, miss our putts on the same line. We see the vets in the same bunkers on the same holes every day.
We tend to read newspapers from the back, even though the sports pages are rarely at the back anymore. We leave a half inch of tea even if we have never used tea leaves for 20 years. We take a driver off the 8th tee although 9 times out of 10 it ends up in the rough.
However, would you change if your life depended on it? As a betting man I would lay odds that you wouldn’t. This is based on a report by Dr. Edward Miller. The report showed that people who undergo heart surgery are often left with a choice; in stark terms the choice is ‘change or die’. If they change and lead a healthier lifestyle after surgery they could avoid pain, further surgery and stop the spread of a variety of
diseases before one of them kills them. Or, they could stay the same; eat, drink and be dead.
Only 1 in 10 patients changed their lifestyle. It seems that they would prefer to die rather than change. Although this is initially difficult to believe it seems that people get stuck in a defence and denial attitude and simply refuse to accept it. This sounds ridiculous but when you think of people like George Best, James Belushi you wonder. You look at other people who get trapped in a potentially disastrous lifestyle that they simply can’t seem to change; Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Bill Cllinton and you believe it a little more.
So it takes a fair amount of pain and effort to change – so why bother? I have playing partners who approach a bunker with the same enthusiasm you display approaching a rabid rhinoceros. Yet they rationalise it away by remembering the one great bunker shot they played on March 28th 1987. And, then they say, “Well, how often am I in the bunker – once or twice a round if that – it’s hardly worth bothering. “
So they don’t and carry on…
I wonder what would cause someone to be sufficiently fed up with their game that they would actually do something about it? Well, if you did actually hit your playing partners on the tee with that hook you keep compensating for, or you were making more and more bizarre excuses not to play in medal competitions then this could well indicate that you are getting dissatisfied enough to actually do something about it.
So, if you seriously think about feigning injury and walking in, rather than play out of a
bunker you should probably start thinking about making a change…….it’s time to face your demons and do something about it.
Writer, golfer and golf writer, I have developed and moved on (not permanently in case there are any publishers reading this) from the relatively straightforward world of management consultancy with motivation, leadership, change matrices, decision making, communication, customer care, bottom lines, double-loop learning, stress, attribution theory, behavioural interviewing, project management, group think and Johnson and Scholes’ Cultural Web, to the complex and unfathomable world of describing places where people can hit a ball into a hole.
I have written for a number of golf magazines and newspapers including 'Golf International' , 'wales on Sunday' and am currently golf correspondent for Cambria Magazine (Wales's Magazine) and blogger for Wales Online.
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