Further education

In these testing and worrying times, golf may not be at the top of many people’s priority list and understandably so.

I have absolutely no medical background and therefore will not be offering any advice on what precautions to take regarding the corona virus. I think that is best left to the medical experts.

At the time of writing, most golf clubs and courses are still open, although I can’t imagine you will struggle to find a space in the car park over the coming weeks.

With The Masters and various other tournaments on tour around the world being cancelled, it would be easy to think that the golf world has come to a grinding halt. That need not be the case.

You might be of the belief that you can only improve your golf by hitting balls on the range and playing as often as you can. However, experience tells me that the main reason most golfers struggle to make the improvements they crave or desire by making mental rather than physical errors on the course.

Bad shots come from bad thoughts. Not because your backswing was too much in the inside, you didn’t create enough lag in your downswing or that you lifted your head. No, most bad or errant shots happen before you even start your takeaway.

If your intention is to make a a full turn, keep your left arm straight, transfer your eight etc…. you will become almost entirely disconnected from the task at hand, to create a golf shot.

Ask anyone who has played this great game and they will tell you that it is largely a game played in the mind. As Bobby Jones famously said “ Competitive golf is played mainly on a five and a half inch course, the space between your ears.” Wise words indeed.

That being the case, how often do your train your mental skills? Would you even know where to start?

If you are in a position where you have to “self isolate”, which is fast becoming an integral part of our language and lifestyles, why not spend some of that time learning about the mental or human skills required to make golf a more fulfilling and enjoyable experience?

While there are lots of mind numbing YouTube videos on how to swing the club, which are all different, all contradictory and ultimately on the whole, confusing. More importantly, they are very much about what you need to do physically, not mentally.

If watching these videos has helped you become the player you want to be, then carry on watching them. However, if they aren’t having the desired impact, consider broadening your deeper understanding of the game by reading a book or two.

As someone who has probably read more golf books than most, I would like to recommend a few that I believe you will find enjoyable, entertaining and educational.

To help gain an understanding and appreciation of golf course design and architecture, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy of – “The Spirit Of St. Andrews by Alister MacKenzie, which is an absolute gem.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of swing technique books but let’s leave them for the time being.

If you want to get your head in the right place, take a look at – “Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect” by Dr. Bob Rotella. While the book itself is full of nuggets, simply by understanding that golf is not a game of perfect as the the title suggests, you might start to look at the way you approach the game slightly differently.

If your current approach isn’t paying dividends, check out – “Attention!! The Secret To You Playing Great Golf by Karl Morris. This is a great read and one which will definitely make you rethink some of the concepts associated with golf in particular and life in general.

It would be remiss of me not to mention two of my favourite books which I am more than a little biased about – “The Lost Art Of Putting” and “The Lost Art Of Playing Golf”.

I had the pleasure of co-writing these with my good friend and colleague, the aforementioned Karl Morris. The feedback we receive from readers around the globe on an almost daily basis would suggest that our countless hours of staring at blank screens waiting for words to appear were worth it in the end. If nothing else, it reinforced to Karl and I that if you stick to and enjoy the process, accumulating good days along the way, the end result can be very worthwhile.

If you haven’t already picked up your copies of the first two Lost Art books, visit – thelostartofgolf.com – where you can also purchase digital download videos of both The Lost Art Of Putting and The Lost Art Of Playing Golf.

Until next time, keep playing if you can, stay safe, take care and enjoy furthering your golf education.