How David Moyes and bad decisions can affect your golfMay, 2014
Our own success and failure will largely be determined by the decisions we make
As I am sure you are aware, in April the board at Manchester United FC made the decision to terminate the six-year contract of their ‘new’ manager, David Moyes, after 10 months in the job. A decision was initially made to appoint him and then the decision was reversed. Moyes himself will now probably look back at the decisions he took in his time at Old Trafford and he will inevitably be questioning how many of those decisions turned out to be good or bad.
His tactics, his training methods and the appointment of all his own backroom staff will all be put under the microscope. We all have our own opinions on such matters and it will feed armchair fans with enough material to last into the summer and the off-season.
For us in the world of golf, it is definitely the ‘on’ season and I relate this to your own golf because our own success and failure in any endeavour will largely be determined by the decisions we make.
It has been said that up to 95 per cent (if not more) of any given day of human activity is pretty much on autopilot. We do most things without any thought. We get up, brush our teeth, go for breakfast and eat more or less the same things day in day out.
We call at the same shop for our coffee and order the same kind of coffee. We get to work and have similar conversations with the people around us as we had the day before. I am sure you get the picture.
I am not saying this is inherently bad, it isn’t, and the fact our brain doesn’t have to think of every last detail anew every day, shows it is a wonderful piece of machinery. But, it does tend to keep us producing more or less the same results in a lot of things we do. Nowhere is this more readily apparent than the game of golf.
Golfers often say to me that they want to be consistent, when often they are unbelievably consistent We play at the same time, the same course, often with the same people and have an uncanny knack of dropping certain shots in a fairly predictable way. Golfers often say to me that they want to be consistent, when often they are unbelievably consistent in ways they go about playing the game that then produces consistent results. It may be bad results but it will be consistent!
There are big decisions in life such as the Moyes sacking but also the small daily decisions will add up to our success or failure.
What are some of the decisions you could make with your game that could have an impact and put you into a different and possibly more productive state of mind?
Could you play a round where you decide to just go for the middle of every green instead of the flag?
You may find that this decision isn’t the right one for you, it might be too conservative, too defensive or you could find that one single decision stops you from consistently missing greens on the short side and having to play next-to-impossible recoveries.
A good decision could help you find out. You could make a decision that as long as you did all you could before you hit the ball in your pre-shot routine, then you made a commitment not to beat yourself up after the ball has gone.
You could decide that whatever happens out on the course, be it good, bad or indifferent, you will still go through your process on each and every shot all the wayfrom 1st tee to 18th green.
You could decide that you will eliminate moaning from your game – be that about the course, the weather, your playing partners, the pace of play, take your pick! Maybe don’t be too ambitious at first, just pick one thing that you are not going to moan about and see if that makes you play worse. If it does, you can always decide to reclaim your moaning!
The choice is yours, really. A whole bunch of small decisions and a few really big decisions but, all told, the decisions we make or don’t make will be a direct and lasting influence on what happens to both our experience and output in any activity we choose. Maybe Manchester United will in the future be proved to have made the right decision. It will be interesting to find out!