Why golf is relatively easy
IT has been absolutely fascinating these past few months working with Super League team Huddersfield Giants on their own Mind Factor in rugby league.
To be able to see at first hand the training, application and dedication to the most brutal of sports has been eye opening.
Make no mistake, these players who put their body on the line week in week out, are absolute warriors.
The ability to withstand crunching tackles and seriously high intensive activity for 80 minutes leaves me struck with admiration.
It has been amazing how keen the players have been to embrace ideas on how they can improve their game by embracing a better mindset and the skill of focused concentration.
It has also been great to see at first hand a world-class coach in action. Make no mistake, Nathan Brown, the Australian head coach, is truly top notch and it is no coincidence that he was courted by some of the biggest clubs in the world before agreeing to lead the St Helens outfit from next season.
It is fascinating to see how much time the coaches have to put in to analysing their opponents each and every week.
The amount of study that goes into a gameplan to defeat the opposition is enormously detailed.
Yet, clearly it would be a poor coach who didn’t spend time giving his players a clear directive on how to unlock the opposition defences and, in turn, how to negate their offensive tactics.
Observing all of this, it got me thinking how easy, in a sense, we have it at golf. Yet, very often we don’t see it that way and fail to focus appropriately.
We all fall into the trap of just looking without really seeing in more areas than just our own golf course. There is no real opposition in that nobody can tackle you, nobody can punch you, they can’t steal the ball off you or deflect it in any way.
But so much of the time I spend coaching golfers, it is about understanding this key point.
The only opposition is the course and, if your attention is on anything else other than that and your own gameplan, then you are mentally in the wrong place.
So often, people say I am playing in this event or that event but there will be a lot of good players there. So what?! Even Tiger Woods is not allowed to come up to you and take your ball away!
To understand the simple principle that your attention is either in a place which is useful or not useful is a very powerful concept in becoming the best player you can be.
Make sure you take advantage of the fact you are playing a unique game in the sense that nobody else can golf your ball.
It is you and your gameplan out there and if you find yourself letting your attention move towards whoever else is playing or what anybody else is likely or not likely to score, then you are in the wrong place mentally.
Of course, if you are playing matchplay this is slightly different but even in that scenario, I would argue you will be best suited to play the course rather than the man.
With this in mind, I would suggest you begin to really look at the course, even your home course where you play on a regular basis.
Do your game a favour by treating yourself to a walk around your course and look at it through the lens of someone seeing it for the first time. As quirky as this may seem, I promise you that you will see things differently.
Even if you have played your home course thousands of times.
The problem with our brain is that when we do something over and over again, we just go on to auto pilot and fail to see what is really there. We have a kind of ‘attention blindness’ which comes from repetition and habit.
When you walk a course like this, ask yourself ‘what would be the best way for me to play this hole?’
Even if there is only one hole which you see differently and you then approach it differently, it may just be that one hole in a round of golf that can be the difference between success and failure.
As someone once said to me, there is a world of difference between looking at something and really seeing something.
Yet, we all fall into the trap of just looking without really seeing in more areas than just our own golf course.
It has been a great lesson for me from the world of rugby league to see how attention to detail in the right areas can have such a big impact.
I have no doubt if we take this principle out on to the course, we will see the course and our own game in a somewhat different light.