In golf, let well enough alone

Get this: you’re playing great. Your swing is clicking, the putts are dropping, you’re chipping it close. Good golf is automatic. Then you get an idea that you think will help you play even better. You try it out, and presto! There goes that good patch of golf.

When something is working in your golf game, working real well, leave it alone. Do not try a little thing that will make it even better. You’re on top of the mountain. A change will only take you downhill. LEAVE IT A-L-O-N-E.

Remember Padraig Harrington? Three major championships in two years? What is there for him to do next but start tinkering with his swing to get even better. That third major, in 2008, is the last time he has won. Zip for five years since then.

Or consider Ian Baker-Finch. The Australian with a working-man’s swing won a few times, then struck gold on the weekend of the 1991 Open Championship and won. Thinking he should be able to contend in every major he entered, instead of merely enjoying his moment, he tried for more distance and ruined his sweet swing. He was off the Tour in a few years and now a single-digit handicapper could give him a run for his money.

Remember that the goal of golf is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. If you’re doing that, keep doing what you’re doing to do that. Work it for all it’s worth until it stops rewarding you. Then you might try something new.

But as long as you’re finding fairways and greens, putting it close or in, you’ve arrived at the goal you have been seeking. Let development go. Play with what you have learned how to do. Hit the same shots over and over again. Enjoy your success.

I think the reason why so many of us keep changing is that is what we’ve always done. Golf is a process of looking for a better way. That’s what we expect from the game. Now you have got to where you wanted to go, you can’t keep looking at golf as a process of change. Look at it now as a process of performance. Your goal is not to seek, but to repeat.

Really now, isn’t that what you do in other things of your life that you are accomplished at? You use the same skills over and over again. There’s enjoyment in that. Make your enjoyment in golf hitting one good shot after another, with the same skills.

If you’re in that place, it’s because you have sown, and sown, and sown. Now it’s time to reap, reap, reap.


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