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Explore, Exploit and Adapt

ball-in-rough

When it comes do DIY/Gardening I have no idea what I am doing. I have tried my damndest to avoid doing anything in this area for the 41 years I have been on this planet. My wife, Shelley, will attest to this and regale quite a few stories I’m sure if asked. Here is one from Shelley’s perspective.

‘Last year I bought Pete a nice Barbeque for Father’s day, Pete was working that morning and I had invited everybody round for the barbeque and had factored in plenty of time for Pete to build the barbeque. One small problem, when Pete opened the box it had no instructions. 2hrs later the barbeque still wasn’t built and Pete had steam coming out of his ears, muttering ‘worst Fathers day present ever’!’

You see I just don’t see things because I spend no time doing DIY and when I do I never explore the possibilities of what can and can’t be done with various tools and equipment. I need a rigid plan to stick to and when I don’t have it I am lost.

Flip that to golf and I see and feel more than most golfers. So why do I see more and what do I see?

Here is an example from a playing lesson the other day.

Out on the course with a 2 handicapper whom had just flown a green out of the rough with an iron and was left confused to why as he had thought he had judged the distance well enough. So I asked him how he worked out the shot.

‘140 yards slightly downhill, no wind and green quite soft. I hit my 9iron 140 yards, so a nice smooth 9iron’

Me – ‘So why did the ball past the flag by 10 yards’

Player – ‘I got a flyer’

Me – ‘Did you see from the lie that you could potentially get a flyer?’

Player – ‘No’

For those that are unaware a flyer in golf is where grass gets between the club and the ball, causing less friction, therefore the ball flies with less spin and goes farther than say a lie from the fairway where a well struck shot will spin more. The player in question was judging his distance from a well struck lie on the fairway.

We then explored various lies out of the rough and I asked lots of questions.

I then gave the player a lie that I had a fair idea the ball was going to ‘jump or fly out of with less spin’ and sure enough it did. Again the player did not ‘see it’.

I said - ‘I chose a lie that I had a fair idea that it was going to jump out of, why can I create that lie and see it?’

Player – ‘no idea’

Me - ‘Because I spend most of my time in the rough! In all seriousness I see it more because when I hit your 1st shot that flew over the green I became curious to why that happened and EXPLORED the lie hitting lots of shots from a similar lie, then as I got better at understanding the lie I EXPLOITED the information understanding that the ball was going to fly further and spin less out of this lie and ADAPTED my strategies to the shot in hand as I understood it more’

Me – ‘So what do you need to do to get better at this and see and understand what different lies might do to your shot?’

Player – ‘Explore it more, spend more time exploring these lies’

Me – ‘Exactly and reflecting after each shot, reflecting on what you have seen with regards to lie and how the ball reacted’

Discussing with the player as why this has come to be, that he can’t see these shots, we came to the conclusion that too much time was spent on the driving range, playing off a matt and not EXPLORING, EXPLOITING and ADAPTING to all the various shots that playing on the golf course throws at you.

 

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15 July 2018

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Peter Arnott Golf
Craigmillar Park Golf Club, 1 Observatory Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3HG

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