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Will I have one Marshmallow or Two, which one are YOU?

Many of you may have heard of the famous Stanford University marshmallow experiment done in the late 1960’s and early 70’s by Walter Mischel on delayed gratification.

The gist of the experiment was that 3 to 5 year olds were left in a room with a Marshmallow for 15 minutes with no distractions.

They were all told that if they wait until the researcher came back into the room they would get two Marshmallows.

Only about a third waited.

The interesting part is the follow up research years later on all the kids that took part in the experiment.

Those that waited for two generally fared better in life.

 

Ok so how relevant is this to golf?

 

The expectation of instant gratification after a couple of hours coaching is rife in golf.

However the golf industry is to blame for this, we on the inside are to blame.

Golf coaches sell 30 minute lessons.

Golf Club Manufacturers promise you will hit it longer and straighter if you buy their product.

Any golf magazine you open offers a quick tip.

You tube…..don’t even get me started on that!

Golf on Television is filled with commentators filling space overanalysing the golf swings of the best players in the world. Then having quick segments on how they can help you with your slice.

 

All Instant Gratification!

 

However I get it from your point of view, you the golfer. You are confused on why you hit the shots you do. You want clarity.

In times of chaos many of us look for certainty.

Experimental psychologists have shown our quest for certainty ebbs and flows over time and for many is peaked in times of chaos.

So we the golfing industry, we are to blame.

We play on your insecurities and your search for certainty.

We sell you certainty

We have sold you a lie.

 

Instant Gratification.

 

We have sold you a lie that the Golf Industry is completely different from any other walk of life when it comes to long term plans/improvement.

The resulting effect of this environment can be heard from many a weekend warrior.

 

Such as:

Anyone ever heard this from a friend that has had a slice for as long as you have known them?

 

‘I’m going to go and get a golf lesson out and he/she is going to sort my slice out’

 

Let’s reframe this.

 

You have some money to invest.

‘I’m going to go and see my Financial Advisor for an hour and he is going to make me rich’

 

You hire a personal trainer

‘I’m going to go and see my personal trainer for an hour and he is going to sort my beer gut out’

 

You want a promotion and your boss asks you why you merit one

‘I did an hour course last night on….’

 

You get the gist.

 

If the 1 Marshmallow rings true for you what can you do?

 

Treat your golf game like a business, you are the CEO, however you have a board of directors.

When you are thinking about looking for certainty in times of chaos consult your board of directors for advice.

Someone you trust and can talk through the potential courses of actions you are about to take.

The board of directors could be close friends/wife/husband/golf coach etc.

So if you find yourself in a short period of poor form and are thinking about making major changes, such as a swing or equipment change consult your board and then make a business case for these changes.

Justify them.

 

It would be my pleasure to be a member of your board :-).

 

 

 

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The best golf lesson we have ever had

 

Arveen, a young lawyer, has just had the best golf lesson he has ever had.

Arveen and I over the last few months have been experiencing the honeymoon period. Everything we have done together has worked. Arveen has been hitting the ball longer, straighter & scores have lowered.

However after a two week holiday with no golf we have hit a speed bump.

Arveen has developed the shanks!

Arveen started the lesson shanking the ball and spent most of the hour shanking it (a particularly nasty golf shot that hits the hosel of the golf club and goes sideways right!).

 

Shank

 

To me golf is a game, with puzzles and we had a puzzle to solve in our hour together.

If you are not already aware I like you the golfer to be able to solve the puzzles by yourself.

So my first question in this session was:

Me - Where are you hitting it on the club face?

Arveen - No idea

I promptly hand Arveen Athletes foot powder, ask him to spray the face and then figure out where he is hitting it on the clubface.

After a few shots.

Arveen - Out the hosel.

Me - Ok how are you going to solve this problem?

So for duration of the lesson I let Arveen struggle to solve the problem in front of him.

I asked him 5 minutes in.

Me - Why I am I not telling you how to solve this problem

Arveen - I'm not sure

Me - If I tell you what to do if this happens say when you are playing golf will you have the skill set to solve this problem?

Arveen - Probably not no.

Me – Therefore we need to develop your skill set so you can?

Arveen – Absolutely

 

“In sterquiliniis invenitur”—in filth it will be found.

What you need most is always to be found where you least wish to look.

 

Occassionaly throughout the lesson I would probe Arveen with questions, such as:

  1. In the last three months what feels in your swing have worked for you and why?
  1. Let’s experiment. I want to you to play about with these swing feels…
  1. Exaggerate that feel. Ok where did you hit that one on the club face?

 

Near the end of the lesson Arveen figured out how to hit the middle of the club face again pretty much by himself. Arveen now has the beginnings of a skill set to coach himself.

Arveen then asked an interesting question at the end of the lesson.

Arveen - Is this normal?

Me – Is what normal?

Arveen – hitting the ball so poorly after a period of success. I feel like I have gone backwards.

Me – Ha ha, yes completely normal and everyone experiences regression when trying to improve, this is the best lesson we have ever had!

Arveen – Really….How come? (Looking rather perplexed)

Me – Think about your career as a Lawyer, have you learnt more from your successes or failures? I bet you have walked away from some day’s/weeks feeling like you are the worst lawyer in the world? Learn much from those days/weeks?

Arveen – Sure loads.

Me – Well today one was of those days. Improvement in performance is not a straight line up wards. It’s full of peaks and troughs. Today we hit a trough, and you figured out how to deal with that trough. Well done.

 nonlinear performance graphCourtesy of Oliver Morton

 

Here’s the dilemma, I could have told Arveen exactly what to do and his shank would have been cleared in 5 minutes.

If I had what would have Arveen learnt?

 

 

Here’s what Arveen had to say:

 ‘Even after a terrible performance for 90% of my lesson with Pete, in a strange way I feel more comfortable going onto the course after the lesson. Not on the basis that I will necessarily play well every time, but that I will be able to make the necessary adjustments on my own to help and get me round if it does all go wrong again. Indeed the first game after we had a lesson, I started the first few holes off poorly, however managed to sort my game out and played great for the rest of the round’

Arveen

 

Arveen

 

I'm interested to hear your thoughts, do you think I should of told Arveen what to do straight away?

If so why?

 

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I've got my new shoes on - Function vs Form

Having just returned from holiday, I have a few stories that you might able to relate to in with regards to your own golfing experiences.
 
The first is a story about my beautiful wife Shelley and her affliction with shoes.
 
You see my wife has the habit of picking beautiful looking shoes, however rarely do they function when they have to be used!
 
The story played itself out on holiday when Shelley had bought a new pair of shoes for the holiday.


 Shelley's holiday shoes.

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