- Alistair Tait
Can We Change Our Golf Story?
If Bryson DeChambeau can change his spots, why can’t this leopard do so too?
Or am I trapped inside the body and mind I was born with and there’s just no escape?
How many of us have entered into a new golf season determined to be different, to be better, to look at things anew? How many of us start out the new year with renewed faith, a determination to change, only to lapse into old habits. In his book Take Relief, good friend and fellow Woburn Golf Club member Sam Jarman says:
“...how golfers think and feel just shows the strength of an illusion most of us never escape from."
So do we believe DeChambeau when he says he vows to ignore the expectations of others?
“For me, I'm going to continue to grow my game in the best way I possibly can, being a better putter, chipper, wedger, long driver, everything. As time goes on, I have to rein in those expectations and just learn to be me. Don't try and be anybody else.”
Let’s cut DeChambeau some slack and take his words at face value. He’s going to be an interesting watch this season.
“The aim is to simplify rather than complicate. To strip away layers of thinking rather than add. To reveal truth rather than obscure it.”
But what is truth? Surely we are who we are and there’s no escape from it, not matter how hard we try?
In The Lost Art of the Short Game, which is on my bedside table at the moment, authors Gary Nichol and Karl Morris ask:
“Is it possible that YOU could develop the short game skills to rival the very best players in the world?”
Big question, which they answer emphatically:
All that’s missing is the exclamation mark.
Nichol and Morris talk about the need to change “Your story” to succeed:
“If you keep telling yourself that you’re a no-good loser … you will not only start to believe that story, but your subconscious will go in search of evidence to support that narrative."
Sound familiar? It does to me.
We all create personas for ourselves that we often become trapped inside, even if we still tread the crooked paths this game throws at us in hope. Arnold Haultain, that metaphysical of all golf writers, noted that as far back as 1908, when he first published his intriguing tome The Mystery of Golf. Haultain wrote:
“The duffer is puzzled at the extraordinary fascination which his new-found pastime exercises over him. He came to scoff; he remains to play; he inwardly wonders how it was that he was so long a heretic; and, if he is a proselyte given to Higher Criticism, he seeks reasons for the hope that is in him.”
In short, the duffer is hooked and wants nothing more than to crack golf’s code.
And yet, truth is many of us who play this game reach a certain handicap and never get beyond it. Many get worse instead of better despite no end of lessons, new clubs, practice.
Why? What is it about this game over most other sports that often the more you try the worse you get?
Nichol and Morris assert:
“Reading this book may be the first step on your journey to short game improvement but ultimately you need to take action.
“The concepts and principles within these pages alone cannot turn you into a genius around the greens. The concepts and principles within these pages alone cannot turn you into a genius around the greens. It is up to you to go out and experiment with them and then implement some concepts, ideas and principles we believe will create a much happier ending to your story.”
Isn’t that what we all want: a much happier ending to our story?
I certainly do.
So, without further ado I can state categorically this year is going to be different for yours truly. I’m going to change my habits, take a new approach to find out, like DeChambeau, how to be me and find a happy ending to my golf story?
I’ll keep you posted. Hope you find a happy ending to your story too in 2022.
P.S. With the above in mind, I’ll be blogging less frequently in 2022. I’ll still write regularly on a weekly basis, perhaps 3-4 four times a week, but not the 6-7 times I have been doing. Other than improving my golf, I have other things going on in my life I want to focus on too which takes up my time. Those Munros aren’t going to climb themselves, you know…
#JustSaying: To be disciplined from within, where all is permissible, where all is concealed – that is the point.” Montaigne