Over the past number of years I have played less and less golf. I’ve made the excuses of not having time to practice, not having time to play, needing a break from competitive golf and anything else that came to mind.
The truth is I was having a nightmare with my chipping to the point of having the Yips! I know, the yips are associated with putting but it can affect any part of your game.
As a child I did not have access to a golf course but instead joined my local Pitch & Putt (P&P) course. I loved the game, I was a little shy, unsure of myself and found P&P allowed me to escape into my own little world. I could practice alone, make up games where I was the victorious hero, be adored by imaginary crowds and even attend to the odd press conference or two. Imagination can drive a childhood.
When I started playing golf, I relied heavily on my P&P skills. I hit a soft fade but kept the ball in play and when I got around the greens, I was back in my imaginary world where I could play any and every shot. I could score.
I competed at a decent level as an amateur, won a couple of trophies and represented my golf club to the best of my ability. I loved golf, I was good at it. I never made the upper echelons of elite golf but I could hold my own.
Then it happened, I had a bad day chipping. That’s nothing, everyone has bad days chipping, but chipping is what I do. Next time out I better chip better, people expect me to, I expect me to.
Next game, I hit my first chip badly, “cop on to yourself, your better than this”. The next chip I started to feel a little pressure, “people are starting to look at you, what are you up to, right stay calm and just play your normal shot”, DUFF !!
I started to question my technique, every lie was a bad lie, every hole location was ridiculous. I started to read about technique, try different methods, listen to advise and then one day I woke up in the middle of a golfing maze. In my memory I could see where I wanted to get to but I couldn’t see the pathway back.
I effectively stopped playing golf out of a fear of failure.
It’s a horrible place to be, I love the game but my own psyche wouldn’t let me play. I stayed away from playing and focused on my golf retail and coaching business. I played the odd casual game when I went away with friends but when you’re in sunny places, armed with excuses, you can get away with bad golf.
But the excuses are a big part of the problem, man up and admit you’re not as good as you’d like to be. Stop hiding and make a concerted effort to improve. That’s what I did.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to meet Kendal McWade (EGU Coach) who helped me on the road to improvement. He gave me straight forward information, helped me understand what the problem was and gave me ownership of the changes. Now I’m not going to tell you I’m chipping like my hero, Seve, but I am back playing golf and enjoying it. And for most of us, enjoying the game is what it’s all about. I started to practice, work on the drills Kendal gave me, took a leap of faith and tried a few holes on my own and then, I recently played with a friend of mine and chipped the ball well. I came away from the course with hope and a desire to play again.
So before you think about giving up this great game, please take my advice, go to your pro, get lessons, put in some practice, start playing the way you’d like to and start enjoying the game again.
Fear of failure gives way to love of the game!!