How I got better at golf while playing less

On achieving better performance with less effort

I’m just as good (if not better) at golf today as I was in high school despite the fact that I only play several times a year.

I think there are three reasons why:

First, I fixed my backswing.

In high school I had a critical mechanical flaw in my backswing that required hours and hours of practice to compensate for.

In other words, my swing wasn’t very forgiving as it required perfect timing to hit the ball well.

In the years since, I’ve been able to eliminate that mechanical flaw and greatly simplify my swing; making it much easier to hit the ball consistently well (and to do so with much less practice). 

Second, I fell in love with putting (and practicing putting).

When I was younger, it was all about hitting booming drives and laser two irons off the deck.

My focus on the long game (and my need to as a result of my backswing issues) left little time to focus on my putting.

Fast forward to today and putting has become my favorite activity.

It’s become my meditative practice. I love going out early morning or late afternoon and putting for an hour or two.

Third, I have far lesser expectations today (and thus don’t get near as frustrated as I used to).

Only playing a few rounds a year affords me the benefit of having almost zero performance expectations.

Each round is a complete surprise. I can shoot 85 or 70.

The result of this, is that I get far less frustrated than I used to when I hit an errant shot or have a bad hole. In short, I “bounce back” better and stay more emotionally calm/resilient than I ever did in high school.

The trick will be to ramp up the amount I play while still maintaining my loose emotional grip on the outcomes (there’s a deep life lesson there somewhere ha).

Because playing has become much less emotionally expensive, I’ve found that I have more fun and am able to remain focused for the entire round (I used to get bored after 12-13 holes, and, despite my front 9 scores always being great, my back nine scores consistently suffered). 

🤝 Stay in touch

I send an email several times a year with a handful of the most interesting things I’ve written or uncovered at home, abroad, and on the web.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *