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Automatic versus mindless golf

Caught up with an interesting fella yesterday. Anthony is a very good golfer, fitness expert and has produced some golf products. He’s a bit like me, using his experiences to help other golfers get more out of their game.

I was showing him around the Golf Farm and we were talking shop. Anthony is particularly interested in putting, having created his own putting product while packaging it in with mine. He loved my new putting green and we spent the best part of an hour on it hitting putts and stuffing around. Here’s a part of our conversation that ties into something deeper:

Anthony: I remember this guy I was playing with, had this simple 20 foot putt but he knocked it 15 foot past the hole. I couldn’t believe it, it was like he just had a brain freeze and had no idea what he was doing.

Me: Sounds like he lacked awareness of the situation.

Anthony: Yeah. I showed him some stuff about pre-shot routine and planning and he putted better for the rest of the day.

A lack of awareness might be the biggest issue golfers face. It’s almost like they’re blind, they can’t see/hear/feel stuff that they should. And because they’re not aware of what’s really going on they never play that well. They also miss out on gaining more enjoyment and satisfaction with their golf game.

Here’s a few examples.

– the golfer is completely unaware that the wind is in his face and is surprised when his ball doesn’t fly the bunker that he normally can.
– the golfer doesn’t notice that the hole is cut on a slope and the putt is going to be extra fast. He three putts.
– the golfer doesn’t take a second to glance over at the next green to check out the hole location
– the golfer can’t feel his swing because he’s so worried about his score
– the golfer stands on the first tee and goes blank because he has no idea how to process all the information going through his head.
– the golfer doesn’t notice that the left side of the green is a “no go” zone. He goes for the pin, misses it slightly and makes a double.
– the golfers doesn’t notice that he’s pumped up and full of adrenaline. He takes the club he thinks is right, but airmails the green and makes a stupid bogey
– the golfer doesn’t ever really enjoy himself because he’s focussed on the wrong thing
– the golfer misses countless opportunities to learn and grow because he’s self absorbed in his “own” game.

This list could go on and on.

Many golfers are asleep. They waste shots because they’re over thinking (thinking about the wrong stuff) and not letting their senses tell the story. They’re trying to play golf purely with their left brain – sort of how and accountant works out a complex tax issue.

But golf isn’t accounting. You can’t always think your way out of issues. If thinking was all that was needed we’d all be better players.

“Playing hockey” is a term I use when someone has given up. They play a form of slap happy golf that is more MISS than hit. It’s mindless golf and doesn’t lead anywhere constructive. I’ve been there many times, especially in the early days when golf got too hard. When you try really hard and think you’re doing everything correctly but you keep getting knocked down, the frustration needs an escape valve. For me, playing hockey was that release.

On a more subtle level, lack of awareness is mindless golf. “Mindless” is probably the wrong word here, but when you’re focus is in the wrong place, then you’ve got no chance. Automatic Golf is anything but mindless. In fact, it mixes thinking with the physical action of swinging the club. It gives the technocrats an outlet without destroying the artistic side of the game. I think it blends the best of both worlds. You’re using all of your brain. You’re using your system fully.

Automatic Golf gives you a process. It’s not an event. You do all your thinking prior to walking to the ball and then, when you’re mind is made up, you hit the “go” button. This is playing the game. Playing the game is getting out of your own way and relying on your subconscious to do what it does best. And this doesn’t mean you’re playing hockey – far from it. You still sense what you’re doing. You can feel what you’re doing. But you’re not impeding the process by adding unwanted manual control. You’re aware of what is.

AG allows you to go deeper because your decision process becomes more natural. You start making decisions at the “gut” level because taking the 8 iron instead of the 7 just feels right to you (even though the logical part of your brain is saying, “It’s the 7 iron! Hit the 7 iron!”). You learn to stop relying so much on analytical thought (maybe why some think AG is mindless) and go with your instincts. When you waken up, and get more in tune with your surroundings, thoughts and feelings the good stuff is more likely to happen.

Mindless golf is hoping your game will come good. Automatic Golf is playing golf as any human should. It’s unlocking all of your senses and learning to play in a way that you find truly satisfying. From here, good results happen and you may realise that there’s more to golf than just your score.

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