The Golf Bug
OK …. so let’s see if I’ve got this correct. You haven’t touched your clubs since that last warm day last fall… and you
really haven’t “practiced” since who knows when…. and now that the PGA Tour is making it’s way from Hawaii to the west
coast again, YOU ARE GETTING THE GOLF BUG …. AGAIN !
Now that you’ve started watching these guys on TV make playing the game look SO easy and you can’t wait to get back out
there yourself. Before you do anything rash… watch the pros carefully, see how "thoughtful" they are before they hit each
shot …. then they stop thinking and go into "play the shot mode" which I am going to contend is a right brain function…
that is when they are PLAYING well. Yes the emphasis is on PLAYING …. not THINKING. Try to remember the last good round
you had, not a par round necessarily, but a good round of golf for you. You were undoubtedly just enjoying the day or the
company of your friends or the golf course…or all of the above. The point is you weren’t TRYING to play well you just were.
Golf, as well as life, is more about being present than it is about anything else. And patience is always a virtue.
We, as a species, tend to think way too much at the times we should just be executing the shot we wish to play. Think
all you have to, to come to a decision as to how to make the shot you are playing. Think of the risks and the rewards.
Think of the type of lie you have and how much wind you have to play for. Think about and be confident about your club
selection…then take aim and fire away. When it’s time to fire… stop thinking… just be aware.
Back to watching the “big boys”…. notice that none of them are swinging HARD when they are playing well. Heck, you’ll
rarely see ANY of them EVER swing with what appears to be any effort. Tiger has been prone to” let ‘er rip” way too
frequently from my perspective over the last few seasons. Whether he was frustrated that his swing mechanics weren’t
in order yet from making changes, or his timing was just simply off…. you had to be visually impaired to not notice how
hard he was swinging ..at times. And at those times he was not scoring any where near his potential. Whenever he is
playing his best and is lapping the field he has a more noticeable fluidity to his timing and tempo than when he is “off”
his game. Except for the times that the pros ARE making a swing change, they are basically focusing on their timing and
their tempo. Their swings don’t really change from a Thursday to a Sunday. What may change and sometimes does very
noticeably is the thought process of some players. When ANY of the pros on tour are scoring well they aren’t focused
on anything but the present. As simple as that sounds….it isn’t necessarily that easy to do at times. Jack Nicklaus
was the best of the best for the longest duration of time. His mind was the best “CLUB” in his bag, or should I say,
in his game. He believes that PATIENCE was the thing that separated all of the good golfers from all the players.
Tim X. Wilkins is a 25+ year member of PGA of America, has been Recognized by Golf Range Publication as one of the top 50
instructors in the country in 2003, 2004, currently a staff writer for
Cincinnati Golf Course Guide and was the host of the popular
"On The Tee" TV show on The Golf Channel.
Tim X. Wilkins, PGA of America
Read Tim's archived articles.