October 24, 2011

Are You A Scientist Or A Judge?

Are You a Scientist or a Judge When it Comes to Evaluating Your Golf Performance?


One of the biggest variables that effect your development as a player can be the way you evaluate your practice and play.  Remembering this tip to react as a scientist rather than a judge can go a long way toward helping speed your learning curve.

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 A scientist looks at every experiment as an opportunity to gather information and learn from the information gathered.  What variables might be manipulated to get a different result in the next experiment?  With that purposeful manipulation, what is the new outcome?  To a scientist, there is no “good” or “bad” result.  All results simply are as they are, and these results become the feedback mechanism from which something different is tried or previous variables are replicated.  Contrast this with the way a judge would view these “experiments”.  Results are good or bad, right or wrong, horrible or terrific, so-so or “OK”.  There is a lot of emphasis on labeling the result, and less emphasis on the process that created the result.  Are you a scientist or a judge when it comes to evaluating your own golf performance? 


The best golfers in the world understand how important it is to examine defeat, recognize mistakes, and pull apart miscues.  They do this in a way that is methodical and constructively critical.  Golfers who think less healthily will simply be critical and this criticism can lead to little or no learning and growing.  All this process does is diminish confidence, tear apart your self-image, and inhibit your ability to change and effectively integrate lessons into your game.  When Thomas Edison was asked by a reporter how it felt to fail over 1,000 times before figuring out how to invent the light bulb, Edison was reported to have responded, “Sir, I never failed, I now know over 1,000 ways how not to create a light bulb.”  Edison the scientist, as a golfer, might have responded to having played poorly in a tournament or hit some poor golf shots in a similar fashion.  “OK, I now know that going for this par-5 in two is unrealistic for me.  Next time I’ll lay up and play to the safer side of the fairway”.  See if you can evolve to the point where you think, “OK, I now know that swing thought, that strategy, that tactic, that game plan, doesn’t work well, what adjustments will I make the next time I’m faced with this situation?”  Typically, this evaluation begins with the two words, “next time”.  Rather than what you should have or could have done, thinking about the changes that you will institute “next time” can be much more beneficial.  This “scientific” approach will help you evaluate your game in an effective, positive, and constructive manner, and perhaps most importantly help you enjoy your game even more!



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