October 24, 2011

Are You Taking Enough Risk?

Are You Taking Enough Risk with Golf…

You Won’t Believe the Reward!

Risk-taking is an essential element in growing as a person and as a golfer.  While it is true that taking unnecessary risks has the potential to create unwanted outcomes, learning to discern between necessary and unnecessary risks can make the difference between reaching your potential as a player and falling short.

Some golfers consistently like to “play it safe” and stay so much in their comfort zone that they never grow or stretch themselves.  These people feel frightened or “off balance” when they approach unfamiliar territory. They are so worried about a future “bad” outcome like a missed shot or a lost opportunity that they sacrifice their development as a player in order to hit a safer shot today. 


How do you get better if you keep doing the same things day after day, year after year?  Metaphorically, hugging first base will never allow you to take a chance at stealing second.  At some point in every person’s golf career (and life!) there comes a time to cautiously step away from the familiar and encounter the unknown.  Yes, it is true that you can “get thrown out” if you try to steal second.  It is also true that you can either make it to that next level, or at a minimum, learn from the experience of “going for it” and use that information to push toward more growth on another occasion.  Many players leave their driver in the bag on holes where a driver is the obvious play.  Others “hate” their 3-iron or sand wedge or putter, and don’t trust those clubs when they’re in their hands.  Invariably, after I ask the players with whom I work to rate their confidence in each respective club, what follows is typically an admission that the time spent practicing with the clubs or on the shots disliked is far less than the time spent hitting balls with the favorite clubs. How will you ever get confident with the clubs if you don’t practice with them regularly? 

My advice- if you’re playing for big money or something incredibly significant, play in your comfort zone and do whatever it takes to score low.  If you’re not in this type of circumstance, challenge yourself to use clubs and shots that you don’t like, so that in time you learn how to trust these as well.  Perhaps in that day you might not score as well as you might have otherwise, but what you have done instead is make an investment in the future growth of your game!

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