Having spent nearly 25+ years pursuing a career in golf, from trying to play the game for a living to coaching individuals to the highest levels competitively, I have witnessed how the highest achievers have learned how to endure pain better than most.
Learning to play the game is simple; take a stick, whack the ball, chase it, hit it again and again until it disappears in a small hole in the ground. Well, if you all want to do that, it is a simple concept and doable. However, because humans can think logically, we have discovered ways to improve the stick, ball, and how we can move more efficiently. So, to this end, onward with the quest to improve our score begins. You the golfer is taught, by us the golf professionals, to learn the “fundamentals” of the game to improve scores. Some of you golfers have enough passion for the game to pursue to the extreme, to take your game to the highest levels of competition. Playing the game recreationally requires some understanding and joy of learning. Playing at the highest levels requires understanding, tolerance for pain or discomfort, and the joys of learning.
Many of you who watch golf on television see the best players in the world playing their best golf, and perhaps winning a PGA Tour event, making it look “easy” begin saying, “even I can do that” or “that shot was not that hard”. The task of hitting a shot may not be that hard but hitting the same shot under tournament conditions with your livelihood on the line, well that is a different challenge. Even the best golfers can underestimate the challenge of great golf. The coaches at GPC call this the skill challenge ratio, golfers tend to overestimate their skill or abilities and underestimate the challenge at hand to play golf. Unfortunately, this is a common error for amateur golfers, not understanding how difficult it is to be good at such a simple task. This can be said for just about in pursuit of greatness, in business or as an artist or another sport. Being great at something requires a lot of endurance of pain, suffering, and adapting to situations with indifference to outcome which is known as learning. I am sure many of you have spent hours and hours working on something, a project, report, golf or whatever, to submit or play to a level of “failure” or disappointment of the outcome. This to some will be where they get off the ride, frustrated and confused to why they may have failed or didn’t do as well as they would have liked. But to the greatest business people, athletes or artists this is where it begins to become fun, enjoyable, in the heart of failure is where champions are developed and nurtured, not at the top of the mountain. The greatest athletes or top performers often talk about in those rough moments is where they discovered the love of what they are doing. They embrace the hardship, the failure and the struggle as feedback. They endure greater pain than the average athlete, the average business person the average performer. Great achievers use disappointment as fuel, they learn to accept the feedback as part of the journey.
Golf is simple, to do it well requires tolerance of doing the ordinary, extraordinarily well, being able adapt to new challenges, understanding that the next level is and will be challenging, it will be hard to push beyond your comfort level. Embrace and endure the simple and you will find your game improving faster and to a level that you may not have expected!
Enjoy your Journey!