“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.” – Confucius
How often do we find ourselves in a situation where we give the impression that we know more than we do? Or maybe you’re in a group, you’re interested in learning, but paralyzed by the fear of sounding foolish for asking a “dumb question.” We see this in the golf coaching world all too frequently. Because there can be so many potential answers to the same question, golfers tend to become reluctant to ask the most obvious question – Why? Why does the golf club have to be swung a certain way, or why should I (or shouldn’t I) sway or slide in my golf swing? You see, golf appears to be easy. The ball isn’t moving, the club is light and easy to move, practically everyone is physically capable of playing. This, however, obscures the fact that golf is simplistically hard!
My advice to amateur golfers, well, any golfer for that matter, is to ask why a teacher or coach’s philosophy is what it is. Ask as many why questions as possible. It will only help you develop faster. The sooner you understand and know why something is happening, the more efficiently you can work to improve the current state of your game. The best coaches understand the why scenarios, with real data, information that is not based in opinion. While it is true that there are subjective elements to golf, one’s score is entirely objective, it is in most cases black or white (at least for those who do not use an eraser!). Your score is either good or bad on any given day, how you produce the score is another matter entirely! Golf has so many variables, some not in our control, others we control to a point, and there are some you have complete control over. Do you know which is which? Why not? This is my point. Many of you will take a golf lesson assuming it is the “fix” needed to play better. Hmmm, not true. It is part of it, but not the complete why. This is where asking the question why comes in handy. If my goal is to get the ball in the hole with the least amount of strokes possible, I should understand as many of those variables keeping me from accomplishing that goal. Knowing how to control the golf ball is a key element of scoring, but then there is how do you control the golf ball? How about when it is in the rough, sand, or from any other kind of lie you may find on the course? Why does the club react a certain way when swinging it fast vs. slow, why is it tough to control the ball when my body is not stable during the motion of my swing?
Golf is hard enough even when you have solid knowledge of the game, swing mechanics and the variables! Your best chance for improvement does not come from watching YouTube videos or reading Golf Digest or golf instructional magazines. Your best chance for improvement comes from knowing your why, seek to learn, not to fix! When you employ this growth mindset, improvement happens faster, and they stick! You will no longer feel as though you need to bounce from week to week seeking out a fix. Rather, you’ll have confidence that you are working on the right things for You!
Enjoy Your Journey!