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A Moment of Inspiration

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It’s a typical British Summers Afternoon in the South Yorkshire Countryside. A 14 Year old Boy sits transfixed in his living room, glued to the drama unfolding in the Sandhills of North Carolina. The Leading Man of the Drama is a charismatic American, donning plus fours and a flat cap. Wonderfully expressive, uncharacteristically honest and immaculately skillful.

The drama that unfolded that afternoon sparked something inside the Boy. A passion and desire to emulate the ability and joy he was witnessing.

Unfortunately, the Boy never emulated what he witnessed and the Leading Man was taken from us far too young. However, his inspiration and wisdom lives on in the Boy (and others like him), that were inspired by what they witnessed in that afternoon.

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If you haven’t already guessed, I was that Boy, The Leading Man was Payne Stewart and the event was the 1999 U.S Open.

“Why are you telling us this Oli?” I hear you cry. Well, the following concept is something I’ve reworked from something Mr Stewart and his Caddy, Mike Hicks’ did that week, so I felt it was fitting to set the scene.


Go Zones!

In the years Mike and Payne worked together, Payne never carried a yardage book. That was Mike’s responsibility. However, the 1999 U.S. Open was the only week Mike ever saw Payne with one. Payne marked every spot on the Course where you didn’t want to hit the Ball, they called them “Grey Areas”.

Side Note: In 72 holes, Payne hit his Ball into one of those so-called Grey Areas once, and that was on the second hole on Sunday!

Whilst identifying areas to avoid worked for Payne, it’s not something I advise. Instead, I like to flip the concept on its head, suggesting Players identify the Areas or “Zones” they WANT to hit their ball to; “Go Zones” if you will.

I believe this is a more positive approach, and it automatically identifies the “No Go” Zones. Establishing Go Zones is a better strategy than simply identifying a Club to use as it helps you adapt to Environmental change (something I covered in Part 3: The Environment) e.g:

  • “It’s 200-230 Yards to my Zone” = 😀

  • “It’s Driver off this tee” = ☹️

I like Players to do this by colouring Zones in their Course Guide/Stroke Saver e.g:


A Game like Chess

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A good way to think of this is that you’re establishing a Game Plan for a Chess match, where you know what the oppositions moves are going to be.

Questions are a useful way of establishing this e.g:

  • “What’s the best way for me to get my ball round this course/hole in the least amount of shots?”

  • “How am I going to Birdie this Hole?”

  • “What does the Ball need to do to get into my next Go Zone?”


Work in Reverse

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It’s important to identify your Zones from Green to Tee (from Pin to Peg). Working the hole backwards makes you start with the end in mind.

When establishing your Zones, make sure you stick with the Principle of “Assertive Shots to Conservative Targets” (I’ll discuss this further in Part 5 - Play Smart!).

When preparing for a Tournament it’s also very important that you avoid “Playing” the holes during your Practice Rounds (unless you’re having a Match with your Peers, I like that ;). Use it as an opportunity to determine what Ball Control Skills need to be on point and establish your best Strategy; Establish your Plan(s) and execute. I say “Plans” because you need to accommodate for different weather/ground conditions (again, something I covered extensively in Part 3 - The Environment).


Reflection

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The fundamental message is that if you want to play your best, prior planning goes a long way: The simple process of identifying Areas/Zones you want to be playing from, coupled with positive intent can have very real benefits on your Scorecard.

We are all different, with different mindsets and skill levels, so ensure you tailor your tactics accordingly.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the above and found it useful? Stay tuned for Part 5: Play Smart!

Kind regards,

Oliver C. Morton

www.TheLeadingEdgeGolfCompany.com

p.s. If you’re enjoying our Articles click the Subscribe Button below (that way you’ll be the first to know when new stuff is out ;)!


Switch your reason for Playing from Performance to Health and Happiness:

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I don’t mean Physical Health Primarily (although you get a ton of benefits as a by product - click on the image to Learn More), I mean Mental and Emotional Health.

Many start Playing Golf primarily because it’s something Fun to do with their Friends/Family. The Competitive side comes later (see my previous Blog on ‘Growing The Game’).

It’s important to frequently remind yourself and stay connected to your ‘WHY’ i.e why you Play the Game (or anything else for that matter). If you haven’t come across Simon Sineks Book “Find Your Why” I highly recommend you get a copy (Click HERE or on the Image).

Establish exactly what brings you joy from Playing and judge your rounds on that e.g. how many times you laugh, how many beers you drink 😉 etc.

I recently listened to a great Episode of Karl Morris’ Brainbooster Podcast where he discusses gratitude (Click on the Image to have a listen), during which he makes a very poignant point: none of us are Eternal - we all have a finite amount of opportunities to Play. So, on reflection, does that errant shot or higher than desired score really matter enough to spoil the aspects of the Game that are the essence of why you Play?

I’m not for a minute saying that Score doesn’t matter or that Playing well and improving aren’t great reasons. Challenging yourself is healthy. Why I say the above isn’t to create a hierarchy of Motivation, it’s to help you gain perspective on your Performances; to help you stay connected to the reasons you Love the game and to ensure you get the most you possibly can from each and every round you play.

Thanks for reading!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company

www.TheLeadingEdgeGolfCompany.com

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AuthorOliver Morton
CategoriesWider Lens

In the beginning, Golf should be all about FUN! It’s about going to a golf course, driving range or putting green with your Friend/Mum/Dad/Grandad/Brother, grabbing a club and trying to WHACK that small dimpled ball from here to there. For some reason, a lot of people have fun accompanying that dimpled ball on its journey around a field ;)

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There are a lot of things about golf that make it FUN; the company is (almost) always good - no one is introduced to golf by people they don’t like; it’s a gift that friends and family share with each other. While many fun things in modern day society are about going faster, playing golf provides a welcome sanctuary from the 'instant' culture we now live. People (usually) enjoy being out there and are in no rush to leave. It’s a nice place to be.

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At the heart of it all is the strangely compelling allure of making that ball go from here to there. At first just moving it is a triumph. The next goal is to make it fly high, then far. Eventually the hope is to make it go more or less straight. A (lucky) few get to a point where they can make the ball curve left or right at will depending on the situation. They can play high shots, low shots, 'cuts' and 'hooks'. They can GET IT IN THE HOLE (which is the point). For them, playing is fun (it has to be or why do it?) but they also find something more in the game. It offers a challenge. For them the fun is not just moving the ball, it’s moving the ball how they want, when they want. There is a certain thrill about putting yourself in a situation where you have to make a shot at a given moment. It's about competition. It’s about learning how good you can be by finding your limits and breaking through them.

Serious Golfers are Visionaries. Golf gives them a way to actualise their dreams. From Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods, Nancy Lopez to Annika Sorenstam, golf has been sustained by young imaginations that fall in love with the sense of power & control that comes from a solidly struck shot and the sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving a personal best score on a hole. It makes them want to do it again, and again until the sun sets. Then they're back the next morning, feeding an unquenchable passion.

Golf is meant to be FUN. It's a time for friendship, laughter, disappointment and glory. For people who get bitten by the bug, the game means a touch more. They practice a little longer, watch the big tournaments with more interest and immerse themselves in the nuances, subtleties and disciplines of the game that date back centuries.

They don’t idolise their heroes on the European, PGA or LPGA Tours; they want to BE them. Golf is what they dream about at night and all they think about during the day. It's the tapestry on which they paint their childhood and adolescence. It shapes who they are and the person they become.

The question is how to make those dreams come true. SMARD (Smart & Hard) work is an essential ingredient and PASSION is essential. Golf is game of diligence that will test the affections of even the most enthusiastic. How does a youngster harness all of these ingredients? How do they find a reliable route from the long summer days spent scuffing the dirt to being the best golfer they can be? What lessons can the pursuit of golfing excellence provide young people about being the best PERSON they can be?

Becoming the best golfer you can be involves much more than swing mechanics. It involves thinking big while at the same time paying attention to the small details that allow big things to happen.

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BIG dreams precede great accomplishments. However, the reality is that dreams of a career in Professional golf are just that. Even playing University/College golf at a high level is something which many junior golfers aspire, but few reach. It’s a worthwhile and wholesome pursuit if undertaken wisely. The lessons learned in trying to maximise your golfing potential are applicable across the spectumn of life: how to organise time, mange expectation and to deal with success & failure when under pressure. The golfer who masters these will not only become the best golfer they can be, but also the best PERSON they can be! 

There are 2.5 million junior golfers in the United States alone, and there are less than 1000 men and women on the European, PGA & LPGA Tours combined! When it comes to making it big in golf, the maths in not encouraging. Dreams occur when we sleep, but in order for dreams to become reality, we need to be wide awake!

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ream big, set lofty goals, but understand that setting the intention of playing on the European/PGA/LPGA Tour or even University/College golf is only a part of the process. If you establish the Vision of playing elite golf as a way to develop efficient practice habits as well as learning how to manage your time and bring similar discipline to other aspects of your life, you will be a success not only golf, but in life too!

There many people involved in raising a successful golfer. From parents willing to invest time, money and energy, to friends and competitors that push them. Vital to this process is finding and working with the right Coach(es). People who can help you identify your goals and establish dexterous & elastic strategies to help you reach them.

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As an individual progresses in the sport, they need to understand many things; the role equipment has on their performance; the importantance of matching the clubs and balls they use with their swing characteristics.

Becoming a top flight golfer requires practice; do you think carefully enough about your practice? Is it something you do for a couple of hours on a few days of the week in the summer months? The reality is that practice is oxygen for a serious golfer. It needs careful attention & planning. Proper practice habits need to be learned and refined over time.

High performance golf demands as much of you mentally as physically. You can improve your mental approach every bit as much as you can your short game or putting (it can be argued that improving your short game or putting won't happen UNTIL you improve your mental approach). There are lessons to be learned here too. Just as there are lessons to be learned about how to improve your golf related fitness and nutrition habits; how to manage your time and plan your season in order to seize opportunities when they arise.

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Playing golf Professionally is a long way from the moment you first feel the thrill of a well struck shot. Although, in a way, it’s not so far removed from it at all:
 

Why did you want to move that white ball? What makes you want to do it again? Is it because you want to do it better? To see how good you could be?  

Everyone's golfing journey is different, but the further from home you get, the more important it is to stay connected to the reasons why you play. Seek good advice, know the right steps to take and above all else: KEEP IT FUN!

THANKS FOR READING!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company
112 Swanston Road
Edinburgh
SCOTLAND
EH10 7DS

E - info@theleadingedgegolfcompany.com

T - 07831400296
 

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AuthorOliver Morton