A Letter to My Younger Self
Hi, Matt. Congratulations on deciding to play golf. You’re going to meet wonderful people and go to amazing places because of this game. It’s going to be a fantastic journey, but I know that you’d like to speed up the progress a bit. To help you, I’ve compiled a list of five things you know now that would have been great to know when you started. I hope it helps.
Oh, and enjoy your hair, it’s not going to last.
New Gear Won’t Change Your Game
You are going to lust after new golf clubs. It’s part of the fun, and I wouldn’t hope to take that away from you. But I want to let you in on a harsh truth: changing clubs is not going to make you a better player.
Getting fit for golf clubs matters. In fact, it matters a lot, and it can make the game much easier. But once you’re fit, the only thing that will help you is practice. Switching from cavity backs to blades (or vice versa) or sticking a new putter in the bag is not going to magically drop your handicap. Your current driver is not what’s keeping you from the Tour.
Ball Flight Laws
Matt, there is A LOT of bad information out there. Please, please, please ignore the golf magazines and TV shows that want to “fix” your game. If someone on the range offers you advice, smile and politely decline.
Everything you need to know is right HERE. If you understand these simple laws of physics, you will be ahead of 99.9 of golfers and the majority of instructors, too. On a similar note…
Swing Your Swing
Remember when I said that swapping clubs isn’t going to make you a pro? The same is true for hitting a draw instead of a fade, hitting it higher or lower, or getting your hands even further in front of the ball at impact.
The King had it right, Matt. “Swing your swing.” That’s not to say you shouldn’t take lessons with good instructors or work hard to improve. It simply means you shouldn’t try to be someone else. Don’t chase a swing change because it looks good on camera.
Keep it simple. Control the club face, and hit the ball flush. Develop your skills. Learn to get around the course. Experiment. Play.
No Ones Cares About Your Game
You are going to be nervous when you play with strangers. Don’t be. Everyone is obsessed with their own game; no one gives a rip about yours.
Here’s the short list of what people do care about: your attitude, your regard for the rules, your manners, your pace of play. These are all things you can control, and, if you do, no one will ever have a bad thing to say about playing with you.
Picking up the flag stick, cheering for someone else’s birdie, and repairing a couple extra ball marks matter much more than the score you write down.
Play How You Want
Golf does not have to be any particular thing. You don’t have to play stroke play. You don’t have to keep score at all. Carry however many clubs makes you happy. Wear what you want (within reason). Try crazy shots.
Golf can be whatever you want it to be. And it can be something different every day. Make the game your own.