It always amazed me that the greatest athletes in the world like Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky find golf difficult. They have to run and throw, or skate and shoot while balls and pucks are flying at lightening speeds, and yet they find hitting a little white stationary ball hard.
But then I read Roy Palmer’s book, Golf Sense, and now I know why even the best in the world struggle with this game.
The problem with golf is that we have far too much time to think — too much time to worry — too much time to build tension.
There’s an old saying, “I think, therefore I am.” and this is so true in golf. When you step up to your tee shot (especially on the first tee when everyone is watching), what are you thinking?
I’ve heard some people say they only carry one swing thought to the tee box. What’s yours? If it’s about your grip, head position or golf ball then you need to read this book.
You’ll discover that focusing on the movement of your ribs as you breathe, or the feel of your toes in your socks, will lead to a better result than all the traditional swing thoughts we golfers carry around the course.
Golf Sense teaches us how to be in the moment and get into that infamous zone, but it does it in a way that one might not expect.
Palmer isn’t a golf coach; he’s a teacher of The Alexander Technique — a system which helps you feel better, and move in a more relaxed way… the way nature intended. It’s a method for getting rid of bad habit patterns that interfere with smooth performance. It gets rid of tension. And we all know tension is a killer in golf.
The moment I picked up this book, I knew I was going to learn something I hadn’t learned before (and believe me…I read a lot of golf books).
It’s chocked full of unusual exercises and “experiments” to help you unlearn a lot of conditioned reflexes that get in our way.
Try falling asleep. Useless right? The harder we try, the more sleep eludes us. Instead, forget about falling asleep and just create conditions where sleep will just happen. The same is true in golf.
So how do you create those conditions? Well, the first thing is for you to read this book and practice some of the exercises and experiments Palmer offers up.
Be aware of things you normally ignore (like the breeze on your face, or my favorite…the space between your upper and lower teeth). When you think about those things, you create a relaxed golfer who is living in the moment. From there, the zone is not far away.
Golf Sense isn’t a book you can just read once and put down. It’s a small book and a pretty quick read, but it’s full of practice lessons you can’t absorb all at once. You need to do your homework and practice being in the moment, on and off the course. The more you practice that, the better you’ll be in life and in golf.
Practice makes permanent, not perfect; and we’ve had years practicing bad posture, bad walking, sitting and thinking. It’s time to undo all those conditioned reflexes and get our mind and body back on track. At my age, I have a lot of work to “undo”, but I’m excited about the possibilities.
I highly recommend you check out Golf Sense. It might not win you a green jacket, but it will give you something to think about besides that last hook or slice; and that “something” may just be what you need for your next come back tomorrow shot.