Swing With Freedom
By Jonathan Blint
I was reminded during a match recently that often amateur players approach golf with a mindset of ‘playing not to be embarrassed’; just wanting to get their shot out of the way as quickly as possible, avoiding any really poor shots.
There must be a better way. Surely, by very definition ‘playing’ any game should lead to enjoyment, creation, freedom, fun, and learning. Shouldn’t it? You’re not working after all? If you were to mark out of ten what your ratings were in your last medal round for those five headings, what would you score?
I’ve always been drawn to Bob Rotella’s notion of playing to play great that he often describes in his books. And yet, it always amazes me how hard this is to do and how often I notice myself playing with a mindset of ‘trying to not make mistakes’.
So what is an attitude of playing to play great? I believe it’s about being 100% committed to the shots you’re attempting (using your creative mind during shot selection), swinging with freedom to your target (knowing that by swinging freely you’re giving yourself the best chance to hit your target), being open to the possibility of having fun and hitting amazing shots (without placing yourself under huge expectations), and the ability to handle any result (and learn from it).
I’m convinced that this is not the same argument as playing aggressively versus playing defensively. The example of Tiger Woods’ last round in the 2006 Open at St. Georges could be used here; his play in that round could’ve been described as using a “defensive” strategy yet you imagine that his attitude was absolutely in the ‘playing to play great’ mode.
In your next round begin to be aware of your general approach to the game. How creative are you being? Are you swinging with freedom? What are you learning about your game? How would you hit putts if your only objective was enjoyment and fun?
An open minded golfer realizes the essence of golf is reacting well to inevitable mistakes and misfortunes, whenever they come their way.
Making An Impact
Congratulations to the “Vets of Valor” golf tournament for getting 18 former NFL players together, all raising money to benefit the American Legion which helps provide assistance through their service officers and Temporary Assistance Fund for veterans and their families.
In Another’s Words
Golfers who understand and love the game accept it, rather than fight it.
– Dr. Bob Rotella (Professional Golf Coach)