Now Just Stop Trying
by Chuck Quinton
By now, you've stopped trying
to improve after reading my first article and
have taken some pressure off your game. Now it's
time to take the next step in our journey towards
"Mushin Golf." Now I want you stop trying
completely. Stop "trying" to do things
in your golf game and you will definitely improve
When I coach golfers on the mental
side of the game, I like to give them "tools"
during each session that they can immediately
take to the course and begin applying. During
my first session, I almost always deal with golfers
who have become over analytical with their golf
swings and begin to get very judgemental with
themselves after a bad shot. They begin to break
down their swing in their head, and in the process
are tearing down their game. A tool I give them
to help immediately return their focus back to
the "moment" is a breathing technique
that is very simple, yet very effective. The y
always respond with something like "That's
simple. That's all I have to do?" I reply
with a simple yes and then we recap. At the end
of the session, I always hear the golfer say "Ok,
I'm going to try the breathing technique when
I begin to lose focus this week." Try,
I ask them? "You just said how simple it
was, why would you have to try and focus
on your breathing?" By definition, if you
are trying to do something, you must not believe
that you are fully capable of success, otherwise,
why would you say that you are going to try? You
wouldn't, you would simply "do". The
difference between "doing" and "trying"
is the difference between confidence and mistrust
and success and failure.
Most golfers have a lot of "try"
in their games. They try to hit a drive down the
middle, or they try and make that 4 footer for
par, or they try and not analyze their bad shots.
They "try" at everything and end up
destroying any chance of playing to their potential.
In truth, if the golfer would get rid of the word
try from his vocabulary, his scores would improve
instantly. A golfer could then stand over a shot
to a tucked left side pin near the water's edge
and say to themselves "I'm going to hit a
draw to that pin." That sounds much better
and instills much more confidence than saying
"I'm going to try and hit a draw to that
pin," doesn't it? That's not to say that
if you've never hit a draw in your life you are
all of a sudden going to hit one, but you are
opening yourself up to playing to your potential
when you don't doubt your ability.
All golfers struggle with doubt
even Ben Hogan. It is, perhaps, the single greatest
killer of the golf swing. In Hogan's "Five
Lessons", he admitted that it wasn't his
technique that kept him from winning, it was his
lack of trust in his ability. Let me quote him
directly from "Five Lessons" starting
on page 113:
"...But my self-doubting
never stopped. Regardless of how well I was going,
I was still concerned about the next day and the
next day and the next.
In 1946 my attitude suddenly
changed. I honestly began to feel that I could
count on playing fairly well each time I went
out, that there was no practical reason for me
to feel I might suddenly "lose it all."
I would guess that what lay behind my new confidence
was this: I had stopped trying to
do a great many difficult things perfectly because
it had become clear in my mind that this ambitious
over-thoroughness was neither possible nor advisable,
or even necessary."
To me, that is THE SINGLE MOST
IMPORTANT THING Ben Hogan ever wrote. It's not
the cupped wrist, the braced right leg, the movement
of the hips or anything else. It's that Hogan
finally stopped doubting himself and stopped trying.
It's funny that I've never seen another golf instructor
talk about this, but it makes sense. Most instructors
and golfers alike get bogged down in the technical
detail of the swing that they never get to the
"end of the book." It's kind of an inside
joke to me, it's as if Hogan wrote in great detail
about the technicalities of the grip, the hips,
the swing plane etc., knowing that all his competitors
would read his book and get overwhelmed to the
point of not being able to swing a golf club,
only to say at the very end that it was just a
joke. Of course, I don't believe that to be true,
but one could read in a bit of whimsy if so inclined.
During your next round of golf,
stand over your shots with a certain disregard
for the outcome. Stop caring without being careless.
If you aren't so consumed by the results of your
shot, you won't feel as if you have to try so hard and will finally begin to open yourself
up to hitting more consistent golf shots with
less effort. It might feel like you're not even