Having played or been involved in the game of golf for seventy years one might think that I find the game easy. The reality is that confidence at any age is a major hurdle. In the last ten years my back and hips have totally thrown my balance and game off, causing my handicap to go up and my confidence to go down.
Not to many years ago my posted scores ranged 78 up to 88. Now that range is from 84-99, and it is all based on whether my hamstrings are loose, my hips can rotate and I can swing through the ball. I find it embarrassing to shoot a 94 one day and an amazing 86 the next day. My pity pot lures me into distress when I don’t play up to my younger standards.
There is hope. Recently I discovered a new golf program for women called SupHer Power Golf. Their approach is succinct and universal to the mental and physical side of golf for women, and all players.
On April 17, 2020 I joined a virtual golf lesson through Zoom. It is called SupHer Power Golf Virtual Play Day. The three women who developed this program are Dr. Beth Brown, from Oklahoma, April Kenyon, and Nancy McDaniel. This program turned out to be the medicine I needed to play a better game consistently.
This live interaction program is divided into three main parts: the Warm up, the Front nine and the Back nine.
My attention immediately peeked when Nancy McDaniel, Hall of Fame women’s golf coach for Cal Berkeley, not only showed us stretches we can do on the tee box minutes before we play, but also asked us to move away from our computers and follow along. Now that is my idea of learning online…step away from the computer and move.
THE FRONT NINE
Once we are warmed up and ready to play the game of golf we often find obstacles preventing us from playing our best. This section of the video is my favorite and it became my “show stopper.” Sometimes I actually think I know a lot about golf, and that is when I find out how much there is learn.
The greatest challenge to improvement is overcoming the obstacles that we put in our way. How?
April Kenyon, Executive/Leadership Coach & USGTF Certified Golf Instructor, explains how we need to understand ourselves and our beliefs about the game. By inviting us to explore our beliefs about our golf skills, our ability to improve, why we play golf, and perhaps who we are, we can take steps to overcome the obstacles we believe exist.
April continues this session by sharing the thought, “Do we bring limitation to each shot or bring empowerment?” How do we change our internal focus to Empowering. Online we were able to chat and share our concerns. Once I wrote out my limiting thoughts I stepped away from the computer and thought about what I had just written. Holy Cow, could that be me?
Yes, there may be out of bounds to the right and to the left of the first tee (The Trails Golf Club), but that is not in my head. I immediately begin to LIMIT myself when I place the obstacle “but at my age” on the tee box with me. “At my age” I struggle with distance of my club selection. I can see how I limit myself immediately. The irony, is that my swing is actually strong and repeatable, giving me commanding EMPOWERING belief. Which thought process will I bring to the tee box, and each shot thereafter?
THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT.
YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM IS.
Later that evening I took my 8 iron to the back yard to swing and listen to my positive belief which truly is “I have a solid repeating swing that is strong enough to mentally and physically help me improve.” Since the golf course is not available to me right now, due to the COVID19 pandemic, the backyard will have to work.
This is called positive communication and the best example I have ever seen in my life is from the Waste Management Phoenix Open when Special Olympics representative, Amy Bockerstette stepped up on the 17th tee box with Gary Woodland, PGA player. As you watch this video please pay attention to her self-talk: I got this. I can do this. This is awesome. They love me. Amy and Gary
THE BACK NINE
Moving back to Nancy McDaniel, we are given a chance to study a technique to improve our swing. Through the video she uses a broom to show how to use the broom as training tool. We examine and practice our swing in four steps: wrist hinge with face pointing toward the ball, transition motion with the broom lagging behind, impact, finish. How simple and yet so dramatic for a physical lesson.
Before using my 8 iron that evening in the back yard I decided to use the open space to really let loose with the broom. It helped to reinforce my positive communication with myself as I rotated and swung through with the broom with focus. However, I did get to laugh at myself when I failed to focus, thereby letting the broom fly away from my body with the painful result is that it stung my ribs on the follow through. There is a lesson here.
My takeaway from this live virtual golf lesson is most certainly my own positive self-communication and belief that my repeating swing will work. I must add that my strong swing will only continue because I believe in working out five days a week, and three of those days must be using the core effectively. The power of communicating positively is perhaps the most important accomplishment in life.
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