Take the Shot

Take the Shot!

Veronica KaramanBy Veronica Karaman6 Minutes

Recently, I was giving a playing lesson to a student of mine. He came to me frustrated that he could hit the ball a long way, but could not score. “My friends always out play me and I hit the ball better than they do!” he exclaimed. His ability vs. his results were getting the best of him.

After he attended my Breakthrough to Your ‘A’ Game workshop, he realized that he needed to master his mental and emotional game. It wasn’t until I went out on the golf course and watched his mind at work on the course that we discovered the main domino causing his exasperated state.

From the first tee, I could see that he was diligently thinking about his swing as he was setting up to the ball. It didn’t take me long to share my assessment, “The problem is you are playing from the wrong side of your brain. Golf is not played from the left brain — it’s played from the right side of your brain. We have to move you from playing ‘swing’ to playing the game.”

He confessed to me that he had taught himself how to play the game. I could tell he was a superb learner. A professional nurse who worked in cardiac, he had to be extremely precise on his job as people’s lives hung in the balance. He took that precision into his golf, but in the wrong way.

I explored his thinking further. “Please talk to me out-loud as you set up to this shot.” He said, “Now I don’t want to go over there. It’s out of bounds. I don’t want to go over here … if I hit it too long then this is going to happen …” “STOP!” I shouted. “Your problem is you are playing defensive golf. Golf is not played that way. You have to play offensive golf! You have to envision the shot you want to hit and then hit it!”

We both looked at one another as we discovered his breakthrough revelation. I continued. “You were a basketball player in college. You didn’t play basketball that way, did you?” “No!” he confessed, “Never.” Golf is the same way. When you invoke your imagination and see the shot you want to hit, then you will be playing the game. It’s time to move from defensive to offensive golf. Now hit the shot you want to hit on this hole and don’t think about anything else!”

He proceeded to get the correct yardage, ask for my feedback on what club to hit, and then took dead aim on the target. The ball went sailing right toward the pin. He hit the green! Turning around to me in utter joy, he exclaimed, “I did it!” After several more shots just like that, he was all smiles. “This is FUN!”

All we did is turn his strategy from one of survival on the course to one of executing. This 90-some shooter, after taking about four mulligan shots, ended up shooting 3 under par for the nine holes. Amazing!

It was a beautiful thing to see the shift take place in his game and the way he approached it. Driving home, the revelation that was such a powerful breakthrough, was not only for my student, but for me. I began to think about how many times I have sabotaged “scoring my best in life,” because I took the defensive posture. Instead of aligning myself to the shot I wanted to take on my dream, on a career move, or on an idea, I settled for what would get me by. Just like my student, I ended up with a result that was far below my ability — and I brought unwanted suffering upon myself as a result.

How about you? How has the Coronavirus affected your mindset? Are you playing small when you need to play big? Have you pulled back when your heart is saying to go forth? Is it causing you to bring unnecessary suffering upon yourself?

While being cautious, I absolutely refuse to let this nasty virus make me play defensive in life. I took 3 shots I wanted to hit recently. I moved out of my home, left a job, and wrote a courageous letter to someone I needed to stand up to. Why? I’m on my way to the game I want to play — envisioning and hitting my shots!

As you tee it up in golf and life today, focus on taking the shot you want to hit. Take dead aim on it. That’s what champions do. I want to be a champion. I believe you do, too. Take the shot! Who knows, maybe there is a 3 under par round just waiting for you, too.