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Golf can be a shit of a sport.

We can get bogged down with how poorly we are playing. We get worried about what we’re doing wrong. There’s also panic about what others are thinking and the feeling of embarrassment can hit hard.

This is not a good time and golf can feel like the worst sport in the world. Working seems like a better option when you’re game is down in the dumps. Never a good thing.

I received an email today from a Golf Tribe Member who is thinking about switching sides. He has become frustrated enough with his golf that he is considering upsetting his natural game in the hope of finding something better.

I know how he feels. I’ve been there. About 10 years ago I contemplated switching to playing right handed. I became so frustrated with my coach that I seriously started hitting balls from the other side of the ball. But luckily commonsense prevailed and not long after I found a true path to golfing happiness.

Here’s the process I used to get my confidence back and find a game I’m now NOT going to change in a hurry.

Sack my golf coach. I really did become fed up with all the changes and inflexibility. He was trying to get me to do things that I simply couldn’t do. I spent hours trying to conform but I wasn’t able to. Each lesson was a drain and boring. It became a stalemate. I couldn’t do what he wanted and he didn’t (or couldn’t) change his teaching model.

When I stopped bogging myself down with inflexible rules I was able to reignite my natural game. It didn’t happen straight away but slowly and surely it came back. What a relief this was!

Controversial Sidebar: When I told my coach that I had had enough from his coaching ideas, that I hadn’t improved and I was struggling to do what he wanted he made a startling admission. He told me that what he was teaching me was unlikely to have a major impact on my game. That at the very most I would improve only a fraction of a stroke a round. What a waste of 18 months!

Played for fun. This was an important step. For the first time in a long time I realised that trying so hard and attempting to be perfect was not the right thing to do. This was a time when I let go and played golf like I was a young kid.

I stopped playing competition rounds and I left the practice fairway alone. The golf course became my friend. I played golf and attempted to hit the shots that most interested me. If I wanted to smash a 3 wood from the tee that is what I did. If I decided to swing super smoothly that was fine too. I removed the straitjacket and unlocked my inner flair and enjoyment.

And the following step was the most important. Because not long after implementing the above two steps something amazing happened.

I started playing better. Golf became easier and much more enjoyable. So what was the third step?

I played all rounds with this care free attitude. It didn’t matter if I was playing a social round or a competition game – I played with freedom and flair. I didn’t allow myself to get bogged down with technique, rules and self-doubt.

This was the first time I realised that to play great golf I needed a carefree attitude. In the past important rounds meant I would tighten up, try too hard and get in my own way. The realisation that remarkable golf was possible by trying less and mimicking less important rounds was a big one. At this point golf became a totally new sport for me.

It became fun. Gave me greater enjoyment and I started learning and growing with each game I played.

This might sound a bit airy fairy. This mindset is a departure from traditional golf instruction but for me it was profound. By learning to get out of my own way and swing the club naturally and instinctively reignited my passion for the game.

The other good news is that the above steps require little skill or talent. The most important ingredient is an open mind and a level of discipline. Mixed with commitment I believe you can transform your game – no matter how much of a rut you think you’re in. Go for it – what have you got to lose?