Here’s a thought provoking interview with Geoff Ogilvy. The bit I like the best is this:

Peter Fowler, an outstanding Australian golfer who now plays the European Senior Tour, phoned the great Peter Thomson for advice in the early 1980s. Fowler was struggling to break through, and he asked the five-time British Open champion if he had any insight on what to do to get better. With barely a pause, Thomson said, “Shoot lower scores,” and hung up. Fowler was crestfallen at first, but then he started to see the genius in the great Thomson’s words. It was as if Thomson were saying, “There’s a ball and a hole. Stop getting in your own way. Stop making it so hard. Get on with it. Just do better.”

I like it because the instruction is so simple, yet profound. Thomson’s words force you to ask, “What the hell do I need to do to get better?”. You’re unlikely going to default onto some swing mechanic or tip. You might just start focusing on your objective of each shot, choose a club that will do the job and then walk in a hit the ball. It’s at this point you’ll really find out how good you can be.

When I’m chatting to a frustrated golfer I’ll always encourage him/her to simplify. To think less, not more. Almost always improvement will be found when you take things away, rather than adding to an already complex game. This is why the snippet above appealed so much to me. I love this kinda coaching/mentoring.

Sadly, this type of coaching is rare. Most instructors will tell you too many things and get you thinking too much. And the golfer is too ready to accept ALL the advice.

Keep it simple has become a popular catch cry but many miss the mark because they can’t stop their mental wheels from turning. From here they trip over themselves as they attempt to get the ball from point A to Point B.

Asking profound questions is the way forward. One of my favourites is “Where do I want the ball to go?” and then being aware of the first answer that comes to you and being brave enough to go for it.