T-Time Podcast // Ep. 3: Seven Habits I Guarantee Will Make You a Better Golfer with Jon Sherman
Hey there, golfers! If you're looking for ways to improve your game, listen up. We've got a great episode for you today, all about the 7 habits that I guarantee will make you a better golfer. From tee to green, these tips and tricks will help you get the most out of every stroke, and they are coming right from the horse’s mouth!
Join us as we discuss the seven habits that are guaranteed to become a better golfer. These virtues/habits can also be found in Jon’s book, and they have modeled him to be the pro golf player he is today.
So get ready, and let's get started!
1. Practicing with Intent
Jon suggests many ways to practice with intent and improve your golf game. His book provides ideas on how to do this, but the first step is to have a specific target in mind when practicing. It is also important to go through a routine after hitting the ball to absorb the proper feedback. Feedback should focus on how you struck the ball, your ground contact, and how the ball flew through the air in relation to the target. By absorbing this information, you can make adjustments to your next shot. Working on the parts of your game holding you back is more effective than focusing on what you're already comfortable with because this will lead to bigger breakthroughs.
Jon realized that as a junior golfer, he spent a lot of time on the driving range, hitting hundreds of balls without a specific goal or target. He would just hit balls repeatedly until his hands bled, and while this helped him improve, he found that his range skills didn't translate well to tournament play. He discovered that he wasn't practicing with intention and instead engaged in what he calls "zombie range sessions," where he wasn't absorbing feedback and thinking critically about his shots. He learned that while hitting many balls can be beneficial, practicing with a purpose and thinking critically about your shots rather than just going through the motions is important.
2. Choosing smarter targets
One thing that can significantly impact your golf game is how you select your targets for your shots. According to Jon, for many golfers, the best approach is to aim for the center of the green and take more club towards the back yardage for your approach shots. This can change your handicap overnight. He notes that target selection can be more granular and complex for more advanced players. However, this basic framework is enough for most players to save shots. His book provides a decision-making process on approach shots and encourages players to be more aggressive off the tee and more cautious with approach shots. He also suggests planning and making decisions before teeing off, especially on tee shots.
One way to improve your golf game is to plan and select your targets with intention. According to Jon, you can use tools like Google Earth and GPS apps on your phone to look at the course layout and identify areas of trouble. If you can aim away from these areas, it's an easy decision to make. He recommends planning out what the holes are like, what clubs you'll need, and what targets you'll be hitting off the tee. By making these decisions beforehand, you'll be able to play with more focus and not second-guess yourself when you're over the ball.
Grit is a key component in sports, as it relates to the ability to persevere through challenges and obstacles. It is often described as the combination of perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Athletes in any sport need to possess grit, especially when facing setbacks and obstacles because it allows them to continue working hard and push through difficulties. In golf, grit is also important because it helps the golfer to push through the game's mental and physical difficulties, stay focused and motivated, maintain a long-term perspective, and bounce back from setbacks and poor performances.
It's important to have a long-term view of the game and not get caught up in short-term thinking. Golf can be frustrating and bring up negative emotions, but grit allows you to stay positive, problem-solve and focus on your long-term goals of getting better.
4. Review Your Rounds
According to Jon, one of the best habits you can have as a golfer is to take 5-10 minutes after every round to reflect on your performance and identify patterns. This can be done while entering your statistics. It is a great opportunity to review as many shots as you can recall, look for any strategic mistakes you made, and, most importantly, focus on your ball striking. By looking for patterns, you can identify tendencies in your game, such as where you are more likely to miss your driver shots. By noting these tendencies, you can practice the areas that need improvement and better understand your game.
Jon believes that many golfers focus too much on the bad things that happen during their rounds and don't give themselves enough credit for the good shots. He suggests taking a few minutes after each round to reflect on the good and bad shots and internalize the good shots and celebrate them. For bad outcomes, he suggests taking a non-emotional and analytical view of what went wrong and to think about what could have been done differently. Reviewing the round can improve one's game and increase the game's fun and enjoyment. He also advises having some post-shot routine that can take only seconds, where the golfer can quickly think about what happened but not bring emotional baggage to the next shot. He acknowledges that it's hard to do, but it is important for a golfer not to let the bad shots affect the next shot. And that golfers need to move on quickly.
Jon recognizes that for those who can play golf, it means that a few things are going well in their lives. He suggests that there should be baseline gratitude for the ability to play golf, for the physical ability to do so, for the time to do so, and for the benefits it brings, such as exercise, socialization, and unplugging from daily life. He argues that golf is more important now than ever, as the digital world leads to shorter attention spans and the need to disconnect from technology. He views golf as a way to escape distractions and satisfy one's competitive desires. Golf offers many benefits, such as traveling and socialization. It can be a way to escape from the digital world, but it is easy to overlook these benefits when one gets frustrated with their own performance.
Additionally, golf can be a great way to improve mental health and well-being. The physical exercise, being in nature, and the relaxation that comes with playing the game can provide a much-needed mental break. Furthermore, it also helps to improve focus and concentration as it requires you to stay present in the moment, which is an important skill to develop in today's world. Golf is a game that can be enjoyed at any level, whether it's a beginner or a pro, and the journey of getting better is the real reward. Even though it is a game of inches, where you are constantly learning, improving, and pushing yourself to be better, it's the mental game that gets you to the next level. By learning to manage expectations, control emotions, and stay present, you are also developing skills that can be applied to every aspect of your life.
6. Managing Your Expectations
Managing your expectations is the most important topic in Jon's book and is the book's first section; many readers have found this section to be the most transformative aspect of the book. He believes that managing expectations are crucial for golfers and life in general. He argues that humans can create false narratives and expectations for themselves, and when they don't meet them, they get upset with themselves. Golf is one of the activities that bring out this behavior the most.
Jon suggests that statistics are an effective way of managing expectations by showing people reasonable outcomes for different skill levels and helping to make golfers aware that their expectations may not be as high as they think, which helps them manage them. He believes that if golfers do not manage their expectations, they will never get better and will not be happy with the game. He sees it as one of the fundamentals of golf.
7. Having a Process
Jon emphasizes the importance of having a routine before every golf shot, which can also be practiced on the driving range. He notes that in traditional sports, the field of play and interactions with other players dictate the action, but in golf, the player initiates the action and has minutes to think about it.
He suggests that one way to improve your game is to help people build their own routine, which doesn't have to be long, just a little process that initiates the swing. It can include steps like picking a target, a shot type, doing a couple of swing rehearsals, getting over the ball, doing a waggle, and hitting the ball. He cites that great golfers have their own process, which helps them with nervousness, indecision, and other negative emotions on the golf course. Having this little mental cocoon to go into before every shot does not solve everything, but it will give you a better chance to access your skill more often.
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