T-Time Podcast // Ep. 51: Best of Quick-9 Series: 7 Habits I Guarantee Will Make You a Better Golfer with Jon Sherman
Tori brings you an exclusive interview with John Sherman, founder of Practical Golf and bestselling author of The Four Foundations of Golf. Together, they will delve into the secrets of becoming a good golfer by discussing the seven essential habits. But what truly separates a good golfer from the rest? It's the perfect blend of habits and qualities. The guiding principles are patience, consistency, dedicated practice, and respect for the game and fellow players. Join them as they explore these traits, uncover the keys to becoming an exceptional golfer, and celebrate the timeless allure of this beautiful sport.
1. Practice with Intent
Jon made a crucial mistake in his practice approach as a junior golfer. He would mindlessly hit hundreds of balls at the range without any specific target or intent. Although he became proficient, he struggled to translate his skills to the golf course. He realized that practicing with intention was the key to bridging this gap. He emphasized the importance of having a target, following a routine, absorbing feedback, and making adjustments. Jon's book aimed to help golfers overcome the problem of directionless practice by providing valuable insights and ideas on practicing with intent, enabling them to improve their skills and excel on the course.
What Does an Ideal Practice Session Look Like?
Ideal golf practice sessions vary for each player. Some prefer shorter sessions to avoid boredom, while others spend more time honing their skills. Experienced players like Jon absorb feedback from the course and make adjustments. Beginners and intermediate players focus on their long game (50-60% driver and irons) and dedicate time to approach clubs and tee shots. Customized drills, lessons, and unconventional exercises enhance skill development. Addressing areas that hinder progress is key to improvement.
Preparing for Tournaments
Jon's tournament experience has taught him the importance of mental preparation. While his skill with every club has improved, he believes that breakthroughs in the mental aspect of the game have been more significant. Becoming comfortable with pressure, maintaining focus, and meditating overall has helped him perform better. Jon continues to seek more tournament exposure to gain experience and sharpen his mental skills, recognizing their crucial role in tournament success.
2. Choosing Smarter Targets
When it comes to golf strategy, many golfers have it backward. They tend to be too conservative off the tee and aggressive with their approach shots. The smarter approach is to aim for the center of the green on approach shots rather than chasing tucked pins. This allows players to avoid unnecessary risks and improve their overall performance. Additionally, planning and making decisions before starting a round is beneficial, especially for tee shots. By familiarizing themselves with the course and identifying potential trouble areas, golfers can make informed decisions and play more confidently. Making decisions beforehand simplifies the game and leads to better course management.
3. Growing Your Grit
To develop grit in golf, maintain a long-term perspective, and persevere through setbacks. Grit combines perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Golf is about staying positive, problem-solving, and committing to continuous improvement. Avoid short-term thinking and focus on the journey of becoming better. Give each shot proper attention, even during tough times. Develop a routine, focus on targets, and manage distracting thoughts. Above all, approach the game with a sense of fun and enjoyment.
4. Review Your Rounds
After each round, it's crucial to take a few minutes to review your performance in golf. Look for patterns in your shots and assess strategic and mental mistakes. Take note of any tendencies or areas that need improvement, whether it's ball striking, specific clubs, or your mental state. Avoid dwelling on the negatives and give yourself credit for the good shots. Approach the evaluation analytically and non-emotionally, considering what could have been done differently. This habit can lead to improvement and a more enjoyable experience on the course.
Gratitude is crucial in golf. The game can be emotionally challenging, but practicing gratitude helps combat negative feelings. By appreciating the opportunity to play, the physical ability, and the benefits it brings, such as exercise, time with friends, and unplugging from the digital world, we can find solace and enjoyment in golf. It satisfies our competitive desires, offers mental focus, and allows us to travel and experience new things. It's easy to overlook these gifts when we get caught up in our performance. Ultimately, the goal should be to have fun and find fulfillment rather than solely chasing scores.
6. Managing Your Expectations
In golf, managing expectations is crucial. We often create false narratives based on what we see on TV. To handle expectations, understand reasonable outcomes, and celebrate small victories. Appreciate hitting a green in regulation, shots from the rough, or sinking a long putt. Align expectations with abilities and effort to find happiness in the game. Adjust expectations to improve and prioritize fun over scores, especially for occasional golfers. Ultimately, enjoying the game should be the primary goal.
7. Having a Process
Jon 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.
Incorporating these habits will enhance your golf game and make you a better golfer. You will refine your skills, identify areas for improvement, and maintain consistency. By customizing your practice, reviewing your performance, developing routines, staying determined, managing expectations, evaluating objectively, and prioritizing enjoyment, you will see significant progress and have a more fulfilling experience on the course.
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