December 2

How Successful Golfers Think

Golf Lessons


Like any good blogger wanting to get his business off the ground, I read “How Successful People Think” by John C. Maxwell.

OK, in all honesty, I skimmed it.  I later found a great article on Business Insider, titled “15 Tips On How Successful People Think”  that aren’t just good business ideas- they can be used anywhere.

I did find some interesting tidbits that I can remix into a golfing theme that can help you to be a more realistic golfer, however.

One: Appreciate the Truth

If you want to get better, you have to look your inner golfer in the eye and admit the truth.  It could be things like:

  • “I just don’t have a flop shot”
  • “I just can’t drive it 220 yards”
  • “I’m not very accurate from 150 yards”

Admit your weaknesses, but don’t forget to allow yourself to beam about your strengths.  Remember, it’s a balance.  The point isn’t to beat yourself up, but to find out where you need help.

RELATED: How to control your frustrations on the golf course

Two: Do Your Homework and Get the Facts

From here, you need to reevaluate those weaknesses.  Do you really three-putt because you suck at putting?  Maybe it’s because you miss too many greens, and don’t have distance control with your chipping.  Whenever you leave yourself short- as in 15 feet or more for your first putt short- you’re inviting three-putts.

Many golfers over-estimate their drives.  I wanted to say everyone, because it feels like it when I hear people talk, but it really isn’t.  Are you one of them?

If you are, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Get to a launch monitor or simulator and find out what your average for EVERY club is.  Believing you drive it 250 when you’re really hitting it 200, or thinking you hit your 7 iron 170 when it really goes 140 only sets you up for frustration.

Taking a hard, honest look at where your shortcomings are and making improvements in those areas will go a long way to improving your score without even making major swing or equipment changes.


Three: Think Through the Pros and Cons

So this one, based on what we’ve learned so far, might be easy.  You find you don’t get your chips close enough, so you decide to make an effort to improve there.  A “pro”, right?  Right.

This should be reserved for when major decisions need to be made.  Things like:

  • Would spending $100 on getting your driver retrofitted be a good idea?
  • Would spending a ton of man-hours ingraining a new swing motion really help you improve?
  • If you spent the money on a membership, would you really spend enough time there (playing and practicing) to improve?

Any major change to your swing, equipment and/or lifestyle needs to be fully thought through.  A simple Yes/No checklist can go a long way towards helping you make a decision.

RELATED: Simple golf tips to help you play better golf!

Four: Consider the Worst-Case Scenario

A worst-case scenario would be spending $400 on a new driver, only to find it doesn’t work for you.  Or, finding out you don’t play any better from spending a weekend (and a grand plus) at a big-name instructor’s facility when you could’ve went to a local teacher for a fraction of the cost.

You can reframe both situations, though:

– Spending $400 on a driver and expecting it to magically change your golfing life is a waste of time and energy.  If you want to spend that much, get the damn thing fitted!  90% of the golfing world will play better with a fitted club, per Tom Wishon.  Don’t assume you’re in the 10%.

– Whether you take lessons from Butch Harmon or Joe ProDownTheRoad, you HAVE to hold yourself accountable.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that after a weekend you match Tiger’s swing motion-for-motion… but you’re next lesson’s in two weeks and you don’t do anything in-between.  You’ll lose that muscle memory- not good, and you wasted your money…

Anytime you want to make a decision, you need to consider the worst-case scenario to decide if it’s worth the time and/or money investment.

Millenials: can you help save golf?

Five: Align Your Thinking With Your Resources

When you’re playing, do what you know you can do, and avoid what you can’t do.

  • Struggle with hitting the fairway off the tee?  Club down and swing smoothly.
  • Can’t make the ball spin back like a pro?  Land the ball in front of the hole and let it run to it.
  • Always coming up short on the green?  Use the next lowest-lofted club (ie: instead of the 7 iron, use the 6).

If you have a solid grip on what your strengths and weaknesses are, and are willing to stay within yourself (your “resources”) you’ll play a much more rewarding round of golf.


Anything you’d like to add?  Let me know in the Comments section!



About the author 

Justin Blair

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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