Practice Like a 12 year old
Today I played an 18 hole 4ball better ball match with three friends of mine, two of whom are playing professionals and one who is an exceptionally keen low handicap amateur. Of all the rounds I have played in the last number of days, months, even years it was by far one of the most enjoyable rounds I have had in a long time. There was as always a competitive edge with a wager on the game, and although the result went in our favour that is not why I enjoyed it so much. One of the most enjoyable things about the round was that it reminded me of how I played the game as a junior.
I would love to stand here and say that as a junior I was a consistent striker of the ball who could play a flawless round of golf from tee to green, but I was not. I have always struggled off the tee for accuracy, and looking back I wish I knew some of what I know now, but one thing I always knew how to do was grind and just figure out some way of getting the ball around a course. It was rarely a pretty sight, but always an adventure and today’s round was no different.
Throughout the round I produced moments of greatness combined with periods of dismay, but throughout the round I never gave up and I tried my best to enjoy some of the challenging shots i was faced with. Not to mention the look on the oppositions face if i pulled such a daring shot off.
It reminded me of some of the crazy situations I ended up as a junior and the even crazier shots I had to play to try and get out of them.
Thinking of this as I was on my way home this afternoon it made me think about how I practiced as a young junior. When I started the game almost everything I learned was discovered, not prescribed. Some of the most enjoyable practice sessions we would have as juniors were picking unusual clubs, playing them from unusual places and competing constantly against each other to test those skills. It not only gave us an understanding for how to control and shape the ball but also tested our imagination in practice.
In my opinion one of the best things any golfer could do is spend some time experimenting and playing lots of different shots as part of their practice session, and of course, watch as many videos as possible of the Late great Seve Ballesteros……