Swinging Again for the Fun of it

I was hesitant about golfing with the lockdown looming in California. We go all in on quarantine, with curfews blown and non-essential everything else up for grabs based on interpretation. Nevertheless, I have managed to get into a driving range routine over the last two weeks in preparation for my golf foray while on hiatus from Zoom meetings and remotely working from home due to COVID-19.

Swing Mechanics and the Mental Game of Golf

I look at Brian Penn‘s post on Getting Too Mechanical and I know that there is a kindred spirit alive and well out there. As golfers, we think about the swing too much. We let the golf game get all in our head and we try to recall every aspect of what the hips and the torso should be doing in tandem or synchronicity. Throw in the grip and body alignment, and then you have the recipe for a self-induced migraine all within the confines of your own psyche and head.

A lot of this game is simply about getting out of your own head space. We clutter our minds with swing mechanics and every little thing we have red in tons of golf books as well as what we’ve ear hustled through the dense fog of cigar smoke from the golfers who just finished a round or two at the 19th hole and their reflections on the day’s outing. We need to simply clear some space and set our minds on putting our focus and energy towards just a few things that can really get us started on the right pathway. Too much is just too much.

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Getting Back Into the Swing

Much like I read about Anirban Lahiri, it’s just great to get back to swinging on the course again. As I move forward with embarking on a whirlwind of golfing over the next 2 weeks, I wanted to take a closer look at my swing and what I could do differently as well as recognize what I am doing right. I want to acknowledge where I have made some progress as well as where I still struggle.

My favorite post: 17 Bogeys

My grounds for my analysis and evaluation of my swing sequence takes into account that I have an average of 2 days per week at the range over the past month. My trusty GoPro Hero Black 8 and my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ have been my main documenting resources for posting to Instagram and YouTube with pics and videos on my practice sessions. The feedback and comments that I received both here and via social media have allowed me to set a baseline for where I was starting out and what I needed to alter and adjust in order to make some marked improvement in my swing. By no stretch of the imagination am I saying that I am totally on top of my game. I do not see that coming about until maybe a good run in the spring or even summer. Am I ready to play and replay a few rounds this coming week and next? You better believe it!

Reset to Refocus

Taking the Time to Look Deeper

Some people swear by SMART Goals, while others are all about planners and systematic approaches such as Franklin Covey planners and inserts. I tend to get lost with such things. I have a content planner for multimedia, a general 18-month day-to-day planner for ideas and inspiration, and a journal where I keep track on four daily focus areas: FAITH, FAMILY, FITNESS, &FINANCES.

I believe I found the most usage out of the 12 Week Year, but I adjusted my daily tracking and to-do list a little more extensively. I needed the core elements of the 12 Week Year combined with The 100 Day Goal Journal. I felt that both systems worked to give me the things I need to advance and achieve goals.

Recently, I had to hit reset ad take a deeper look at my goals. As I approach the milestone of 50, I had to keep my mental bearings about me. Despite living pretty well, I have experienced greater anxiety with the onset of my mother’s cancer and I felt some hints of depression with mood swings after my cousin’s death last year. I remain highly aware of the day to day condition of those living with mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar, but I am also aware of the potential for a mental breakdown based upon the various pressures of this life.

I rely a lot on my faith, remaining firmly rooted in my beliefs. However, I do have to keep my awareness sharp, so I watch out for signs of undue stress and pressure. I fight to avoid any possible triggers, especially when I can predict some tense moments arising.

Managing my time is just one of those things that I have gotten better with over time. Due to my own compulsion, it has to be a certain way or it’s a total waste of my time. With that in consideration, I took a deeper look at how my progress was going with the system.

My Best Could Be Better

As I reviewed my daily logs since January, I realized that the evolution of the more personalized and customized system resulted in the elimination of a few pieces that also made it comforting work. The latest version had me still score my actionable items as opposed to questioning my progress towards long range goals for 10-12 weeks, even less.

The missing element was an evaluation method that informed me of where I was ad wasn’t progressing on my goals. What I realized was that I needed to focus on more of a simple set of evaluation questions to get to my progress towards goals.

What did I struggle with today?

What are some possible solutions?

Am I closer to my goals today?

I usually score my check boxes by the number completed versus the total number of check boxes for the day. I had set my mark for 85%. Oddly enough, I reviewed my work and even on my best days I was at 83% and 84%. I decided during this reset to adjust my mark of success to 80% until I feel the need for a change. I just want to make sure that my daily goals remain in line with my long term goals.

I was doing good, but I know that I can be better. I just need to place more emphasis on progress through daily actions. I can do way better in working towards my goals. I just need to document that work.

Goals and Golf = My Breaking 90

When I read Brian Tracy’s Goals!, I was still coming off a motivational high from David Goggins giving me insights into true endurance and fight through Can’t Hurt Me. Where Goggins left me high and with my feet off the ground, Tracy slapped me across the face with another level of a wake-up call. He gave me an a-ha moment like in Eat That Frog where I finally figured out where the puzzle piece I had along fit into the big picture of getting things done.

I lacked commitment and consistency.

The 12 Week Year taught me the new definition for commitment that I felt compelled to live out fully. It stated that commitment is: the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to some course of action. In the past, my understanding of commitment was to just show up and at least show up on time if not early. This new definition forced me to have some kind of skin in the game.

In golf, some folks are comfortable wagering on a round. They play relaxed and calm, no sign that they feel pressured or anything like that. Then, there’s the other guy like me. He’s calculated the risk and has worked out scenarios on how to play it safe and smart, even if there’s money on the line. I have to tap into a buried part of my past to climb out of the darkness and swing for the fences off the tee and putt with finesse around the green.

My cousin and I used to place bets on each other’s shots, but we used to talk trash and take shots at each other’s confidence. We knew each other well and knew which buttons to punch and when to put just enough pressure on them. The money was no longer a factor by the turn. Pride was on the line once we got to the back nine.

Where I could never get tripped up was once I determined a certain goal, a score or a different focus beyond $2 per hole par or better. Once I had the determined mindset and focus, I was clear and the game played out right along with me. On one outing my cousin smoothly told me that I could relax and go to the bar or something to loosen up at the turn. I simply said with a smile,”I’ve never played so relaxed in my life.”

Golf goals allow you to focus and draw a mental map, detailing your plans from hole to hole. I am not saying that you picture every shot and situation. What I am saying is that you develop a calmness and a sense of confidence because you have considered a wide variety of scenarios with their best potential solutions ahead of time. In real time, all you are doing is evaluating which scenarios require which solutions.

What if you flub a putt read? Did you get any closer to hole? Then that’s progress.

What if my drive veers off to the left and lose some yardage? Adjust and compensate for the loss in your approach shot. That’s situational solutions to aid in making progress.

I am on Day #2 of the reset, but I am certain of one thing. It’s bound to get better because I am looking it over and placing my focus on progress for my long term goals.


Update: 7-26-20

Morning Weigh-In: 284.9 lbs

Activity: Jog/ speed walk 1.36 miles, 170 incline push-ups, hip-hop/ Afrocentric dance @ 20 minutes

What I learned today: Speed walk is less stress to body and maintains a pace @16 miles per hour or less, even when the outdoor heat is averaging 80-85 degrees.