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'Own Your Game': Questions every golfer should ask

The back nine of the 2016 Masters was a head-scratching experience for Jordan Spieth (Getty Images).

The back nine of the 2016 Masters was a head-scratching experience for Jordan Spieth (Getty Images).


Welcome to the “Own Your Game Series”. Over the next few months we will discuss the eight steps that need to be taken to “Own Your Game”. What does that mean? To become comfortable, clear, and confident in your golfing abilities. Only then will you be able to perform consistently.

The game of golf is the ultimate test of personal accountability and responsibility.

• The only tcindy millerhing the touches the ball is the club.

• The only thing that touches the club is you.

• The ball goes where the face points.

• Guess who’s holding the club?

In a previous article that appeared in the April 6 golf preview, I discussed why some people make it big while others do not. Yes, there is definitely the issue of talent. Some are more gifted than others. But an idea that makes all the difference is clearly communicated in a book called “Mindset.” Carol Dweck, world-renowned professor of psychology at Stanford University and author of “Mindset,” discovered that teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the world of business, education and sports. You are not born with all the abilities in the world. You can learn them if . . . you choose.

I realize some of you may not believe improvement is possible. I do know that we each have our own personal potential and we are never too old to get better. There is always something we can learn.
You do not always need to slice your driver, top your irons, and chunk your wedges. There are very simple solutions for bad shots.

In all my years of teaching and playing the great game of golf, I have never met anyone who tries to miss it on purpose. If that is true, then why do we miss? Assuming we know how to hit the shot, why do we not pull it off?

Does Jordan Spieth know how to hit a stock 9-iron on a par three? Of course he does. If so, why did he hit the ball in the water on No. 12 on Sunday at Augusta? What led up to one of the worst meltdowns in recent history in a major championship?

Did the bogies on 10 and 11 contribute to lack of commitment on 12? Did he go from pursuing his second green jacket to protecting it? The answer is yes. None of the above had anything to do with his golf swing. It had everything to do with his inability to stay in the present moment. His lack of commitment and focus on the task at hand allowed his subconscious mind in the middle of his back swing say, “Hey, maybe you should cut this shot instead of hitting a little draw.”

Whoops. There we go into the drink.

 Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the final round of the 2016 Masters (Getty Images)

Jordan Spieth hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the final round of the 2016 Masters (Getty Images)

Then, because his mind was now in shock, he chunks it in again! Wow! I bet there are a lot of you who were shocked to see that. Witnessing the No. 2 player in the world blow it surprised you. Guess what? Everyone misses shots.

The question you need to ask yourself is why? Most times it has absolutely nothing to do with your golf swing and everything to do with your mind. Do you have a process where you plan each shot you hit? Do you know how far you hit each club? Do you have trouble lining up?

If you could improve one thing about your game, what would it be? Most people come to me with the request of becoming more consistent.They would like to hit the ball better more often. I urge you to stop and ask yourself the questions above. If you could learn to use your swing more consistently, your shots will be better. Then you will be more confident that you can hit the ball where you want it to go. Then and only then can you become more consistent.

For you to truly “Own Your Game” it starts with knowing your why.

Are you seeking reward or trying to stop pain? Do you want to win the club championship, or do you need to stop shanking it?

Why do you play? What do you want out of it? Where are you now? How did you get here? Where would you like to go? Maybe you need to participate in the next company golf outing and you are scared of embarrassing yourself. You might be sick and tired of losing a dozen golf balls every round you play. Or, it might be that you would like to break 80, 90, or 100 for the first time. Do you want to hit it straighter, more solid, or longer? Maybe you would love to play without fear? There needs to be a reason for you to work on your game. You must know your why before moving forward.

Where are you now? Let’s define the game you have now. What do you shoot? How long have you played?

How did you get here? Have you taken a bunch of lessons? Do you watch every instruction show on the Golf Channel? How often do you practice?

Will you make the time to take some lessons, practice, and play? Are you willing to invest in your game?

Do you have a way to accomplish all these steps? Do you have the necessary time and resources to invest in your game?

Once you know your why, we can move forward.

Our next step will be the pregame.

Silver Creek native Cindy Miller, who counts the 2010 LPGA National Teach of the Year award among her many golf accomplishments, is writing an “Own Your Game” column for The News. Her next column will appear May 29.



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