New Golf Thinking...It's a long post

Khamelion

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I've tried to cover the NGT session as best as I could remember from the notes I had made, I know I'll have missed some things and my ramblings below do not do justice to John presentation.

Okay, so where to start, with putting into words the session on ‘New Golf Thinking’ with John, well we can start with, thought provoking, enlightening, surprising.

Jezz kicked things off with a few words around how John had introduced himself to Golf Monthly, how John made them aware of the ‘New Golf Thinking’ book, how John had presented a passionate explanation of his ideas and how they had both [Mike & Jezz] had become intrigued with the ideas john had put forward.

John stepped up and introduced himself, he told us that from an early age he had played hockey to an international level and was in the England & Olympic squads with a potential to be selected. He told us how he had a high level position in Proctor and Gamble, in the top 20 of a 133k employee company. He told us that in his role with P&G he often used golfing related stories to make a point and it was this that pointed him in the direction of ‘New Golf Thinking’

So then the day began and we went around the table with each of us giving a very brief intro, name, current handicap and aim in golf, with most of us the aim was to get to single figures or just to enjoy the game. We then filled in the ‘Can-Do’ section of the ‘Self-Assessment’ form and the results were pretty similar across the similar handicaps, with all the mid to high handicappers being close in their scores and the low handicappers being close in their scores. At a guess I would say the high handicappers were marking themselves with 3s, 4s or 5s and the low handicappers marking themselves with 1s and 2s. The lower the score the better. Later on we completed the form and found out our thinking handicap, more on that in a bit.

We started off by talking about mindsets and how certain mindsets can influence you judgement, for example “I always bogey this hole”, straight away you are thinking that no matter what you do on on this hole you will hit a bogey, you mindset has preloaded you brain with negative thoughts. Simply your mindset is ‘What you do, what you do not do & and what you let happen.’ We talked about a self-fulfilling circle, where, you give yourself a mindset, that then becomes stuck in your head, you act upon that mindset and the results you get are based around your original thought.

This ‘Can-Do’ section is all about giving you the right thoughts throughout you game, to ensure you are thinking positively at all times, to ensure you are not using negative mindsets and to put you in ‘Mental Position ‘A’’

‘Mental Position ‘A’’ in a way is getting you to think you are better than those around you, not in an arrogant way but by flipping negative thoughts on their head. The example used was about playing a stableford comp and that your fellow competitor has more shots than you. Negatively you may think that you are giving him to many shots, but flip it over and it becomes, he’s got more shots than me he must need them.

The day for me was about creating positive thoughts, putting yourself into ‘Mental Position ‘A’’ at every opportunity. It will be hard to remember to do this at first but it will become easier and in time second nature.

I struggle on my comp days with slow play in front of me, it gets rattled and last Saturday after waiting an age I skulled my 56 wedge chest height towards the group that had left the green I was going for. Now I’ll take MPA and think they are slow because they need to be slow and not let it get to me, I’ll stay calm, un-rattled and be able to make the shot I want to make.


We all wrote down the following:-

“I will choose mental position ‘A’ in every situation”

We signed and dated it and by doing so all 8 of us made the conscious decision there to choose MPA in every situation.

Last thing on MPA, you’re standing on a Par 3 what is it you are going to do? ***

Upon completing the ‘Self-Assessment’ questionnaire we went through a couple of the sections that were common to all of us. From the ‘Result-Driven’ section, John asked us how many times have you completed a round and in the clubhouse been asked how did you get on?’ Only two answers are applicable 1) I got on great and that is the end of it or 2) I was rubbish out there, my driver wasn’t working, the grass was too long, the greens to fast. We’ve all done this at some point and there was lots of nodding around the table, where a rubbish round is accompanied by a sob story of how it wasn’t your fault. We’re all guilty of this in some way. This section seemed a back to front, as more often than not with a bad round you get someone to tell the story why, but on many occasion those people often have that story already in their head and are already battling themselves before they get to the first tee.

We got told either do or don’t there is no try, I mentioned Yoda said this in one of the Star Wars films, John said Yoda got it from him:

Luke: All right, I'll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.

Try does not exist in my vocabulary anymore, I will no longer be trying to hit the middle of the fairway with my drives, I will be taking MPA and will be hitting the fairways with my drives. I’ve done it once, I will do it again and again. MPA, positive thoughts.

We did some work on leaving shots short and how leaving a 20 feet putt 5 feet short is really 9feet 11 inches short. The rationale being that if you give you putt enough to get past the hole, it may go in, but if it doesn’t you can watch it go past and you have the line back to the hole. Whereas if you leave it 5 feet short you are just as worse off as you were at 20feet.

On the same subject, John talked about ‘Anchors’ in how a number becomes anchored in your subconscious. The distance markers on the fairway at most clubs will give you a distance to the front of the green, so you pick a club that will get you that far. Most course designers’ will leave bunkers or other hazards at the front, so playing to the number you have in your head more often than not will lead you into trouble. So look to get the distance to the back of the green and select a club that will take you that far so that you are taking the hazards at the front of the green out of the shot straight away.

Last up from what I remember, there is other stuff, which the others will no doubt mention, anyhoo we were given a card to mark our shots on. Not the shot number but whether it was a Career, Improver, Maintainer or Worsener type of shot.

John asked us during our round to make each shot with a C, I, M or W the idea being to build up a memory of good shots with all the club in the bag, so that when you next encounter a similar shot you can recall that memory. By recalling the memory you are removing any negativity you may have as you are having to think about the good shot you played last time. You then do RAF (R)eherse (A)im and (F)low.

Ultimately the book has 7 different areas that will put you into a positive frame of mind for your round of golf, for me I have no doubt this will work, it may take a little time to get used to the ideas, but it will work. For others I have no doubt that they will think it’s just bunkum and will remain sceptical, each to their own. I fully enjoyed the day and will be putting the ‘New Golf Thinking’ into practice.

***
If you said/thought hit the green, that is not MPA
If you said/thought, I’m going to put it in the hole, then that is MPA
 
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Hacker Khan

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Jeez man, I can't remember half of that and I was sat in the same room as you, did you use a Dictaphone (no I use my fingers, be dum tish, I'm here all week and try the veal) or something?

Nice write up and I have nothing really to add apart from, what he said.;)
 

Hobbit

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Mmm, it was all going so well till the last two sentences.

I prefer to set sensible, achieveable goals.

To say, "I'm going to knock this in the hole" from 150yds out is setting yourself up to fail. Set yourself up to fail too many times and your confidence will take some almighty knocks.

"I'm going to knock this next to the flag," from 150yds is very much achieveable. And, when you've done it several times on the bounce, you will feed on the confidence that will give you.

"Golf isn't a game of perfect."
 
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guest100718

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Mmm, it was all going so well till the last two sentences.

I prefer to set sensible, achieveable goals.

To say, "I'm going to knock this in the hole" from 150yds out is setting yourself up to fail. Set yourself up to fail too many times and your confidence will take some almighty knocks.

"I'm going to knock this next to the flag," from 150yds is very much achieveable. And, when you've done it several times on the bounce, you will feed on the confidence that will give you.

"Golf isn't a game of perfect."

Very good....
 

Khamelion

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Mmm, it was all going so well till the last two sentences.

I prefer to set sensible, achieveable goals.

To say, "I'm going to knock this in the hole" from 150yds out is setting yourself up to fail. Set yourself up to fail too many times and your confidence will take some almighty knocks.

"I'm going to knock this next to the flag," from 150yds is very much achieveable. And, when you've done it several times on the bounce, you will feed on the confidence that will give you.

"Golf isn't a game of perfect."

It's not about setting yourself up to fail, that is way to negative, it is about giving yourself a positive mindset. If we take the C, I, M & W part. We all aim to get a hole in one on any par 3, if you say you are not then you're lying, after all the whole point of golf is to get the ball into the hole, no matter how many yards away. If you hit your tee shot and it goes in the hole, that is a C, if it doesn't then it has to be, either an I or M, you are maintaining you positive mindset and staying in MPA.

The 8 of us that attended the session are on a hiding to nothing trying to explain to those that are sceptical or those that just simply do not what to accept there is an alternative. The best way to appreciate what we are putting across about the session is to buy the book.
 

HomerJSimpson

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The 8 of us that attended the session are on a hiding to nothing trying to explain to those that are sceptical or those that just simply do not what to accept there is an alternative. The best way to appreciate what we are putting across about the session is to buy the book.

To be honest, we've explained it as simply as we can but there will always be the usual suspects who see it as something akin to dancing with the devil. I'm not bothering to explain it any further here or the other thread. People have had the opportunity to understand it, feeds to where the book is so they can read it themselves and can read about it in the magazine, but there are certain people on here always looking for an argument on a subject they haven't even had any exposure to
 
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To be honest, we've explained it as simply as we can but there will always be the usual suspects who see it as something akin to dancing with the devil. I'm not bothering to explain it any further here or the other thread. People have had the opportunity to understand it, feeds to where the book is so they can read it themselves and can read about it in the magazine, but there are certain people on here always looking for an argument on a subject they haven't even had any exposure to

Or "certain" people where trying to find out more about it but"certain" people get immediately defensive - thankfully someone like Hacker was able to realise that and was more than willing to go into the debate about the "New way of thinking" with other people.

I will look forward to hearing about the improvements it and the other stuff makes to your game and your handicap and scores
 

bozza

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Well I've download it onto my iphone so I'll give it a read as the mental side of it is one thing that does seem to affect my golf a lot.
 

HomerJSimpson

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Or "certain" people where trying to find out more about it but"certain" people get immediately defensive - thankfully someone like Hacker was able to realise that and was more than willing to go into the debate about the "New way of thinking" with other people.

I will look forward to hearing about the improvements it and the other stuff makes to your game and your handicap and scores

Nope. We've all said that it is very hard to get over in words what was said in the room and yet to make assumptions and comments without a) downloading the book, b) being certain you've taken the comment in absolute context or c) given the eight of us sufficient time to find what we need to work on for our own game and the chance to use the techniques for those needs.

Not defensive at all. Just frustration that like other things, you seem to have an opinion on something you've already declared no interest in using or you don't think is necessary or works. Aimpoint being a prime example. Welcome back to the ignore list.
 

upsidedown

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Over 12 years ago I was playing golf with a well known on course commentator for the BBC and on my first approach shot she asked me what I was aiming at ?
"The green."
" No Ben, you need to be aiming to hole the ball "

Sounds like MPA is not that new ;)
 

Sponge1980

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Good write up there Khamelion. I'm with you on the slow play thing, gets to me every time too. Think I'll give the book a go.
 

PhilTheFragger

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Over 12 years ago I was playing golf with a well known on course commentator for the BBC and on my first approach shot she asked me what I was aiming at ?
"The green."
" No Ben, you need to be aiming to hole the ball "

Sounds like MPA is not that new ;)

Well done, you have mastered about 2% of what MPA is about :)

Chapter 5 "Can Do" explains all
 

need_my_wedge

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Hacker has already written a fairly concise summary of the day. I started to write my first 150 word post for GM, realizing that there was no way I could include even 10 % of the day in 150 words, so I’ll just append my take to this thread. I don’t want this post to start another debate on the same things being discussed in the other thread, it’s just my take on the day in more detail than I could write for the mag.

I’ve been hovering around an18 handicap give or take for a couple of years now. I haven’t made any significant moves past this point, despite knowing that I can play better. So I looked at this opportunity as a way to change this. I arrived at The Grove a little nervous but keen to learn something that will help me improve my golf game. Most of the guys were already there, so handshakes, introductions and putting face to names done, we kicked off about 10 minutes early.

A quick presentation from Jezz Elwood sharing his and GM’s passion for this idea, and introducing John O’Keeffe the author, followed by John’s own introduction and rough biography. John comes across as a very strong and confident character, which is supported by his history of being an Olympic level hockey player, and ex-group president of Proctor & Gamble. He has a good pedigree for an inspirational speaker.

He kicked into the presentation quite quickly, where it became quite clear that this was all about CAN-DO. The main premise being that you either Do something, or DON’T do something, there is no TRY to do something. Some may argue that in the line of positive thinking, this is not really anything new. I’m sure that is true, but the spin that John is promoting is to take common problems and get you to think about them in a new way. One of the examples here is leaving “shorties” all the time, whether it be a wedge from 100 yds, or a chip from the edge of the green, pitch from a bunker or a putt from the centre of the green. We all did a self-assessment on our game play, which for the higher handicappers highlighted shorties as key failing in their play. This has since prompted some lively debate in the other forum thread on the day.

The book is designed to promote seven techniques that can help players of all levels, which all of us there on the day found something of use, whether we were a 20+ handicapper or a 5 handicapper. I don’t think the book has hard and fast single point fixes, i.e. if you do this it will cut 3 shots off your score every round. But it does give you a number of thought processes, that if you apply to each shot every time you play, will help you affect the simple errors and negative thoughts that too often creep into our games.

Of course a high handicapper will require different aspects of help to a low handicapper, it’s not just a case of saying “think positive and you will play well”. The book gives you a mindset to think positive, to recognize when you are slipping out of the mindset, and how to get back into the mindset after you’ve had a blip.

One of the techniques is to put yourself in mental position A for every shot (now coined by me in the previous thread as MPA). This is not always easy to do, especially if you've just put it in the trees or the cabbage. If you have no relief, often the only way you can improve your lie from a shot like this is in your mind. It will take a bit of effort to apply this every time, but I'm willing to DO it.

One of the arguments in the previous thread is that we are now going to over think as a result of the day. This may be true in the short term, but the idea of the book is to find the areas you can improve, and then focus on one at a time until it becomes second nature, and then go for another one, not to try and smash everything in one foul swoop.

It was an intensive morning session, we only covered about 14% of the book in the three hour session, and that was probably a lot more to take on board than I could cope with. That’s how I felt on the day, but reflecting back and discussing in the forum has let me see that I actually took in more than I thought. The difficulty for me is transferring what was said during the session to the forums in a way that make it as plausible as John did. I think this is highly unlikely, so am just focusing on my own musings for the day.

During lunch the afternoon fourballs were drawn, myself with Jezz Elwood, Pieman and Khamelion, whilst Homer was drawn with SaintHacker, Hacker Khan and Fragger. We ventured down to the range to be greeted by a lovely grass “mat” and small pyramids of TaylorMade balls to practice with. We only had a short 15 mins before we had to venture back to the tee, with me teeing off second behind Pieman.

The first tee was quite daunting, situated right by the bar, with quite a few folks around watching, but managed to put a good drive down the left side, leaving me a 100yd pitch, which I put pin high three feet from the pin, stopping about an inch to the right of my pitch mark. Sinking the putt prompted a “what handicap do you play off?” from Jezz :D. We weren’t playing any kind of comp as we were trying to apply the lessons from the morning, specifically the marking of CIMW shots, which I think is probably better left for practice rounds in the first instance….. I managed to lose my ball on the 2nd hole after a wild drive, hit tree on 2nd shot, leaving a blind shot to the pin from the other fairway, from where no one saw the ball land….. but, no stories allowed ;)

I didn’t play my best golf by a long shot, but the course was in great condition, long off the medal tees, and fairly exposed with a good breeze swirling around. It was tough in parts but the company was good and made for an enjoyable round. A birdie and a handful of pars kept the bad stuff in check and managed to get through the round without sinking into any negative thoughts. There’s a lot of room for improvement, and managing the thought process better will help.
All in all I enjoyed the day; it was hard not to be enthused by John’s own enthusiasm and confidence. Regardless of the thoughts expressed in the forum thus far, I’m planning on sticking with a couple of the ideas for the next month to see what it does for me, the key being what it does for me.
 

Khamelion

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Nice one Bryan. Like yourself, I've no idea how I'm going to sum up in 150 words the day at the Grove, but I will have to get something out to Jezz today.

It was a great day, all 8 of us have got ideas from the book which we will use in forth coming rounds, as Bryan writes, John's enthusiasm was infectious and the 8 of us trying to impart that enthusiasm through our misguided ramblings does not in anyway do the session or John the justice he so readily deserves.
 
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