woman golferThe way I’ve made decisions in life has been somewhat fluid. Generally, I’ve just lived my life, and as the roads diverged I took one (definitely less traveled ) and made the best of it. Planning was always an option but never a necessity. My creative right brain dominates and I am most attracted to activities and work that call on my creative side.

Like most right brainers, I thrive on spontaneity and relish the gifts that it brings. My favorite visits with friends are with those who love to “play.” Play for me is a shared night at theatre, a long walk, crossword puzzles, golf, tennis, skiing, hiking and hanging out. I move with ease, not with rigidity and not with a big plan in mind.

Since the kids left home and are not part of my days, I’ve had more leisure time to take on some new interests. I’m aware how important learning anything new requires me to draw on my left brain, which requires discipline and focus. When I challenge my left brain, the “work” piece kicks in but I like it.

This summer I’ve spent a lot of time playing golf. Although I love the game it’s been tough to get good at it. It turns out that golf requires the discipline of the left brain in order to learn the basics and the natural athleticism and fluidity of the right brain to actually play the shot.

I learned this inadvertently just last week.

I have not been able to figure why playing multiple rounds of golf isn’t a strategy for improvement. Each time I go out I believe – this is going to be a better round. As I drive the ball off the tee, and it seems to soar forever and even lands in the fairway…. I smile believing I’m onto something. Reality kicks in as the next shot disappears into the thick summer grasses known as fescue. How can I feel so elated in one instant and so frustrated moments later? How can one swing feel so easy and the next be so grueling? Why is consistency so elusive?

The other day my game was so off I couldn’t understand what was wrong. There was no connecting with the ball. I dug and hacked and chopped my way back onto the green and jammed my club into the ground and inevitably tweaked my back. My scorecard screamed, “YOU NEED HELP!”

I called on the 911 of Pros and booked a lesson with Kelly. She was visiting our golf club for a few weeks and I was looking forward to being analyzed.

I invited in the analysis, the criticism, and most importantly the corrections. Everyone loves Kelly’s easy incisive instructions as do I. She always finds something good with your game and gives you a few things to work on.

I’ve taken a handful of lessons in my short golf life. Last year when I took a lesson with Kelly, I felt like a superstar.

Last year’s lesson with Kelly focused on my short game. By the end of the lesson, every putt was sliding in and my chips were lofting effortlessly. However, just hours later, without her by my side, I was back to digging up the greens.

I tried to practice what she had taught me but in no time I was back to “winging” it – giving into my right brain and relying on my good eye-hand natural abilities to get me through.  Last week I gave in and booked a lesson.

This time things went a little differently. Here’s what happened:

I met Kelly at the driving range and she observed my swing.

After watching me hit balls for a few minutes, she looked at me quizzically and said, “It looks like you are doing something a little different with every shot. The thing is your balls go up in the air and you hit them far – but the way you approach them varies from shot to shot.”

And that’s when I came clean.

“Kelly, I’ve never had the beginner lesson… I’m a jock with good eye-hand coordination so I’ve been able to score reasonably well – but now it’s no longer ok – because I never get better.”

Kelly smiled and said, “show me your set-up.”

“Well, that’s the problem, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I admitted. “I guess I don’t have a set-up. Can we pretend I’ve never played in my life and you can show me what most people learn on Day One.” I never had a Day One lesson.

And that’s when I learned about the 2-knuckle grip and all kinds of tricks to show me how far the ball should be from my feet and other stuff.

Kelly gave me a plan…and so far it’s working. I’m not saying my scores will improve, but I understand that there is nothing random about why my balls go astray. I now have a “system” to address that little golf ball. It gives me a lot of comfort to know that I have a plan.

According to Dr. Deborah Graham, “The Left Brain is clumsy and un-athletic while the Right Brain is where the natural athlete operates best.”

It turns out there’s hope for me.



Golf: Why My Brain Loves This Game was last modified: by

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