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Improve your Game with a Double Ending

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Begin with the end in mind. Stephen Covey, a management guru, wrote in the “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that one of the traits of highly effective people was to begin with the end in mind. By this, he meant that we should know what results we are trying to create before we begin.

What end do you have in mind for your golf game? Do you want to drive the ball farther? Do you want to reduce putts per round? Do you want to respond more calmly and competently after an errant drive? To improve we need to have a specific end in sight.

Spice up your golf. To determine the end you have in mind for your game I encourage you to playfully ask yourself what I call the Spice Girls’ question: So tell me what you want, what you really, really want? It may also be helpful to probe a little further by asking yourself why you want that result. What is the deeper purpose you are attempting to achieve? Develop clarity and specificity in what you want as that will help pull you to the future and let you know when you have reached the end goal.

Determine what must end before you begin. Knowing your result is necessary but not sufficient for change. You must attend to the other meaning of ending before you begin with the result you seek. You need to know what needs to be end before you change. Often ending something can be a bigger challenge than trying to begin something new. For example, trying to end the putting yips can feel insurmountable. We need to make friends with endings in our golf game. To open a new door to our golf game an old door must close. As Jim Morrison of the Doors sang, “This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end, my only friend, the end.”

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Sample endings. Here are some sample ending that may need to occur for improvement:

  • If you want to drive the ball farther, you may need to end the habit of swinging more with your arms than your core.
  • If you want to reduce putts per round, you must end spending all your time practicing on the range.
  • If you want to respond more calmly and completely after an errant drive, you must end your expectation of perfection on every shot.
  • If you want to enjoy your golf game, you must end making enjoyment solely contingent on your score.
  • If you want to win a tournament, you may need to end your focus on the result of each shot and focus more on the process you took for each swing and shot (Derek Ernst was given this advice by his swing coach in preparation for each round  during his first win on the PGA Tour at the Wells Fargo Championship).

Pause before you begin.  To accelerate change, come to a complete stop before proceeding through the intersection of what was with what you hope will be. Ensure you think through what will need to end before you begin. These endings can range from assumptions you have about yourself and golf to ending counterproductive routines and practices. Ask yourself: What must I stop before I start?

Short Summary: To improve your golf game, focus on the double ending. Determine what must end before you begin working on the end result you seek.

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David Zinger taught Educational Psychology at the University of Manitoba for 20 years focusing on counseling psychology and how to teach adults. His master's thesis was on humor in counseling. During this time he has studied and kept a keen interest in the various elements of golf and performance psychology. David lives in Winnipeg, Canada so he contends with six months of snow hibernating his limited time to golf. David is primarily focused on employee engagement and runs a global network of 6000 members focused on the topic. Many of the key principles of engagement also apply to golf: connecting to results, energy, strengths, progress, performance, meaning, and moments. Although David only plays golf occasionally he has a passion for the game that dates back to being a $2.00 a round caddy at 12 years of age for Riverside Golf Club in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He enjoys playing golf with his wife Susan and they both relish each having a hole-in-one. Website: www.davidzinger.com Email David: david@davidzinger.com

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Troy Vayanos

    May 11, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Great post David,

    I have wanted to improve my putting and a result spend a lot more time working on this part of my game. I also want to improve my ball striking off the tee and regularly work on drills and have seen improvement.

    Cheers

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