Telling Joe Golfer’s story is for the millions of regular recreational golfers worldwide who desperately want to enjoy golf.
My hope is that by sharing these personal golf anecdotes, you—Joe Golfer—can drastically shorten your journey to better golf by igniting your desire to accelerate your own game toward an improved and refined level of play. You will enhance your overall satisfaction and enjoyment for golf, and thus cultivate within yourself a natural enthusiasm to continue playing this amazing game for the rest of your life.
The wacky brand of fun on a golf course begins as soon as Joe Golfer hits his first tee shot. At this split-second moment of impact, hitting only two millimeters off-line with a slightly closed clubface will hook the golf ball to the left into thick trees. Conversely, strike the same tee shot two millimeters off-line with a slightly open clubface, and the ball will slice furiously to the right, perhaps splashing into a lake. If that doesn’t rattle your confidence right off the bat, you must now contend with trees lined up on both sides of the narrow fairway, sand bunkers, bushes, fescue (thick pasture), water hazards, and various other impediments on the course. Having fun yet?
Unless you play golf for a living, why would you put pressure on yourself to base all of your potential enjoyment and satisfaction on achieving a certain score—before you strike your first tee shot? As a Joe Golfer, are you really beating your playing partner(s) if you score lower than them? Or have you simply been more successful at taming the course on this day than they were?
During your next round, will you react by demonstrating continuous bouts of frustration and anger at your bad shots? Or will you instead chill out and remain calm by laughing and putting those shots into proper perspective? When all is said and done, how you react is your choice! Perhaps we should remember what my wise golfing friend, Paul Guille, often said whenever any of his golf partners have gone berserk after each bad shot: “Hey, buddy. You’re not a good enough golfer to get pissed off at your game!”
Before I could approach more rescue-shot attempts with greater mental confidence and playing competence as a regular recreational player, I needed to first experience my predictable share of bad-shot moments repeatedly on a variety of golf courses (since these shots are almost impossible to duplicate in practice off the course).The more rescue-shot opportunities I faced on different course layouts, the more I could practice the five swing strategies and gradually improve my shots.
The more you trade in your impulsive bonehead strategies for smart rescue-shot attempts, the sooner you’ll improve your shot results. Playing golf with reasonable consistency from season to season is the ultimate performance education for learning to avoid common bonehead shot strategies and focus on repairing, reinforcing, and refining your new game-enhancing swing strategies and techniques: the fundamental building blocks of all smart-shot strategies.
Benefits of increased flexibility and strength for Joe and Jane Golfers include maximizing your range of swing motion and boosting your power with increased upper-body (arms, shoulders, and back) and lower-body (hips and legs) strength. Increased overall body strength will allow you to execute a more explosive golf swing, which includes a more complete swing arc. This greater arm flexibility and hip torque allows the golfer to take the club back further and shift more solid weight to the inside of the back foot.
This maximized swing wind-up allows you to create an effective, efficient, and explosive recoil action with a lateral-forward weight shift to your front foot, which generates a powerful pelvic thrust during the downswing and impact phase of your shot.
When regular players purchase new brand-name state-of-the-art clubs, they often rush to the golf course with visions of magical ball-striking and shot-making. Many ignore familiarizing themselves with their new toys by practicing their shots based on fundamentally solid swing principles. Then disaster strikes. After a few holes, their game falls apart like a cheap suit as they slam their shots into every accessible hazard. Suddenly, the honeymoon relationship with their new clubs is over. They justify this poor play by blaming their golf clubs and wanting a divorce. You would think these golfers would want to give themselves an Aqua Velva slap across the face to regain a sense of reality. Then afterwards, they could refocus their energy and effort on correctly learning to swing their clubs and properly practicing their shot-making on the range or field. But they fail to answer this calling. These stubborn golfers choose, instead, to continue fantasizing about running off with a newer, better set of clubs for their next engagement with the golf course.
When I look back on that practice session with Paul that day, I remember realizing why Joe Golfers everywhere continue to load up our car trunks with the same battle-tested clubs week after week as we brace ourselves for a ball-striking and shot-making battle on the course. Every regular player continues to feed their addiction to this crazy game because we crave our chance to create these magical Golf Gone Wild moments. We prefer to boast about the brilliant kind, but we’ll settle sometimes for shaking our heads and chuckling about the bad ones too when we feel the need for comic relief.
I share my Legend of Joe Golfer story to illustrate how all Joe and Jane Golfers, through their own trials and tribulations, can discover and craft their own unique golf journey. In this chapter, for example, I showed a few ways that I’ve changed my golf game to inspire all Joe and Jane Golfers of Joe Golfer Nation to examine their own games and journeys. Just as I’ve discovered helpful swing adjustments, I encourage all regular players to find your own 19th-hole lounge chair so you can reflect on where you started, how far your golf game has evolved, and where you want to take it into the future.