Embrace the Uncomfortable

Hello Everyone –

Wanted to drop an article about what happened to me last week and maybe help you a little when working on making changes in your swing / game.

This past week I played in the our first PGA South Central Section Western Chapter Tournament of this year.  Yes, it is very late in the year to be beginning our events, but with COVID19 – we were delayed for about 4 months.

This was the first golf tournament I have played in since the end of January.  Probably the longest I have gone without a competitive round in 30+ years (or more).

Needless to say, when I stepped on the first tee, there was a feeling of “uncomfortable” as I hadn’t been on the first tee of a tournament in a few months.  As usual – if you don’t do something “routinely” – there will be a “natural” uncomfortable feeling.  But, this feeling ended pretty fast after the first couple of shots.

The real uncomfortable feeling came 5 holes into the event….  I proceeded to start the tournament, birdie, eagle, birdie, par (easy par 5…), birdie.  I was 5 under through 5 holes.

Many of you are probably thinking – that is a dream start… and yes, it is an amazing start (for anyone), but needless to say, it put me in an extreme “uncomfortable” state.

Why uncomfortable – because it was not normal, it was unusual, it wasn’t something I am used too…  even if I had been playing competitively for the past 4 months, I would still have been in an uncomfortable state as this was an “unusual” situation.

I am bringing this up to help you as as student of the single plane swing.

We know you have many “uncomfortable” feelings when you are changing your swing and creating new habits

The first morning of our schools and camps I  talk to the students about what they are about to go through. One of the topics is the process of learning and how to get through the uncomfortable periods when making these changes.

Please remember – there is a process to creating new habits and being uncomfortable just means you are in a situation you are not used to, it is something new… and that is a VERY GOOD thing when creating new habits…

Why – because the feeling of being uncomfortable shows you are making changes.

Here is what all need to do to create new habits and help you through the uncomfortable feelings:

1.  Learn the Fundamental

You must first learn the fundamental(s) that you need to work on. Whether a long game, short game, mid game, etc… fundamental such as the grip, set up, etc…  you need to study the fundamental you want to work on. Learning doesn’t mean doing at first, it means understanding what is correct and what is not.

2.  Learn the Why

As you are working on creating a new habit, you need to know the why of the fundamental. More than, because we said so, but rather, why the fundamental is important. As you are making the change(s), you will feel uncomfortable at first. If you don’t know the specifics of why you need to make the change, your brain will “give up” when it becomes uncomfortable. (Very common). If you know why – you will be more likely to get through the uncomfortable stage. This is the conscious thought eventually transforming to the unconscious thought. It takes time, but your conscious thought must know the “whys” at first to continue with the change.

3.  Learn How to Practice to Create the New Habit

You can know what fundamental you need to work on, you can know the whys… but if you don’t know how to practice toward creating the new habit, your improvement will be limited, or at least slowed considerably. Whether performing drills, using training aids, or both, it is absolutely critical you learn how to practice toward creating the new habit.

4.  Check Points

During your practice, you must have check points. The check points are set up so you can make sure you are creating the fundamentals correct. The more check points you have, the better. Check many, check often, don’t forget to check. As many already realize, it is much easier to make yourself worse than better – you can prevent this by having check points and checking often while practicing and working toward the new habits.

Use the above help you create new habits and lessen / shorten those uncomfortable feelings.

In conclusion…  I ended up winning the tournament by quite a few shots (4 shots).  I shot 6 under for the round.   It was a nice outcome, but to be honest, it could have been a very special round if I would have dealt with the uncomfortable feelings a little better.  After starting 5 under for the first 5 holes, I played the next 13 in 1 under…

Like everyone dealing with unusual / uncomfortable situations, the more I (and you) put ourselves in those situations, the more we understand why we am uncomfortable, how to practice those situations more and understand how to monitor those circumstances will help me (and you) in the future.

FYI – We have monthly Instructional Webinars called Plane Talk with Graves Golf

If you have questions you would like us to cover / answer in the program or have topics you would like us to cover – please feel free to email those to me at timg@gravesgolf.com

2 thoughts to “Embrace the Uncomfortable”

  1. Hi Tim — Excellent article on being uncomfortable. If you are not uncomfortable, you are not improving. I have found that the four guidelines you outlined are vital and all four (not just one or two) must be applied to improve to reduce and eventually eliminate the uncomfortableness. Once that uncomfortableness has been mastered, it is on to the next uncomfortableness and follow the four guidelines and the process. Congratulations on your winning score at the PGA Section tournament and thank you for what you do and what you have done during these past years to make this game more enjoyable for us students. It is very much appreciated.

  2. Congratulations Tim! Great Article regarding the learning process and the state of being “uncomfortable.” I had a similar experience many years ago. At the time, I was about an 18 handicap. I started an 18-hole round two under par after eight holes. I don’t how I did it; I had only one swing thought “low and slow.” Every shot was nearly perfect and putts were rolling in. The friend I was playing with couldn’t believe it. As I approached the 9th I was super excited, but very uncomfortable. I had the opportunity to play nine holes under par for the first time in my life! The 9th hole was a short par 4 but very tight with houses and out of bounds on both sides of the fairway which was also lined with trees on both sides. My drive was perfect. Then I started thinking, just a short wedge into the green and I could 3-putt for bogey and still shoot under par for nine. Well, I “chunked” two wedges and wound up with a double-bogey and par for the front nine. I was extremely disappointed. Shot 17 over on the back nine as put pressure on myself to repeat the front nine. I felt as if I was in the Twilight Zone! Obviously, I didn’t handle this moment of “uncomfortable” very well.

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