By Dr. Ron Cruickshank, Golf Mind Coach & GGA Director, Canada

Technique: Getting To Simplicity

In my former life as a business executive I was having dinner with a renowned captain of industry in Chicago. There were four of us at the dinner table and after some small talk he suggested a word game that would help us get to know each other. The two other guests at the table seemed quite apprehensive, fearing this kind of revealing intimacy and unsure how to deal with it. As a behavioral scientist by professional training I was intrigued (I know, the stereotype can be accurate at times). The learning from this simple game made it an immediate favorite of mine and I’ve used it for years to break the ice with new associates and soon to be friends.

Our host called the game Essence and it went like this. First, define the context of the question. In this game it was business and leadership, but it could also be life, parenting, family, marriage, business, golf or any other subject you want to explore.

Second, you pose the question in the following manner. In the world of business/leadership (or golf) what is the one single word that most clearly defines what is important about this subject for you? Not two words, not a phrase – ONE WORD!

This is a difficult process for most people because it forces one to take an mélange of thoughts/feelings and beliefs about a subject and find one word that is equivalent. Not an easy task on a good day for most of us. Our inherent desire is to expand, make distinctions and clarify. In this game, not allowed until later.

In this experience, our host asked each of us to write our one word down after a couple of minutes of reflection. Then, he asked us to go around the table and tell the others what our word was, after he led by example and told us his (cooperation).

What made this meaningful for me was an instant recognition that you can’t do this exercise without a true reference to your core values about a subject. In ESSENCE, you had to ponder and decide what was most important. What is clear to me is that SIMPLICITY is CRUNCHED COMPLEXITY. You take a complex issue and boil down your thoughts into a simple perspective.  You crunch the complexity into a viable word, image or symbol that lets you manipulate the idea with greater dexterity.

True simplicity is a form of efficiency that is designed to produce effortless understanding or action. In no place is this more true then the game of golf, and in particular the single plane swing of Moe Norman. What Moe did was take a complex physical task and reduce it to the most efficient mechanically leveraged swing ever seen. What is the demonstrable proof? He could consistently produce the same swing with superior results over and over, day after day.

Ask yourself, what is the single thought or word that is most important to you in golf? Use this idea to your own advantage in your golf game; examine the best model of simplicity you can find. We believe that model is Moe Norman and our teaching methods are designed to allow you to get a clear and SIMPLE understanding of how to reach impact in the most efficient manner. This approach will get support your improvement more than any Jedi mind tricks I know.

The same objective of simplicity holds for any training or training aid you use and the criteria for adopting a training model or a training aid should be that it supports you quickly, simply and efficiently achieving the feeling of the movement.

Samuel Clemens of Mark Twain fame was famously quoted as saying in a letter to a friend. “I must apologize for writing such a long letter, I didn’t have time to write a short one.” Good things do come in small packages, so stay focused on getting to the most direct, economical and simple path to solid impact.