Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode#3 / Golf Mental Game Strategy
Rick, Well, what an incredible 2021 you’ve had since 2022 in the new year.
I’m sure it’ll bring up so many more incredible experiences, but for the listeners, I’d love to dove into some of those experiences you have had and hear some of those stories that we would love to learn from as well what you’ve learned from them, and maybe some insights that we can provide to anyone listening to help develop their golf game, their coaching and anything like that. So let’s dove into one of the biggest ones of them all.
Obviously, the open Championship Collins won a win for the whole team and was just amazing. He continues to amaze everyone that watches and obviously develops the game of golf.
So I’d love to hear some of the stories there and some of the lessons that you learn as a coach. And yeah, just just all about that amazing experience, really. Yeah, you bet. It’s super fortunate that, you know, Tony.
Well, 2020 and 2021 have been amazing for me as a coach and to see Collins progress and he’s just an amazing athlete, obviously. And I think you mentioned the key thing is as a coach, what am I learning?
And I think I’m always learning because being at these higher stages, what I’m finding is that the little things make a big, big difference and the open championship was no different. And it’s interesting because of COVID and everything.
I did not travel overseas, and yet we’re trying to prepare as a team. His caddie, JJ Colin, myself, his physical trainer, we meet, you know, a couple of weeks before he’s going to leave to go overseas. And the goal is to be prepared to be at your best, obviously.
And I know that’s a little vague, like, what is your best? And for the physical fitness you’re going to be, you’re going to be traveling a long ways and can the body feel good and the time change and all the things?
And then when we look at swing, which, you know, I’m Colin’s swing coach, what are some of the shots we’re going to need overseas? He had never played links golf, so in a way we’re guessing. And in Las Vegas, where he lives, we’re preparing for a league.
Scottish Golf read a little bit in the desert. But I think part of that shows is that we could be creative as players and coaches to get what we can get done to understand where we want to go with it.
And in this case, we knew legs was going to be more related to fighting irons and wind and those types of things. You buying wind machines and writing the ship? Not quite yet, but maybe down the road we will.
So I think it’s one. It’s interesting to Colin and some of the other players I work with. They really enjoy new experiences, right? So they look forward to it as a challenge instead of, Oh, I don’t know if I’m going to be any good at this.
And I think that’s part of the mindset that we want to go into any new experience with. And in this case, he’s going overseas to play the Scottish Open first and then the open championship. And how is he going to perform?
I don’t know. We don’t know. It’s a new experience for him. And I think as we got him ready, all systems were gone. But until you’re there, you really don’t know what is going to happen, right?
And I think what I would love the listeners to know about is that it’s not always good at the start, right? You know, you and I talk a lot about flow and part of flow is struggle, definitely. And at the Scottish Open, he was 71st, barely making the cut.
And then, if you would, if you were a player and you were 71st in the tournament, are you ready to win the next week at the open championship? Some people would probably say no, and I think Colin is different and some other athletes would say, Wait a second.
That’s not the result I wanted. However, what did I learn from it? Right. So I’m very much into curiosity and learning instead of just being critical of what went wrong. And oh my gosh, I did this bad and stuff like that.
It’s it’s you ask the right questions. You’re going to get some better answers. And yet if we’re critical, all we’re doing is saying, I did this bad. I did this poorly. I did. And there’s really nowhere to go from that other than just the negative self-talk of reinforcing that.
So I was very, very proud of how Colin took that week at the Scottish Open and spoke to him on Sunday night. The Monday, the Tuesday of the next week is saying, Wait, this is what happened. OK, my iron play wasn’t where it needed to be.
I didn’t have good turf interaction with what the Irons were doing. I went to Taylor Bay and say, Hey, can we work on maybe either changing a grind or changing that? And they ended up changing the actual clubs for his short irons.
And that was enough after his Monday practice round to go great. We got that taken care of because turf conditions are different there than they are here in the states. And so that’s the first thing. It wasn’t like, Oh my gosh, what’s going to happen is it’s.
We talked, yeah, we talked about some swing stuff, too of that there’s going to be different attack angles and stuff, but there basically was different turf conditions. He was curious as to why the club wasn’t coming through, how it won it.
He looked at it as a common equipment standpoint that felt great after the Monday practice round and knew that that was taken care of. And then throughout the week, the other major adjustment he made was that the green speeds at the open championship were slower than here in the states, and he didn’t.
So his grip in the Mini has become quite popular to talk about his sore grip with its putting. Well, he didn’t change that per se, but outside 25 feet, he did go back to a conventional putting grip, which has allowed him to feel it more and have some more speed control on the slower type of greens.
So when you look at those two examples, Colin was looking at it, the Scottish Open. I did achieve my performance goals of approach shots and my putting was just a little off with speed. And then he’s looking at, OK, what did I learn?
And that fed him into creating confidence, creating a plan and making adjustments and being open to open to adjustments, right? I think some people are fearful of that. Absolutely. I think there’s a few things you mentioned there that’s so important.
One of them and I’ve heard this from quite a few successful athletes, especially in the basketball arena, and they all say similar things. But it’s not about not falling off the tracks. The most successful people, they all fall off the tracks at some point.
But they have the processes and systems to get back on quicker than anyone else. And I think Colin has displayed exactly that. And obviously with you, with yourself and the rest of the team being able to identify a process that can get you back on the tracks as quickly as possible and more than back on the tracks, but on the way to success almost immediately.
But I would imagine and correct me if I’m wrong, that requires huge amounts of self awareness because golf is not a sport like others. You look at basketball, you look at football, soccer, I would call football well, it’s all about both.
I said football, talking about the real football from my perspective, but we’ll call soccer as well. But soccer as well and many others, you can watch almost the entire game, your entire performance back and you can really dive into the details that go slightly different.
It’s very difficult to watch more than probably ten or 15 shots per round of your entire performance, so it must require huge amounts of self-awareness to be able to identify what those issues were. Look at them without any ego, without any judgment, and then to be able to determine what the right decision is, the right solution is
for that problem. So that self-awareness must be key. It is, and it’s a great point, and I know you and I used a lot of post round assessments with our clients and our students if we want to help them ask the right questions.
Certainly, as coaches, we can be on a call with them every single day. But I want the player. I want the athlete to be asking them those questions of themselves constantly. So there’s always this feedback loop of saying, OK, that was the result.
Was that close to my intention? If it wasn’t what was about it, that was off it? Was it physical? Was it a mental, emotional right decision? All those things, if you can create a very tight feedback loop, you can make adjustments.
And then what you’ll start seeing is that now we’ll call them positive results. You have a feedback loop about that, too. Oh, I’m playing better because I’m doing this, this and this. And then you have a recipe for success that helps you with that.
And so I think, you know, you and I certainly want to empower our students with asking questions that are about learning and not about critical thinking. It’s not about, you know, the old, how did you play?
How did you play today? What did you shoot? That’s really not a starting point, right? It’s like, what did you learn? What did you do well? What are some of the things that we can take to the next round?
Or what are some adjustments? You start framing these questions differently. You’re going to start having more of that self-awareness. And I think in golf and like you mentioned, it is like, I think golf is, you know, it’s an individual sport.
Obviously, sometimes golfers feel like they’re on an island, right? And they’re alone and stuff like that. And yet if they can do their self coaching and their self awareness and ask the right questions, it’s going to help them perform better, which is ultimately what you and I are training our players to do.
So I completely agree with what you’re talking about with self-awareness. It is a skill and it does have to start with asking questions that are non critical, right? Not about. It’s all about the learning. Is this prioritizing that learning and something you actually said and we spoke about this before Rick in the past, but you actually learn just as much from your athletes, from your clients as they learn from yourself. And you’ve always focused on that. And I think the amount that you prioritize learning as a coach and this is, I think, great advice for coaches or great.
Definitely something to think about the coaches is in in grinding that learning mindset into you because that will then always in going back into your clients, back into your players, back into your athletes and I think are so important and I love that about yourself is that you’re not just going out externally to find more information to teach the player, but you’re actually understanding that you can learn from absolutely anyone and that learning mindset from you then impacts into your players as well. So I love that, and I think it’s so, so powerful. You know, thank you.
And we do want to empower our golfers and our athletes to be able to look at things in a different way. I know you’ve mentioned we’ve talked about like observer mindset, right? Which I’d love to hear more on.
Your perspective on that is sometimes it’s so result oriented. We’re so in the moment it’s very much good or bad. And I think sometimes we have to pull away from it a little bit to really look at what happened in the performance.
And I think when Colin looks back at the Scottish Open, he can remove any of that emotion and just look at like, Oh, this is not what happened. This is what happened. OK, now let’s move on. Let’s make an adjustment.
And to me, that makes learning a lot quicker because we’re taking away some of that negativity of that self-critical voice. It’s almost removing yourself from the situation and being able to look at it from a third person perspective.
So then going through your thoughts, your emotions, your reactions, your any of your mistakes and things like that, and actually just observing them without judgment and actually with curiosity instead. So instead of saying I did this poorly or my driving was poor or my putting wasn’t where I wanted it to be.
Actually, just being curious and saying, OK, well, why was my putting pull or why was my own play? Not the way it used to be. It usually is. And I think asking questions from a space of curiosity rather than making statements from a space of critical or criticism is actually really powerful.
And I think that’s probably the place to start and what Colin has been able to do so successfully in that gap between the Scottish Open and the British Open. So no amazing, amazing performance. Just a question. So obviously, as you mentioned, you didn’t travel with Colin.
It must have been quite difficult, especially with, I guess, communication channels to some extent. So a lot of your conversations will have been, I imagine, online rather than in person, which is what you tend to be used to.
So from a coach’s standpoint, and I’m sure you’re now with your busy schedule, you’re saying, well, you. Using a lot more of that communication channel with all of your players, all of your athletes, how do you manage to still communicate your messages successfully and make sure that the player understands and interprets your message or your point of view successfully and effectively, even when it’s on online conversations and not in person?
It’s a great point, and I think through COVID, I learned a lot about those communication channels. I have a lot of college players that we’re not able to see in person and such, and we had to utilize Zoom and certainly phone conversations a lot more. I think when it comes to calling in, the bulk of the coaching was already done before he left.
And I think that as coaches we have to be aware of the preparation type of coaching. And then there’s, you know, in the moment strategy, well, with golf and with Colin’s team, you know, JJ, his his caddy has become kind of a second coach is that he is very self-aware of Colin’s game and their strategies and stuff like that. So we’ve done preparation. And then there might be adjustments depending on the self-awareness of the athlete, right?
So Colin can say, Hey, turf interaction with the iron is doing blank. What could that be Iraq or something like that? We’ve had those conversations before, but it’s not every single day trying to have two hours of coaching because I’m hoping the coaching is done.
It’s preparation time, right? And so he and I usually are going to speak after a Tuesday where he’s had maybe two times to look at a course practice round. We, if I’m not on site, we are discussing after his first round of how the course plays in a tournament setting?
And then from there, it’s very organic as far as what he needs, which is usually very little. I’ll be honest with you because again, the preparation has been done. And so that’s part of where I think we have to, as coaches have to be careful of not over coaching and always checking in.
Oh, well, this is what I saw, what you shot, what happened? It’s like, wait a second, let the player take some ownership for it. Let them ask questions. Let them, you know, I think sometimes we get into a fix fixing mode a little bit too easily.
And I think technology’s actually made it easier to do that. So people are sending videos and this is not everything. Fixed me, fixed me. It’s like, Wait a second, let’s look at the patterns. Let’s look at the things that are happening and ask you this question.
So yes, certainly using phone and cell phones and zoom to connect is great. I just see at times people are now over coaching from a distance, and that could be dangerous because you’re not there observing it as well.
That makes sense. And I guess the more information you provide, the more opportunity you have for misinterpretation, especially in an online conversation as well. And actually, that reminded me of a great story. I heard about one of the greatest soccer managers on the planet, arguably surrounding Ferguson in a conversation that I think you actually had with him, where he asked him the question of the power of simplicity. And he basically said, What’s the difference between a good coach and a great coach? And he brought these concepts of simplicity into it, and he threw a tennis ball to the interviewer and he said, Can you catch that one tennis ball?
And he said, Yeah, no problem. Then he threw 45 tennis balls. And by the point that that guy had tried to catch five tennis balls, he was struggling to catch one, let alone five of them.
And the message that Sir Alex Ferguson had was good. Coaches will throw five tennis balls and hope that their player catches on, whereas bright properties will throw one Typekit and make sure that tennis ball is the most important and the priority for that player.
So I think you’ll point it out over coaching that that story kind of connects with it quite nicely to say, Look, simplicity actually is there is a genius to it. So not overloading the player with information, especially when you have another variable of this online communication and the opportunity for misinterpretation.
So it’s really interesting, really interesting, I guess, as well. It’s one of the things we talk about. one of the criteria to create social flow alignment that we talk about with flow code Golf Academy is obviously focused group attention.
And I would imagine that actually it becomes even more vital when you’re in an online setting because it’s very easy to get distracted by things going on around you when you’re not in person with the players. I imagine that it becomes even more important to ensure that every single stakeholder on the call in the conversation is completely focused in the conversation and coming out with solutions that will improve the performance the next time.
So really interesting to hear those insights. Really interesting. Yeah. So I think when we look back at that week, I’m certainly checking in with Colin.
I get to see some of his shots, certainly through the telecast on the television, but I’m not seeing every shot right? And I’m not. And I’m not, you know, they’re like I am mostly when I’m at other majors, I’m seeing every single shot he hits from the gallery’s perspective and then after a round of golf speaking
with him and his caddie JJ to kind of get some feedback. OK? Hey, Colin, I noticed you did this on this whole. What was the thought process here? Was there a decision? Be here? And sometimes I honestly think that feedback conversations are only a few minutes long, but that helps me, as a coach, get to figure out what was going through his mind and commitment to shot. Maybe it’s a swing thing, and that’s wrapped up pretty quickly afterwards. When I don’t get to see every single shot, I have to now trust the student, right? And I have to trust the team behind it.
And of course, I trust Colin immensely. But with other players that I work with, sometimes they’re going to give me back to the self-awareness idea. They’re going to give me what they just want me to hear instead of what would actually be valuable information, or they’re going to make excuses.
And that’s a big pet peeve of mine is, Oh, I didn’t play well because it was windy. Well, then that means that your game that you can’t fly at irons, we have to work on that. Or if you have a swing coach, you better work on.
So I don’t want excuses. I know that we want to be able to say this happened. There’s a cause and effect relationship. And I think as you look at the best players in the world, they do take ownership for their performance and they go back to self-awareness.
They know why the ball is going, where it’s going. If they’re truly honest with themselves, just be honest with yourself, everybody, it will shorten your learning curve tremendously. OK? That’s a great point. Really good point. Because if you’re not honest with yourself and then you’re trying to find solutions and solve problems with your coach, but you’re not actually solving problems based upon the truth.
You’re solving problems based upon what your random emotional interpretation or actually something that you know you’re not being honest about. You’re going to struggle to make the progress that you want to make because you’re not you’re not actually solving a problem that exists.
Potentially, you’re solving a problem that you interpreted exists or actually a problem that you wish existed potentially is a really important conversation. Actually, if you’re not honest, you are going to be a detriment to your own improvement and own development.
So it’s a great point to make a really important one. Exactly. So, you know, we look at that, that open championship and as the week went on he had a good, solid first round, the second round and on Friday was just awesome.
His front nine just going, you know, and you could you could. You know, we know as golfers we create momentum sometimes and certainly good results help the momentum going. Yet he still had work to do. Right. It’s great to have a wonderful second round and put yourself in the mix.
But the golf course was playing, you know, there wasn’t a ton of wind at that time. So people were still shooting some low scores and it was hard to separate from the field. And I think, you know, speaking with him on the Saturday night before the final round is for all golfers. We are looking forward to that, that final round or that round with our friends on a Sunday morning or something like that. Let’s look forward to that. And again, the opposite of flow is fear, right? It’s like, I don’t know if I fear something, I don’t want any part of it.
And we’ve talked about the word curiosity before, and that’s my favorite way of saying, if I’m curious about something I want to take it on, I want to learn about it. But fear based becomes, I don’t want anything about that, and I think it’s going to be key for golfers to embrace that.
It doesn’t mean you’re going to succeed, OK, but you look forward to, Hey, hey, I wonder how I’m going to play in that environment. I wonder how I’m going to play in the final group or win. To me, that at least gets us going in the right direction.
And of course, Colin embraces those situations very, very well in that environment. And he was excited, you know, and he really wanted to see how it was going to go and the intention was to win. And I think that the other thing which we may talk about in a separate episode, is it’s OK to want to win as much as we talk about the process and stuff. I love talking about processes because that’s what it is, but there has to be a clear goal going ahead of time. And if you’re going to win, that’s one goal.
If I want to make the cut or if I want to shoot 75, those are all different goals. You will have different intentions and different processes that would get you to that. So if we’re going to win, we’re going to have to be a certain type of player to do that.
And then I think Colin understands his DNA as it comes to that, and I would want every listener to know, understand when you’re at your best. You know, what do you think and feel and do right?
And part of that is what we’ve talked about today is the self-awareness of when you’ve played great and what was going on right. And some of it was real simple, everybody. And then other times when maybe you didn’t perform how you want, can we be honest with ourselves, with that self-awareness? So, you know, looking back at the open championship and of course, the common one, so proud of him and.
How he handled all of that. It was physical, it was preparation, it was mental. It was a great team. It’s got a great caddie. There’s a lot of things that go into performance. And if we can be self-aware and look at those different pieces, I believe everybody is going to improve at a better, at a better clip.
I think the word for this episode, Rick, is definitely a curiosity as well because you spoke about chronic pain. We spoke about the new experience of finding golf, and then we finished it with the new experience of stepping into the final day and being excited for the new experience of basically the opportunity to win the British
Open and an incredible new experience for it and the excitement that comes behind that. So I think for every single listener is to have that curiosity on how you will perform in new experiences and be excited for that opportunity.
So know what an episode, what, what an experience and a fantastic 2021. We’ll come back with more episodes and we’ll speak about more of our experiences in 2021, what we’ve learned from them and some great insights for the listeners, but I really enjoyed that.
I really enjoyed it. Thank you, Hallam. Let’s keep giving great information. Absolutely. Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I know you’ve received some incredible information, and if you would like to hear more, please subscribe.