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Cocky conservative – smart attack

When I first started to get the idea around the Way of the Playa out there, there was inevitably the group of DOGS sufferers who said it was too conservative, going so far as to call it “pat pat” golf. I have no idea what that means, but it can’t be complimentary.

They saw me hitting irons off the tee in my videos, laying up on par 5s and recommending high handicappers hit WHATEVER CLUB THEY FELT RELAXED WITH from the tee on longer holes. Even if that was a 6 iron! Blasphemy!

And the DOGS Karens lost their minds. 

BUT WHAT ABOUT STROKES GAINED??? STROKES GAINED HAS DEBUNKED (insert imaginary thing Strokes Gained has debunked)!!! You always need to be close to the hole, to score better! You’ll never get better if you hit irons off the tee. Laying up on Par 5s is for cucks. I’ve heard it all playa. I’ve even been called a racist for hitting irons off the tee!

You’ll be confronted by these types as well if you embrace the Way of the Playa, I assure you. You have to always remember “take it from whence it comes'' in other words “are they full fo shit?”

Playing within yourself isn’t ‘safe’ - it takes courage

There’s a lot of bravado in golf. Hell, there’s a lot of bravado in everything these days. The Bravado Boys can appear fun, but are they driving you to improve, are they pushing you to be a better person? 

We know golf is hard. Let’s agree on that as a stone cold fact. Why don’t we try to improve in a way which is sustainable? 

Playing within yourself IS COCKY. Hitting shots you know you are a baus at, shows big cajones and courage because there are so many outside influences trying to get you to hit that hero stupid shot. You have to resist and be the playa you know you can be. 

Most opponents to your trying something new that may help you, are jealous and bitter that you may improve more than them. That hurts them. Anyone who is improving or has gone through the stages of improvement will encourage you to do things that improve you too. That good feeling is too sensual to keep to yourself. You want others to do well too.

The ones who discourage everything you do or make you feel stupid for trying something will be in the same position they are, in 5 years, 10 years. Successful people want others who show interest to be successful. People who are stuck, want others to remain stuck otherwise they will look bad in comparison. 

If you are reading this, though, then you have already opened your mind to the idea that what you’ve been told by the golfing mainstream could be total BS. 

Why do you think that distance is the thing you hear about most in golf?

Is it because distance helps you? 

Which is more glamorous and sells more? Mega distance or Mega brain? 

Could it be that distance helps to sell more drivers, tour balls and strong-lofted irons? 

Confident Cockiness comes from within 

When I talk about Cocky Consverative or Stress Free Golf, I use multiple phrases but they all mean the same thing. The phrases I use are:

  • Stress Free Golf - playing the most stress free club in every situation because you know you can hit the shot well. In that specific moment that would lead to another stress free shot. 
  • IDGAF Golf - Stands for I Don’t Give a F Golf. You need to follow the 10 yard rule. Before your shot, you follow stress free golf and think about your plan for the shot as you get 10 yards from the ball. Then you hit the shot. IDGAF Golf means to detach from the result of the shot. You stop thinking about  the resulting shot 10 yards after you’ve hit it. Poof! Like magic. You can be dissapointed, annoyed, happy, elated...once you’re 10 yards from the spot of the shot. Forget it. It no longer means anything.
  • Play Comfortable - hit the shot that when you stand over it, you feel at ease and not tense, worrying about what bad things can happen. Do this on every shot.
  • Hit Easy Shots More Often - Low handicappers hit more easy shots, more often. High handicappers hit more difficult shots more often. This is because high handicappers take on shots that are above their skill level. They have a smaller arsenal of shots but are in denial. Hit the shot that feels easy for you in that moment. If you find the shots are too difficult most often, you need to level up your skill, or pick easier shots for you!
  • Cocky Conservative, Smart Attack - you hit shots that you know are feel so confident in, that you’re cocky. We have those shots in our bag that we know we can execute 9 out of 10 times with ease. That makes you cocky without the downside of fucking it up completely. When you’re in a position to attack the green, you attack smart with your cocky conservative shot. When you’re not in that position, you minimize the damage. 

I use multiple phrases so the message can reach you according to the phrasing your brain identifies most easily to get the concept. Whatever gets you relaxed, smart and making committed shots on the golf course. 

Anyone saying “stress free golf is BS because golf is stressful” should take up cycling. That’s for stressed and angry people. When you get your cycling membership, it’s a requirement to be as angry as possible. And maybe vegan too.

Yet after all the years, many players find that getting out onto the course is anything but stress free. It causes anger, frustration, pain and temper tantrums.

Why? Because they have not accepted who they are as a golfer and are projecting an unrealistic image of themselves into the cosmos. And the cosmos does not agree with their image at all. 

Let’s take a breath, think about why we want to play golf, and PLAY GOLF. 

The Way of the Playa is the Art of Playing Golf - NOT playing Golf Swing. We want to get the ball in the hole, in as few shots as possible, as stress free, and enjoyable as possible. Golf is a hobby to 99.9% of people. It should be relaxing and fun.

In order to play with a stress level which is manageable for you and your playing partners, you need to be confident that you can make the ball go where you want it to go. 

No, I’m not a dumbo - this is meant to sound obvious because it is that simple. When you’re on the tee box, you need to have swagger, you need to put the ball in the ground with intent and KNOW that you’re about to nail one right in the panty, down the chute and be set up for your next shot like a baus. 

What people miss about this, is that it can be done WITH ANY CLUB IN YOUR BAG. 

It could be the driver, it could even be your 8 iron, but it HAS to be the club which at that exact specific moment in time, allows you to unleash your maximum comfort energy into the universe. 

If this means that you are teeing off with your 7 iron on a 375  yard par 4 then that’s what it means. Who cares? If you hit that club straight and with confidence, then you will more than likely hit the next club with even more confidence. 

This cocky conservative approach comes from within you. It’s very difficult to implement a new idea like this because of your conditioning to hit driver driver driver on all holes other than par 3s. As with every shot in golf, you need 100% commitment. 

A lot of people find it too strange to stare down at a 5 wood, 6 iron or 8 iron standing on a par 4 tee. The first few attempts may be embarrassing if you’re not used to it.

After the initial shift in paradigm, your mind will become accustomed to looking down at a different club. Your body will associate the good feeling in your mind to the good feeling of seeing and feeling the solidly struck shot go where you wanted. This breeds more confidence as you walk to your next shot, intent on creating the same stress free shot again and again. 

Attack the course like a ninja 

Clever attack isn’t about firing at pins like a PGA tour pro. Have you practiced enough or have the shots in your arsenal to go at that tucked left pin, over a bunker from 165 yards? Probably not. So we have to attack in ways which will give us the best chance of getting up and down. 

If you haven’t already, please check out the chapters on Get It On The Green (GIOTG) and playing back from the green as it will give you a detailed understanding of what is needed to attack the course in a smart way. 

If you haven’t read those chapters, here’s the tl;dr version. 

  • Hit a club off the tee which you have 100% confidence in at that moment. If the driver feels good, hit the driver. If your 7 iron has been going laser straight then hit that. Your particular skill level will dictate this club to you.
  • Hit that club to a position which will leave you a yardage into the green which you know you can hit. For me it’s anything from 180 to 140 yards - I’m a demon from that distance. For you it might be 120 yards or 165 yards. If you prefer a shorter shot in, maybe you need to lay up on a par 4 and leave yourself that preferred distance. It’s all about managing your game that you have. You want to leave any remaining shot into the green, one that you LIKE.
  • If you aren’t on the green in regulation, or even in regulation +1, just Get It On The Green. Don’t be a hero. Get it on the green. No cuteness. Get it on the green.
  • Practice your putting and two putt maximum every green. Ideally we want no three putts in a round, but it will take time. And lots of practice inside 6 feet.

STOP! THINK!

You might hear people say you play your best golf when you’re not thinking. 

This is only partially correct because there is a huge difference between thinking and worrying.

Worrying is when you’re looking at all the negative things that could go wrong, and how you don’t want them to happen. Murphy had laws and one of his laws said anything that can go wrong will go wrong. 

We all know if I say DO NOT think of a wet naked man ass, you’re going to think of a wet naked man ass. It’s the same when you try to not think of something on the course. 

We want to eliminate this sickness...we want to eliminate the worry, and focus on the positive intentions of what we WILL do correctly, not what we MIGHT do wrong. 

That’s part two though and I’ve skipped ahead. Part one is actually THINKING in terms of planning, strategizing and then selecting and committing to an appropriate shot.

EVERY SHOT MUST HAVE A PURPOSE

In an early video on the channel, I shot a 71 on a pretty tough track, Dynasty Golf Course. It was the day after I read the book by Pia Nillson, “Every Shot Must Have a Purpose”.

The concept of every shot needing to be well planned, thought out, then committed to, was well explained. But the concept that changed it all was that once you finish planning, deciding and selecting, you have to commit ONLY to the positive outcome of the shot. 

The STOP AND THINK FOR 10 SECONDS mantra you may find throughout this guide is there because so many golfers, usually from 9 handicap and higher, just do not THINK at all on the golf course. I mean 0% thought going into most shots.

I only pick on the 9+ handicappers because their average scores are above 85 and I know for a fact, everyone shooting 85 or more is losing 5 to 10 shots per round just because they do not stop and think about what they are about to do. 

I know this because I’ve spent my entire golf life playing mainly with double digit handicappers. I have to sometimes shake a few up on the golf course.

When you’re facing a shot, why are you laying up to a distance you don’t like to hit, for example a 45 yard pitch over a bunker? Why are you hitting a driver on a 345 yard hole with water all down the right side and you hit a fade? Are you going to drive the green? Do you think you can drop where the ball is lying in the water? Oh no, you have to drop WAY back near the tee. 

Why are you 15 yards short on every approach? Do you know your club carry-distances? If you do, why are you short of the green? You hit a fade all day, but you are aiming for a draw on every hole, hitting your next shot from the right hand side, deep in Narnia. 

Why are you hitting a 3 wood from 245 when your 3 wood goes MAXIMUM 220? You know you’re going to top it, or slice it from hitting it too hard. Then you’re 180 yards away from the bushes. If there’s water in the front of the green, why are you pin hunting, with 30 yards of green behind the cup? 

Why are you looking to see if you missed the putt in some self fulfilling prophecy? The hole is 8 feet away and it’s not going anywhere. You’re lined up good, your pace is good, just keep your head down forever and WAIT FOR THE RATTLE of the ball in the hole. 

Questions for Plato.

PLEASE GIVE ME 10 DAMN SECONDS!

Please just stop! And think, for 10 seconds before hitting the shot that is about to destroy your enjoyment and send you into a negative spiral that affects not only this hole, but your entire day and your partner's day too. 

Select the best shot in every moment. This takes only a few seconds of thinking.

This is how I plan each shot:

  • 10 yards from the ball, I look at the slope of where the ball is: up/down/ball above feet/ball below feet
  • Where’s the pin? Oh it’s front left, but how far to carry the water in the front of the green? How much green between the edge of the water and the pin? How far is it to the back of the green?
  • Take out rangefinder, shoot to the pin, shoot to the back edge of the green, shoot to the edge of the water.
  • Ok, I have 135 yards to carry the water. The pin is 10 yards from the edge of the water. It’s 145 to the pin, but 168 to the back edge of the green. The wind is slightly into me, maybe half a club maximum. 
  • The ball is above my feet so will naturally draw to the hole. I know from my general play, that a ball above my feet does not draw as much as I expect for some reason - usually goes pretty straight.
  • I’ll grip down because the ball is above my feet, so I’ll lose about 8 yards. I need to make sure this ball flies to the hole at least 145. Into a half club wind, ball above my feet, guaranteed carry with an 8 iron will be easily 150. Usually I hit 8 iron 167 yards. Even with a perfect strike and the wind does not hold it up, I’m still on the back edge of the green.
  • 5 to 15 yard putt from behind the pin is no problem. I like it a lot. It’s not in the water for sure. I’ll aim it right of the pin, toward the center of the green and if it pulls left, I’ll be close to the pin, but if it goes straight, as I predict, I will have a putt from center green. 

This takes 10, maybe 20 seconds or less and starts on the walk up to the ball. You do not delay play by doing this. You delay play by hitting shots that you did not think about. You have to go search for balls, try to retrieve it from the water, take a drop, walk back to where you have to drop the ball, adding endless shots and time to your round. 

Please do not be a Karen and say “oh if I add 20 seconds to every shot, and I hit 80 shots, that’s 1600 seconds which is another 1000 hours added to my 6 hour round” - yes seriously I have had comments like this on the videos. Learn to create a plan as you walk to the ball, 10 yards away.

Use your time while others are playing to formulate the plan in your head. If you’re holding up play, it’s because you’re starting this process only when it’s your turn to play. Plan while other people are playing their mindless shots. 

The hardest part

The hard part is committing to these decisions... without even a hint of doubt entering your mind. 

You have to cross the imaginary DECISION LINE separating the THINK box from the PLAY box. Once you’re in the PLAY box, you think of only execution of the shot. 

Your mind essentially stops ‘thinking’. This is where thinking needs to be turned off but more specifically, eliminating all worry and doubt. 

You’ve done the assessment of the lie, the wind, the conditions, your feeling, your confidence, your shot in the arsenal. Your hard work is done. It’s time to switch off and forget the what-ifs, the what-abouts. 

HIT THE BALL THINKING OF WHAT YOU WILL DO, NOT WHAT YOU MIGHT DO WRONG!

Once you stand addressing the ball, the only thoughts allowed in your mind are about successful execution of the shot. These think and play boxes might be a new concept to you but it will blow your mind when you implement it fully. I highly recommend the book EVERY SHOT MUST HAVE A PURPOSE by PIA NILSSON.

If you don’t have a pre shot routine, you should

We’ve all thought we were committed to a shot, or we all think we have a bulletproof pre shot routine. But in your next round, when you stand over the ball, ready to hit, are you really ready?

Be mindful and conscious of yourself. 

Are you rushing? Is your pre shot routine just a random swing, with no purpose? Are you just swashbuckling like Jack Sparrow after a bottle of rum trying to get it on Nightly with Keira? STOP. THINK FOR 10 SECONDS. Get into the game playa.

There is no doubt allowed in the play box. No single thought other than execution! If you have a doubt or a WORRY, step back, reset yourself until you’re ready to pull the trigger and go! 

In the example above, if I even remotely think that the 8 iron is the wrong shot, I must stop. If the possibility of landing in the water, or the thought of “don’t go in the water” enters my mind, I must reset until it’s gone. If I imagine the 9 iron will work better, I have to switch to it and go through the entire process again. 

If you’re not at 110%...you’re at 0%

If you do not commit 110% to every shot, you will not play to your potential.

This is so key. 

110% commitment to every shot puts you in control. You can judge your shots in a totally different way. Instead of being mad at your lack of technical prowess or some other nonsense you create in your mind, you can understand your shot was shit because you didn’t commit. 

If you commit fully to the shot, the only thing that can go wrong is a bad plan. If you commit to a good plan, you start to see big changes in your golf. Your plans will improve as you gain more experience on the course. As you bring more feedback into your game from how YOUR game reacts to different situations, you will adjust your plans.

If you’re picking the most stress-free and easy shot FOR YOU, IN THE MOMENT, you should be 110% committed to the shot. It’s very low effort to fully commit to a shot when you pick the correct shot for your good plan. 

If you are not committed, it means you picked the wrong shot. 

Do you see how different that is to the popular perspective of “playing golf swing” instead of “playing golf”? You are NOT crap at golf. You just haven’t harnessed what you are capable of by putting your mind into it. 

Commitment. It’s either 110% or 0% there is no in between. 

KNOW YOURSELF

In the Way of the Playa, the most important part of the process to enjoy golf and to improve at it, is YOU.


YOU are the most important part of this machine. Without YOU, there is no Way of the Playa. Without knowledge of yourself, how can you truly understand anything?

The only way to advance in golf is to understand you.

Self knowledge will guide our decisions, our habits, our direction toward whatever we want to achieve. If you do not know yourself, you usually live in denial, making poor decisions, judgement calls and in general, getting into situations where we wonder, HOW THE HELL DID I GET HERE?

Be prepared. Knowing yourself is not easy and it’s never ending. You will need to be willing to understand what you do, why you do it and how to change it. Changing is difficult and denial and ego can get in the way. If you are honest with yourself, you can change your entire golf game in one round. 

Carry distance - A self knowledge case study

BDog from my channel used to believe that his stock 7 iron distance was 170 yards. Any time I asked him how far do you hit the 7 iron, he would say “170”. He’d then proceed to be 10-15 yards short every time.

He thought he knew, but he didn’t know. The realization on his face when I had him on a launch monitor was a mixture of shock and supreme self discovery. His stock 7 iron was 155 to 160 yards. One out of fifteen would go 170 yards in the air. He thought the ‘carry distance’ was total rollout distance. 

He was disappointed, but also relieved. Now he knew which club to pull on which distance from then on. This is knowing yourself so you can set yourself up for success. This is fruit that’s already on the ground. Just pick it up, and eat it!

Continuing to live in denial, hitting the wrong club would mean you keep going into difficult situations. This means less fun, and higher scores. 

A basic golf self audit template

Answer these questions:

  1. What is the carry distance of every club in your bag?

This is information every golfer needs to know immediately after learning to keep a ball airborne 7 out of 10 times. If you cannot get a ball airborne 7 out of 10 times, you need to see a professional. 

What is carry distance?

This is the distance the ball flies in the air from your strike, to where it LANDS. This does not include rollout. Using distances including rollout for your iron distances is purely ego. It is unhelpful.

Why do we need this?Use this info to make better decisions when faced with carrying obstacles or laying up. Use this information to select the correct club to reach the green. 

How?

You can purchase a home launch device which can help you on the range (link to product) (link to how to use product)

You can visit a local hitting bay and rent it for one hour. Remember to swing normal. The temptation is to SMASH the ball because there is no consequence. Do not rush this. Hit enough balls with each club to get your distances. The software on the Trackman or whichever launch monitor they have should be printable and will show averages with each club.

You can purchase a GPS watch (get affiliate link with Garmin and Bushnell) and use the watch to track your data automatically. You will need to be aware of how much rollout you are getting but for approach shots, it’s pretty easy to see because the ball will stop around the greens near where it lands. 

  1. What is your shot shape?

There is no shame in being a fader or a drawer of the golf ball.

Your shot shape is your shot shape and you must accept it for now.

You’re welcome to change it in future once you have the skills, but every single amateur golfer can become a great player by playing their ONE shot shape.

I repeat: you do NOT need to shape the ball both ways to play off a scratch handicap. You can hit your single shot shape forever. 

Why must I accept my shot shape?

The most important part after accepting your shot shape, is to AIM for it. 

If you hit a fade, aim left. If you hit a draw, aim right. 

Many people refuse to accept their shot shape, instead aiming and waiting for what I like to call the Phantom Draw or the Phantom Straight shot. 

It never comes, and it hurts your game to live in denial of which way the ball moves in the air. 

I don’t have a shot shape

If you do not have a shot shape, and miss both ways all the time, you must find a way to hit one shape more than the other or see a pro who can help you.

If your shape is prohibitive to playing enjoyable golf, you must see a pro or work on minimizing the shape. By this I mean, if you have a 40 yard slice, you need to get that down to a 10 or 15 yard fade. You can do this alone, or you can visit a professional. 

  1. Are you playing the correct tees?

Playing tees that are too long for your distance and dispersion will kill all the fun in your golf game.

Playing the correct tees will bring you joy you’ve never felt before.

How do we find the correct tees? There are numerous formulas online on how to find the correct tee for your driver distance, or 5 iron distance or even 7 iron distance. 

I have a simpler formula. 

Handicap 9+ : play the tees where only two par 4’s are over 400 yards

Single figure handicap : play the tees where you can break 80 and when it becomes easy to break 80, play further back.

The ego makes people play the back tees on their bucket list course to experience it like the pros. The ego makes people play tees where they cannot even reach the fairways.

The irony is that if you play the tees where only two or less par 4’s are over 400 yards, you will have so much fun and enjoy your bucket list course so much that you’ll FEEL like the pro you were trying to emulate.

  1. Do you go pin-hunting?

We love to see the pro’s doing it. But they can work the ball both ways, and they can control the spin and trajectory hitting to pins tucked behind bunkers. 

It’s easy to think that is how you play golf but it’s not how you personally should be playing golf.

This will be covered more in the course and game management sections (link to course and game management) but the summary is to aim for your shot shape so you hit the middle of the green. 

Pin hunting is the bad play for 9 out of 10 golfers. This is not to be rude, but this is the reality because pin hunting, if you are not as PRECISE as a pro, will result in your ball being in places where you just cannot handle the next shot. 

The pros have an arsenal of shots that allow them to hit the ball is ways we can never dream of. Don’t be fooled into believing that the 1-in-20 shot is worth it for the fun. The other 19 are catastrophes that derail your round into oblivion.

Playing smart shots that you know how to hit comfortably will bring more enjoyment than you will ever imagine. 

If there is trouble short, you play to the back edge. If there is trouble long, you play to the middle or front edge. If there is trouble on every side, you pray. Hard.

  1. Which clubs and shots are making you drop shots?

I bet I can answer this one.

Your driver.

Your lob wedge.

And you won’t like my answer to the problem. 

Leave them at home! Many people persist with drivers and lob wedges which are the two most difficult clubs to hit and the two everyone wants to hit to feel like a pro.

I may be wrong in my guess, but YOU know the answer to this question for YOU. You need to be honest with yourself. 

Any club you have in the bag - it can be something else besides driver or lob wedge - that is causing you to consistently lose balls or drop shots, remove it from your bag.

An even better way to assess your bag is to start with the club you LOVE and keep it in the bag. Then the next one you LOVE. You only need 4 or 5 clubs that you love to begin playing better golf but this is the hardest part. You can read more about this in the Backbone of the Bag section.

Let go of the ego telling you that you NEED to have the bad clubs in your bag or you’re not a real golfer. Golf is about getting the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible - not about bragging about one out of 20 drives you piped down the middle.

The entire Way of the Playa is about getting the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible and actually playing the game of golf. 

Golden rule: IF YOU DO NOT ACTIVELY LOVE ANY CLUB IN YOUR BAG, REMOVE IT and either stop using it or REPLACE IT WITH ONE YOU LOVE.

DOGS – Delusions of Grandeur Syndrome

Dogs are usually a man's best friend. But DOGS are a golfer's worst nightmare.

Delusions OGrandeur Syndrome

DOGS

Symptoms include

  • Frustration at a shot that is actually good for their handicap level.
  • Being disgusted that a wedge shot did not stop inside 10 feet from the hole.
  • Hitting drives on the wrong lines for your distance.
  • Overestimating the distance you hit the ball by a lot.
  • Thinking that you need to hole 80% of your 10 foot putts.
  • Getting angry over three-putts when they you practice putting.
  • Waiting for the green to clear on a 300-yard hole when your driver goes 250 max.
  • Saying “if it’s good enough for Tiger, it’s good enough for me” - no it isn’t.
  • Using the one 7 iron that you hit 185 yards one time, downwind on hardpan as their standard 7 iron distance when it’s actually 148 yards.

I could go on forever. It happens to every golfer, so you can feel secure in your embarrassment. Thousands of other people are feeling the same. 

Stop comparing yourself to the pros on TV

This is non-negotiable. You are not going to play on the PGA Tour in the next 5 years if you're reading this. 

Watching golf on television is to be enjoyed for the total debauchery that it is. What happens to guys who watch Lewis Hamilton racing Formula 1, then try to drive like him in their Honda?

The professional game you see on the PGA Tour is the source of the DOGS virus. It’s the Wuhan of golf problems. Contagiousness accelerates from Thursday to the peak on Sunday and Monday every single week.

On Sunday, the coverage shows you the leaders, who are playing the best golf of anyone else ON THE PLANET at that very moment in time.

The only time they cut away is when someone else does something REALLY exciting or REALLY stupid. More dopamine for you! Higher expectations for you! Bigger crash when you don't do it for you!

On Monday, the real poison hits us. The highlights reel is 2-5 minutes packed with every single long putt, close approach, long drive, crazy hole-out-eagle, and whatever else you can imagine. It’s rammed and jammed with this stuff to generate clicks and views.

What you don’t see is the dude struggling on Thursday and Friday who missed the cut. He shot 10 over par. He was once ranked in the top 10 in the world. 

Exactly.

The Reality - the only known cure for DOGS

Here’s the reality of the pro game. This is not intended for you to compare your game to but you may, if you so choose. 

I will take the 100th ranked player on the PGA Tour for each of the below statistics. That means the player is in the top 0.000001% of golfers on the planet. Middle of the pack on the US PGA Tour.

What I want you to do is look at the text in bold, and cover the text in blue with your hand or a piece of paper. Guess the value before looking at the blue to understand how far apart our FEEL vs REAL is when it comes to the pros. 

Proximity to the Hole statisticThis is the distance the ball finishes after an approach shot from each distance:

Putts made by distance

This is the percentage of putts made on the green from each distance from the hole

Scrambling by distance

This is the proximity to the hole after chipping from each distance. It’s also the percentage of times they get into the hole in 2 shots from that distance.

They’ll never show you the guy in the middle of the field earning a cheque who is just scrambling his ass off by chopping the ball around into chip and putt range. They’ll never show you the guy teeing off in the 5th group on Sunday who shoots a 73, hitting 6 greens, 4 fairways and chipping for his life. 

They show you the leaders, the big movers, the extreme shots...everything that will increase viewership to show you more ads to sell you more shit. 

If that doesn’t make you suddenly realize how silly you look complaining and moaning about shots that end in the good enough positions...nothing will!

How do we recover from DOGS?

Step 1: Accept that this is your hobby and you are an amateur.

When you understand how much “less good” the pros are compared to your expectations of them, you should be able to understand that you’re much better than you think you are now. You’re an amateur. This is a hobby. Why treat it like a Monday qualifier for the Masters?

But Monday qualifiers for the Masters don’t exist! 

Now you’re getting it!

Step 2: Ask yourself “how much work have I done on my golf game to deserve to feel so frustrated?”

If you have not practiced or learned to improve aspects of your game, do you deserve to behave like a frustrated Tour pro?

Step 3: Lower your expectations and enjoy the journey - there is no destination.

If you go to the course expecting to shoot a 72 and you’re a 14 handicapper who plays once per week, there’s a disconnect. You need to check yourself. Understanding the handicap system will help.

Golf is a never ending journey. There is no destination. Whatever outcome based goal you have, will not be the end. You will experience a momentary glimpse of joy. Then it will disappear until you create a new one. 

See it as a process. Enjoy the struggle because when you achieve whatever you want to achieve (and you will), then you will look back and reflect on the hard times, the times you felt like giving up. And that is where the sweetest nectar is. 

Step 4: Stay away from people with DOGS

You must stay away from people who talk about the game as if they’re Golf Channel commentators/broadcasters. The 23 handicap Nick Faldo and the 17 handicap Brandel Chamblee will completely wreck your game.

Here are a few favorites I have picked up in 25 years. 

  • ‘Your swing will never hold up under pressure’ - WHAT PRESSURE? The most pressure we will ever face as amateur golfers may be a regional amateur competition. And for most, it will be the medal competition for Club Champs. This is the kind of nonsense you don’t need to hear. Stop playing with this type of person.
  • ‘Strokes Gained has proven/debunked…’ - Strokes Gained hasn’t done anything for the amateur game except confuse people. The headline society means everyone thinks they know what Strokes Gained is, but no one has read the entire book. 95% of anyone talking about Strokes Gained knows nothing about Strokes Gained. Best to avoid this topic. 
  • ‘If he really wants to get to scratch, he will have to (insert wrong assertion)’ - The goal of the vast majority of golfers is to just not embarrass themselves so they can make new friends. The next priority for the majority of people is to merely break 100 or break 90. This nonsense of comparing everything to scratch is cloud cuckooland. The number of people who actively WANT to be a scratch golfer is very low. We must take everything in context.
  • ‘I’d like to see you score that on a real course, 7,000+ yards’ - Avoid these people like you’d avoid a mother in law. They are the epitome of DOGS sufferers. They legit think that a course needs to be over 7,000 yards to be seen as a real course. 90% of amateurs should be playing at 6,400 yards or less. Anyone who belittles your scores or achievements - ditch ‘em. Yesterday.
  • ANYONE who criticises a Tour pro for ANY aspect of their golf game/mental game/exercise game. ANYONE who criticizes your golf game/mental game/exercise game and improvements you make. The victim mentality of people who do not want others to do well drives their terrible attitudes. See through this sort of behavior, and when you hear anyone talking BS about things they do not know, especially when they spout nonsense with authority...it’s time to ditch them.

There are plenty more but please stand guard at the entrance of your mind. Do not allow this nonsense into your thinking because it will screw you up beyond repair. Listening to dunderheads is the surest way to create crazy swing thoughts, doubts in your strategy and removal of fun.

Step 5: Audit yourself. Accept yourself. Play to your strengths. Avoid your weaknesses. Practice your weaknesses.

Have an honest conversation with yourself. 

Look at your golf game and decide: 

Why do I play this game? 

What is the purpose of playing golf?

What am I good at on the golf course? 

Do I focus enough on what I can do and what I do well?

Do I get overcome with DOGS and try to ‘prove myself wrong’ by doing things I can’t?

What are the things I can practice away from the course so I can introduce them later on the course?

Once you know your purpose, you can align your train of thought.

Some examples:

If you say you like to have a chit chat on the golf course with your buddies, then you can take that with you onto the course. You can consciously remember that every round to keep you in that jovial mood. You probably don’t need to practice much and enjoy your once a week round. 

If you say you play golf for competition, and you want to get as good as you can, then you need to accept that and take steps toward your end goal. You cannot do nothing for your game while claiming to want to be the best you can be.

The major disconnect comes when you claim one thing, but your actions and thoughts are diametrically opposed to what you claim with words. 

This is the surefire one-way ticket to mental instability and craziness. This is not the Way of the Playa.

The Way of the Playa dictates that your words, thoughts and actions align. If they do not, you must audit and re-audit your game and thinking until they do.

 

Golf is Like Doodling - Why are you getting so angry at a doodle?

You selected golf as your hobby. There are millions of hobbies out there but you chose golf. Yes golf is difficult but that’s part of the implicit contract you sign with the God of Golf. You accept that. 

Imagine golf is like doodling, which is another hobby. Then imagine that you draw a skew line or your pen slips. You then proceed to throw your pens around, swearing, shouting and making everyone around you crazy. 

Woah podner! Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND?

Golf is exactly the same. It’s supposed to be a relaxing adventure and time to enjoy yourself away from the everyday stress of life. If you simply cannot see that, there’s always cycling.

All cyclists are angry. You’d fit in well. It’s basically a prerequisite. 

By now you should realize how RIDICULOUS it is to

  • expect to play like a pro
  • lose your temper over a hobby
  • comment on others golf games comparing them to pros
  • think the pros only hit extreme shots

Stop playing CopyPaste Golf

Par 4 tee shot = Driver

Par 5 tee shot = Driver

Par 5 Second shot = 3 wood

Chipping around the green = 60 degree 

Shot from the trees = low stinger 2 iron (which you can’t hit)

Sound familiar, Playa? 

The autopull. The same holes, the same shot, the same results. The same frustration.

Auto pulling specific clubs is killing your game and adding unnecessary shots to your score. Forget the Strokes Gained 25 handicappers who all became statistical experts and weekend golf pros after reading a poorly written internet article!

This game is not rocket surgery and for many moons, it was played with a balata golf ball, wooden woods and blade irons. Do you think Jack Nicholson, the major-winning machine, had time for nonsense?

If his driver went left on the first hole, right on the second hole, then Jackie would tell the caddie ‘okay bro, it’s 1 iron all day today’ and shoot a tidy 67. Then he's go work on the driver on the range after the game.

Jack was a true rocket surgeon. Tiger Woods was a rocket surgeon at the British Open slow poisoning the field with his irons off the tee, knowing his game, knowing himself and trusting himself. 


Become a rocket surgeon 

If you play the same course regularly, it’s easy to play without thinking, hitting the same shot on certain holes or in certain situations every time you play. Sometimes you don't even take into account the lie of the ball. 

I’ve been there, and I still do it now. Our brains switch off and we go into unthinking autopilot, hitting shot with no purpose, filled with discomfort and doubt. We all know the results are terrible.

I want you to feel comfortable over every shot, so eliminating Copypasta Golf is about:

  1. Hitting shots you know how to hit
  2. Planning the current shot to setup your next shot 
  3. Hitting the stress free, easy shot to set up another stress-free easy shot.
  4. Selecting the shot based on multiple factors influencing the shape and flight

When you approach the ball what are you looking at? 

Are you using your time effectively to assess all the information available so you can select the correct shot for the situation?

For a lot of people, the answers are no, and no. 


What should I assess before my golf shot?


The lie of the ball 

  1. Above or below your feet. Above your feet usually the ball goes left. Below your feet usually goes right.
  1. Uphill or downhill approach. Hitting to a raised green reduces the carry distance of the ball. Hitting to a green below you, increases the carry of the ball. 
  1. Upslope or downslope lie. Upslope lies go higher and tend to pull left. Downslope go lower and push to the right.
  1. Closely mown grass or rough. You can’t hit the same lob wedge shot from the tight lie as you can from the fluffy rough. This takes practice, paying attention to feedback and experience. Practice has a side benefit of making you appear full of imagination around the greens. All you're doing is growing the arsenal of shots you can implement on the course. 

The next list take experience in YOUR conditions - I can’t tell you how each will react.

It depends on your grass type/ground conditions/soil type and climate. But the most valuable thing you can do is be conscious of what happens and then use that information for future shots. In Copypasta Golf, we just hit mindlessly the same thing over and over.

Way of the Playa golf is conscious and we use the information to gather an arsenal of shots we can play in every situation. I’ll give examples of my own experience in the tropics on tropical grass.

  1. Moisture on the ground. In the morning and after a sprinkle of rain, moisture between the ball and the face, according to my experience can increase distance a little bit and put less spin on the ball. Your experience may be different but notice the difference between a wet grass and a dry grass. Use the feedback.
  1. Hardpan or normal or soggy under the surface If it’s hard pan, I know I’m probably going to have a sawn off follow through to make sure I hit down on it so I don’t thin  the shot.

    For chipping on hardpan, I’ll always play a low lofted chip and run shot.Normal ground conditions, you have a lot of shots to choose from.Soggy under the surface and I’m looking at ways to avoid the fluffed shot. I don’t want to hit a normal follow through here too. I will try sweep it off the turf.

    If it’s soggy then the green is probably softer so I can fly it further to the hole knowing it will stop. I want to avoid chip and runs or putting from off the green when the ground is super soggy.
  1. Grass behind or in front of the ball. Some grass behind the ball can reduce the distance but sometimes it could increase the distance plus have more rollout from the reduced spin.

    It depends and is a case by case understanding through experience. The grass I play on will be different to yours. You must begin to understand the interaction between the club and the grass, turf and ground conditions.
  1. Grain of the grass. I play on bermuda a lot. Hitting a ball that is sitting on grain growing toward me means the club will get stuck on the follow through and I’ll hit a popup shot. The divot will be broken up into small pieces. 

    If it’s down grain, the club glides through the turf and I hit the ball 3-4 more yards further than into the grain. Into the grain, I might try sweep it more. Down grain, I want to make a nice fillet mignon divot that flies 20 yards.

    Chipping onto a green, into the grain, I want to hit a firmer bump and run or fly it further to the hole. The grain will stop it. Downgrain, I want to hit a baby bump and run onto the front edge and let it trickle down the speedy grain!
  1. Sand! This can vary course to course, let alone region to region. Each course will have differing sand conditions. Some are more playable than others. All you can do is learn and remember for future. 

Your shot space

  1. Can you make a full swing? 
  2. Are there any hindrances to your swing movement?
  3. What type of shot would work and how will the ball react to that shot? 
  4. What shot will get me where I need to go, with the least stress?
  5. What shot do I want to hit, but know I shouldnt? (Don’t hit this shot)
  6. Does the lie of the ball mean you need to adjust the length of your swing? 
  7. Does the lie of the ball match the shot that you have in your arsenal?

The path to your target

  1. Are there any objects in your target line? E.g. trees, long grass.
  2. Could you end up in a hazard with a mis-hit shot? Could you finish in a hazard with a shot struck too well? 
  3. Are you opening up the best angle to the pin on the green, for a chip, if you come up short? 

Wind

  1. Which way is the wind blowing? 
  2. How strong is the wind?
  3. Is the wind accentuating or reducing your natural shot shape?
  4. Do you have the right club taking into account the strength of the wind? 
  5. Do you have special wind shots or will you be guessing, trying to hit a shot you’ve never hit?
  6. Can I run the ball up to the green under the wind?
  7. How many clubs is the wind helping/hurting?

These are just a few of the things that enlightened players will be looking for and processing before they make a shot. You will only know how to tackle these situations by being in them, and taking notice of what worked/didn’t work when you tried to take them on.

You need to become a rocket surgeon, capable of making precise decisions in the moment and be in full command of the tools you have at your disposal. 

As you can see, these situations aren’t what you will find at your local driving range. This stuff all happens on the course.

How to implement this Enlightened Rocket Surgeon Golf?

When you get 10 yards away from your ball, start assessing the shot. 

Look at the lie.

Is it good or bad? Why?

Is there trouble? Where? Is there a safe place? Where?

How is the wind? Where is it going?

Do I have a shot for this situation?

How do I feel IN THE MOMENT?

And then say to yourself: 'In this moment, the best, most stress free shot I know how to hit, to setup another stress free easy shot, is________________________.'

The Phil Nicholson or Tiger Woods thread the ball through the eye of a needle shot is not it. The floppidoodle dandy over the bunker to a pin cut tight on the edge of the green is not it either. Pick the shot you KNOW you can hit. 

The shot YOU know how to hit in that specific moment, based on your confidence level, your arsenal of shots, your understanding of the lie of the ball...that’s the shot you hit.

Example

  • 348 yard par 4, slight dogleg right. 
  • You think you can hit the ball over the edge of the dogleg, hitting driver every time. You hit a fade so it suits the hole right?
  • 5 out of 10 are in the bushes on the dogleg after a large slice. 3 out of ten are pulled left across the dogleg trying to hit it too hard, deep in the scheisse. The other 2 are successful and you use those two upon which base your future success on the hole with the driver.  Your average score: 5 or 6.
  • How about a safe iron or hybrid to the apex or just past the apex of the dogleg? What’s your favorite approach distance? Do you like a pitching wedge from 135?
  • Could you hit a 210 yard hybrid or fairway wood? 

Why should I play so mindfully? Seems like a lot of work!

To be better at something takes work. There is no spoon-feeding here, just heightened consciousness.

What a lot of people do not get about the Way of the Playa is a very simple concept that makes golf fun.

Control of your decisions is Maximum Masculine Fun

Being in control of your decisions puts you in control of your emotions. This is one of the most powerful states to be in.

Being out of control of your decisions playing Copypasta Golf and getting frustrated with making bad decisions is a reason you may be reading this. You keep doing the same thing over and over and think that life is happening to you. 

Nope, you're in the driver seat.

No one understands how FUN it is, as a man, to be fully in control of yourself. It doesn't happen in a lot of mens lives. It's sad. We are all victims of it at some point but when we gain control of our emotions and decisions, everything becomes clearer and slower, more relaxed and more effective. 

If you control yourself, you control the game. You can feel the Big Richard Energy coursing through your veins when you are in control. 

In golf, and in everyday life, being in control of decisions means you’re in control of your fate. You’re in the driver seat. You’re not swayed by the whims of emotions or the uncontrollable urges of hormones. You own the day and you own your actions. 

You know which is the most common situation you're failing at this very aspect?

Being swayed by your friends who laugh at you hitting iron off the tee, so you hit driver Oscar Bravo,  just like they all did, and they’re hitting their 4th from the fairway. And soon you will be too.

Have you ever planned a hole properly and upon tapping in for a satisfying boring par, you look up to see your friends' pained expressions after they picked up for a 9? That's the difference between someone in control and someone who lets life happen to them. 

Don’t let negative programming from music and Hollywood movies fool you. Don't let the nonsense infiltrate your mind. Stand guard at the entrance of your mind. What you're feeding your brain is influencing how you live which influences how you play golf. Being a slave to your urges, emotions and desires is not a virtue. 

NOTHING IS MORE FUN THAN BEING A MAN IN TOTAL CONTROL OF HIMSELF. NOTHING IS MORE POWERFUL THAN THAT.

Prove me wrong.

You can’t. 

You know it’s true. 

GIOTG – Get It On The Green

Get.
It.
On.
The.
Green.

That is how you should say it. Each word is a sentence on its own. GET. IT. ON. THE. GREEN. Imagine those obnoxious weirdo SJWs who clap between each word as you say it. 

GIOTG

How many times have you destroyed a score on a hole because you tried to get it close like the pro on TV? 

You knew you had no business going for the Tour pro shot, but you did it anyway and walked off with an angry 6 or 7 instead of a simple 5 at worst. 

It happens to everyone. And that’s why GET IT ON THE GREEN so core to The Way Of The Playa.

Core Tenet in the Way of the Playa

This principle is central to the philosophy because it’s so simple, yet so forgotten, but so effective.

The main reason you need to fully accept Get it On The Green, is that it will begin the process of thinking differently and opening up your vision and imagination on the golf course.

When you stand over your shot with this mantra in mind, you release all the pressure from the shot, relaxing your swing and smoothing its execution. You actually get better at golf, just by thinking 'anywhere on the green is fine'.

Why simply, GET IT ON THE GREEN?

The foundations of the Way of the Playa scoring strategy are focused on the business end of a hole. We play back from the hole by planning our miss or our approach. We plan the distance we want into the green and hit the appropriate shot off the tee. 

We plan our breakup of the shots between where we are and the green to ensure a favorable outcome.

With the focus on the game inside PW range in the Way of the Playa, yes, you have to be good at putting inside 5 feet.

You have to be good at chipping your ball to inside 5 feet.

You must become a good lag putter and eliminate the hurtful 3 stabs. We NEVER want to three-putt.

Some bring up Strokes Gained and all kinds of other nonsense data and whatever else they want to sound like intellectuals. We are amateurs, playing the amateur game and the easiest way to enjoy golf more, and get thr scores down QUICKLY, is to focus on the game inside PW range and getting that ball ON THE GREEN ANYWHERE.

My argument is that the wedge game and putting are the ONLY areas of the game we can ALL be as good as the pros. I don't mean you can't be as good as them in other aspects of the game, but We won’t all be able to bomb it 300 yards or more. We won’t all be hitting 6 iron from 180 yards to 20 feet. 

But we can ALL play inside 100 yards with enough practice. 

That is why we want to get it on the green. You WILL become a good putter and you WILL eliminate all the pressure of needing to constantly hit it close in the most difficult situations. 

Do you know how I know you can improve your putting quicker than every other part of your game? Because you never practice putting. Ever. 

It’s where the lowest hanging fruit is. In fact, the putting fruit has fallen to the floor, and all you need to do is pick it up.

There are no excuses here. You need to be hitting the practice green twice as long as the range. If you don’t have access to a practice green, you can putt on a 3 or 4 foot steel ruler, trying to keep the ball on it the entire length. 

Once you’re able to two-putt most of the time, and get much better inside 5 feet, you will understand that getting the ball on the green is the simplest, most effective concept. 

Understanding PGA Tour Pro statistics will relax your expectations!

pga tour stats are not amateur stats

If you’re a flag hunter and your handicap is double digits, you’re hurting your score several times per round.

Your expectation is often that you must leave hit the ball to 9 feet from the pin or it’s a crap shot. 

This is common among us amateurs and it’s because of the DOGS (Delusions of Grandeur Syndrome) we get from the PGA Tour highlights reel. DOGS is most contagious on a Sunday evening and extremely high on a Monday morning on the PGA Tour Youtube channel.

Reality check you need about golf stats

Here’s the reality and you can fact check this with Snopes:

The 100th ranked player on the PGA Tour statistics will be used. Remember, the top 0.0001% of golfers in the PROXIMITY TO THE HOLE statistics. 

*Proximity to the hole is how far the pro ended up after his shot from each of the listed distances.

150-175 yards: 27 ft 6 in (9 yards) with a 9 iron, 8 iron, 7 iron, 6 iron

125-150 yards: 23 ft 2 in (8 yards) with a GW, PW, 9 iron

100-125 yards: 19 ft 10 in (6.5 yards) with a SW, GW or PW

https://www.pgatour.com/stats/categories.RAPP_INQ.html

Those are the best golfers in the world. I understand, your clubs may go much shorter distances so to compare like with like, rather look at the clubs they use above. Forget how far they hit it. Compare club for club with your own and think about your own performance.  

Think about your own PW or 7 iron and think about how accurate you are with yours. I bet you're not so bad are you, Playa?

Some might exclaim in a knee-jerk rebuttal, “well of course, the pro’s aren’t hitting at the pin all the time!” as if that’s some kind of retort! 

Actually, now that the Karens mentioned that, the more I think about it...the more I think we should do the same thing!

As amateurs, we should ALSO NOT BE HITTING AT THE PINS all the time! Doh! If the pros aren’t going for the pins, why should 19 handicappers go for pins? 

JUST GET IT ON THE GREEN!

GIOTG Chipping and Putting Style

There’s way too much pressure on you to land the ball on a 1 cent coin size spot so that you can have a tap-in. If you're reading this, you're not a pro who practices the same shots over and over until your golf club is an extension of you.

On this high-pressure shot that you don't have, your vision narrows and you just see that little spot you HAVE TO land the ball on. You lose sight of the fact that, just to the right or left of the pin, there’s 8 yards of open green for you to chip onto and nail a putt. We can relieve the pressure on us to perform a pro-level shot and GET IT ON THE GREEN!

We can ALWAYS hole a putt. You almost NEVER hole your second chip after duffing your first. And duffing a chip is likely when putting intense pressure on yourself. 

The frustration is too high and the tension after duffing or knifing a chip affects the next shot. And the next, And the next.  

GIOTG One Chip Policy

Get It On The Green to avoid the 2-chip syndrome. Hitting the green with your first chip, leaving yourself a putt from 1 foot to 10 feet, is empowering, stunning... and brave.

You may find that you do aim away from some pins - that’s okay. Your mind will take a lot of adjusting to this new idea of not trying to hole every chip no matter the difficulty. Your mission is to start looking at new targets on the greens besides the pin. If you can do this, your mental game takes a major bump toward enlightenment.

You need to see the slope on the green and account for that ball rolling and being affected by the slope. You must still chip with care, but accept that getting it on the green is priority number one!

GIOTG Approach Play Style

As you move through the levels of skill in each department of the game, you notice the Distance Dispersion Matrix is the overarching law of golf.

You need to understand your clubs. Do you see the constant need for self-knowledge?

You MUST know your club carry distance. You can do this with the Swing Caddie SC300 or use a Garmin GPS watch to track your distances over 10-20 rounds. When you know your club distances you can make better decisions. You are probably overestimating your power by 5-15 yards per club. 

Your distances might not be specific like a professional. He can nominate 134 yards with his 9 iron or PW and hit it 134 yards. The higher your skill, the tighter your range. 

Approach play example

giotg approach play

You have 167 yards to the pin. You know your club ranges. This is a massive mindset shift. You do NOT NEED TO HIT THE PIN DISTANCE. You need to hit your club where the distance to the pin falls within your chosen clubs distance range. So if the pin is 140 yards away, you hit your club that goes between 135 to 145 yards. 

100 golfer: Your distance range for any club could be 10-15 yards from shortest possible to longest possible shot with that club. You want to use your club that will go at least 155 yards and you want to hit it more to the middle of the green, favoring the left side.

We want to avoid the sand traps at all costs. You need 155 yards minimum even with a poor strike so you can avoid the front trap and hit the front fringe. 

80/90 golfer: Your distance range for your clubs is a bit tighter, maybe you have a 10 yard variance. You could say your 6 iron goes 155 to 165 yards. You might not be happy with a 5 iron because you duff it 6 out of 10 times.

You like your six iron and you know a mediocre strike will reach the front edge at least and with a very good strike, you'll finish 2 yards short of the pin. GIOTG. Forget the pin distance for a moment. 

70 golfer: Your distance range can be tight and your skill could be good enough to hit to a specific number. This is where the skill increase is evident.  You also only need to play ONE shot shape. you do not need to shape the ball both ways to be a low handicapper.

You may have a 168 yard club. Your 6 iron might go 165 to 170. That's a 5 yard range.  You can fly it to the pin, favoring the center of the green if you're hitting a draw or left side of the green if you fade it. The dispersion in the 70s Playa is much tighter and means you can hit with more specific distances. 

How GIOTG evolves over time

Into the low 80s, down into the 70s, your mantra goes from GET IT ON THE GREEN, to GET IT CLOSE and eventually GET IT IN THE HOLE.

Your skills mean you leave 2-4 footers after your chips. You hit the ball closer to the hole on approach and hit more greens in regulation. You never 2-chip and you play with enough club to get it on the green.

You will find yourself in difficult positions, but because of your disciplined practice of getting the ball on the green as a priority, you will never hit a stupid shot to destroy your scorecard and fun factor.

This does not come overnight but with a modicum of practice, you can begin dropping scores like first period French. And over more time, with more practice, you become a wizard around the greens. 

COMMON RESISTANCE FROM KARENS:

“You need more of a strategy than ‘just get it on the green’ and it’s obvious, of course you have to get it on the green.” - Random online expert living in their parent’s house a.t the age of 44, and has never broken 130

While Get It On The Green is obvious and common sense, the vast majority are playing High Ego golf. The big disparity is between the perceived skill level and the actual ability to hit certain shots. No you don't need a flop shot and you don't go flag hunting. 

Imagine seeing a big fat field instead of a 1 cent piece on the ground. That's the mindset shift. 

You have to know yourself, accept yourself. Accept your skill at THIS point, and play with what you have NOW. It will improve, but that’s in the future. RIGHT NOW is all that counts. Do the best you can NOW. On the golf course, you will not miraculously attain some superpower with a vast array of shots. That happens off the course. 

Check out AJ at 7:50 in this video on my channel. This is exactly what I am talking about. The video should start at the correct point. 

Get it on the green is vital to get the cogs in your brain to start working in a new way. The Way of the Playa is all about getting the engine started in your brain and thinking about your game and your goals. The engine fuel are these core tenets and the engine grease is coming in more articles to help you become the Playa you were meant to be. 

Who is the Way of the Playa for?

The Way of the Playa is for anyone seeking different answers to the same old questions. 

Some of the questions, you didn’t even know you had.

But the Way of the Playa answers them before you have them. 

Whether you want to be a happy go lucky Playa who doesn’t care about his handicap, or you want to get to scratch, the concepts in this guide will get you there. 

How do I know? 

Because I've played off every handicap from my first handicap of 21 down to scratch. And the best part is that none of these ideas are brand new to the world.

It’s all tried and tested without the need for smoke and mirrors and fancy data. I will not shame you into changing your swing or clickbait you into oblivion. 

There is no need for me to have a cult of people who will flood the internet with scientism to prove that their religion is the correct one!

I'm selling YOU to YOU 

I know that's a hard one to swallow - that YOU may be the key to your success and that everything you think you know currently, is wrong.

They've sold you tons of info on how to correct your slice. They've fed you a fattening diet of generic quick swing fixes that don't even apply to you. You might have even willingly clicked on the videos and snake oil sales presentations. Like pushing a bruise. You can't stop. 

Everywhere you look, you’re being sold, and you’re being sold HARD. You might not even know it. 

They won’t tell you their marketing campaign is to confuse the hell out of you with info overload, and then sell you something to clear up the confusion that they themselves created! I will admit, it's genius. 

This guide is none of that. Everything in this guide can be put into action immediately. One or two ideas may even slash 10 strokes off your game within 3 rounds. I’m not joking. How much would you pay for that kind of insight and inspiration?

This piece of literature, in combination with videos and audio, is here for you to refer back to. It’s not a ‘read once and done’ piece of material.

You’ll reread it over time and every time you read it, you’ll learn something new - not about golf, but about YOURSELF.

You’ll comprehend things in a clearer way as you experience the topics we’ll learn about together.

Be Yourself, It’s All That You Can Be. Permission to be YOU.

The Way of the Playa is about YOU. 

It’s a thorough guide on playing golf but the key ingredient throughout, is YOU.

YOU personalize the experience.

You learn about YOU.

You understand how YOU control your fate on the golf course and adapt every concept to YOU.

You take the driver's seat in this journey because no one else can. 

This is a program for people who look to themselves and do not blame others. 

No victims are allowed here. Victims and Karens are not welcome in the Way of the Playa.

The Way of the Playa is NOT for Victim Mentality sufferers

If you see yourself as a victim of anything in your life - I don’t care what it is, you will never be successful at anything. This guide is about you happening to the world, not the world happening to you. 

This is a guide for people who can take responsibility for their own actions and lives. They can learn, apply, iterate, make a concept their own. I'm not your daddy and I don't coddle.

I show you the way and if I point to the Sunset and all you can focus on is my finger, you're screwed. 

Anyone who looks for an excuse as to why something will not work is not the target audience of this guide.

The Way of the Playa is NOT swing mechanic advice

There are no swing mechanic tips in this guide at all. Any generic swing tip you may have picked up, you either implemented wrong, and think it's a success or the effects lasted 2-3 weeks before you added another band-aid to the existing problem you created 3 weeks before. 

I do not understand a golf swing and neither do you. I promise, you really don’t and if you think you do, then you probably need this guide more than anyone. 

Very very few people truly understand the golf swing, and by that I mean they understand the golf swing in relation to the person swinging. You are your own worst enemy if you're a self-diagnozer. 

Yes there are quick fixes in this guide because they are easily implemented immediately without changing your swing or going through some massive overhaul of how you hit a ball.

The Way of the Playa is NOT for people who want to play Golf Swing

Playing Golf Swing is a different game to Playing Golf

When we play golf, we try to get the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible.

We do this by planning, strategizing, understanding ourselves, and applying what we’ve learned along the way with mindful awareness of how WE personally perform in differing situations. 

Playing Golf Swing is thinking that you need to have perfect mechanics and a Tour level swing to even remotely enjoy golf. That is a load of horse shit. 

There is no cookie cutter model to play golf. There is no ONE swing. You cannot play golf crippled by swing thoughts.

There is no hard data in this book for all the amateur data scientists that have popped up suddenly all over the world. This is not a guide for the Strokes Gained bros. If your religion is Playing Golf Swing or you’re a Strokes Gained bro, then you may have a hard time digesting this guide.

But you’re welcome to try.

Why do I sound so abrasive?

My cult is a cult of fun. The cult that gives you the control and power over your own game, playing proactively, confidently. But I don't suffer fools. Ever. 

I give you permission to be YOU.

The tone may not be of your friendly neighborhood uncle with a white van selling ice creams when the parents are at work. I'm selling You to YOU with straight talk.

A guru is not a guru because he gives you the answer in a spoon for you to consume. The true guru probes and forces you to look at yourself to realize that everywhere you're running to get away from your current situation where you're totally dissatisfied, is pointless.

You'll run and run and run, then end up back where you started realizing there was no real problem and everything has been there for you from the begining. And I will help you find your way back to being the Playa you were meant to be. 

Your favorite cult leader,

Matt

The Glimpse of your Golf Potential

The Glimpse

'If you think you can or if you think you cannot, you are right' - Betty Ford

TL;DR

The Glimpse is how to see into your true potential and use that to get out of your own way to enjoy golf more and avoid the tension and worry that comes with becoming a higher version of yourself while on the course.  

We live in a world of cowards. A world of people who cannot wait to put others down. The irony is that the coward who is putting the other down has never done anything of meaning in their lives.

Be careful of these cowards.

Cowards will tell you that your dream is impossible.

Cowards will tell you to 'stay in your lane'. How gauling.

Cowards will tell you everything to keep you from being better or improving yourself beyond what they ever imagined for themselves. Why? Because they are jealous and their ego has got in the way of them doing anything significant.

80% of people do not care about your problems and the remaining 20% are happy you have them. No one cares. Stop sharing with these types. The fight is internal.

If the Wright Brothers stayed in their lane and listened to the dodo brains, we’d all be riding bicycles overseas instead of flying. Leonardo Davinci wouldn’t have a Tom Hanks film named after him.

The Glimpse in the Way of the Playa is Foundational

It’s not just a side topic. It’s so important to your mindset as you try to improve at golf and have more fun.

The Glimpse is your mind getting out of its lane - showing you what you are capable of. It is however, most difficult for you to actually accept it.

The Glimpse is your potential and I know you’ve already seen it.

But…

You’ve written it off to fluke luck, a lucky putt here, an amazing chip in there.

You’ve told people that this always happens but don’t worry the wheels will fall off soon.

{Please feel free to insert your own self deprecating nonsense here. FYI: Self-deprecating humor in men is not funny. No one finds it funny and no one wants to listen to it. We appreciate you doing your best and accepting the outcome. Self-deprecation is a speedbump in the way of getting where you want to go}

Why are you so scared of success that you’d rather fail to meet others expectations?

Conditioning. 

The Way of the Playa reconditions the Mind

That means unlearning what the world has put in you, then rebooting your system with a stronger Operating System. Something tougher, simpler and harder to break.

You’ve been told for too long by the gaslighters that you couldn’t repeat what you did and you just got lucky - in any endeavor. Gaslighters are the very same people who do nothing.

They’ve told you it doesn’t count if it’s not on a 7,000 yard course but they haven’t broken 110 strokes on a 6,000 yard course. Blah blah blah. It's all noise to cover up their fragile egos. 

Those days are over inside the Way of the Playa.

Self-knowledge is always the focus

Self knowledge and seeing things from a new perspective will make you impervious to that bullshit.

If you can do something once, you can do it twice. If you can do it twice, you can do it 4 times and so on, into infinity. Failure is only when you stop. You fail by default. Its about knowing yourself, accepting you are capable and iterating over and over and over into infinity. 

This is not some pseudo psychology. That's the very first thing the gaslighters want to call it because it's such a big shift to think 'I am happening to the world' instead of 'the world is happening to me'.

The Glimpse is YOUR POTENTIAL as a golfer, and no one can predict your potential except, you guessed it...

YOU.

No one can control the amount of trust you place in yourself to achieve anything you want.

When you see your ability to score a certain score, and accept the ability, it can change your entire being. Your entire body will begin to operate in an elevated state. If you see your achievement or your ability as luck and that it won’t be repeated, I have some bad news. You are correct.

What’s your best score over 3 holes? Have you ever gone level par?

What’s your best score over 6, 9 or 12 holes in a row?

Have you ever gone under par for a stretch of 3 to 6 holes?

This is not LUCK

I’ll tell you a little secret of the golfers that make you jealous at your club.

They all take their scorecard home and run through what could have been.

If they just avoided that three putt. 

If they just picked the bump and run shot instead of the floaty lob wedge.

They’re looking at WHAT COULD BE because they know they have it in them. NEVER let anyone tell you that this is stupid or it's pointless to look at 'what-ifs'. If you're not learning from your past experience, then you are failing. Hard. 

When we take our scorecards home, we see the potential 72 from the 81 that we just shot. Then we repeat the good, and if we find a trend in poor play, we iterate. We find what's wrong, and devise a way of fixing one or two things. But not just the symptom, but the root cause. 

We acknowledge our luck on the course but understand we had equal cases of bad luck on the same day. We'll say yes, that par where the ball hit a tree and it landed on the green was lucky, but we'll tell you the course took back when the sprinkler head moved the ball 10 yards left into a bunker even though it was online. 


The Glimpse Exercise ONE - Your Best Score Ever

Run through the best score you've had on every hole on your course.

Write it in the scorecard. I mean physically write it in pen or pencil. You must feel it through your hand, onto the paper. Everything you write down will come to fruition. Don't ask me how to explain how. It just works. Don't use a computer or spreadsheet. WRITE IT OUT..

Look at that ‘best case scenario’ score.

YOU DID THAT. You scored that score. It doesn’t matter how you did it, all that matters is your body did it on that day.

Do you see where I’m going yet?

Once you have filled in all your best scores on the scorecard by hole, add it up. Add that shit up and tell me you didn’t DO THAT.

Whatever you scored on that ‘best ever’ 18 holes is your potential. You are capable of scoring those scores on those holes.


The Glimpse Exercise TWO - Get Out of Your Lane


Think back or look back on old scorecards/rounds.

What is your best run of holes? How many holes and what was the score?

For example:

If you’re a 17 handicapper but you once went level par for 7 holes, you are capable of doing that again.

If you are capable of going level for 7 holes, are you not capable of going +7 for the other 11 holes, and breaking 80?

YES. 

If you say NO, please elaborate, why not? Whatever you just told yourself is still your conditioning. Get rid of it. It's useless.

You probably didn’t continue that great run of holes, though, because you started thinking worrying about it and started wondering how to continue playing your best, instead of just continuing as you were, as if nothing was in your way.

But YOU got in YOUR own way.

You got in your own way by forgetting about just hitting shots. You started thinking about the end result before you even finished the middle part. You were signing your card before you even finished the NEXT shot. That's the only shot that counts.


get out of your own way

The Way of the Playa is Getting Out of Your Own Way

The Glimpse is an understanding of what is possible if you get out of your own way and let it flow with the knowledge and acceptance of how good you can be if you don't stop to worry about it. It’s vital to have the mindset that you can be better than you are.

Why is this important?

Because The Glimpse is what is possible.

Is it likely? No. Is it possible? Yes.

The key is to understand that you are capable and at the same time, not become discouraged when you do not score those scores on each hole.

Understand that you have scored them before and if you have a bad hole here or there, you still realize that at any point, you can turn it on and go on a scream of good scores at any time.

Downloads

Listen to or read this nugget of golfing gold at your pleasure. 

Proactive VS. Reactive Golf

Another day in golfing paradise: A short story

It’s 9:37 am, you’re 8 holes into your weekly round and you’re playing well. The sun is shining and there’s a warm breeze coming in off the ocean. You check your scorecard and you’re 4 shots better than your usual score to this point. What’s been working? You didn’t do anything out of the ordinary before the round, a quick coffee and a few putts but the cart girl did smile at you, was it that? Whatever it was, it didn't matter. We’ve just made par and. Life is good. 

You’re on the ninth tee. This hole isn’t your favourite but you know what shot you have to hit. It’s a Par 4, 385 yards with bunkers at 220. The breeze is into your face, but you’ve been ripping the ball on the range so the driver is the right club. Laying back short of the traps with your trusty hybrid would be the conservative play, but screw that, you’re feeling good. Driver it is. 

You make a practice swing and clear your mind. The breeze is picking up but that doesn’t matter, driver is the right club. You draw the club back at the perfect tempo and start your downswing. Here we go - 255 right down the middle. 

How are you doing this? You look up and the ball is sailing through the air via a majestic little fade and it lands in the centre cut, way past the bunkers. As you walk up to the ball, your surroundings are unfamiliar. You’ve barely been in the fairway all year, let alone this round, and you’re left with an awkward yardage, right between clubs. 

You watched a YouTube video the night before about hitting a three quarter swing high fade shot off an uphill lie and decide now would be a good time to try it. If it doesn’t work, who cares? You’ve been getting up and down like a fiend all day, you can do it again. 

You pull your 8 iron, which you haven’t hit today and make what felt like the same swing as the YouTube pro told you to make. The ball shoots forward like a rocket 3 yards above the turf and is zeroing in on THAT greenside bunker. You’re always in there! 

OK time to scramble AGAIN - you love it when golf is like this. You can’t wait to tell your friends how you made that 6 from the jaws of a 4. Oh well, maybe you’ll break 90 next week? 

DOES THIS STORY SOUND FAMILIAR? 

If the answer is yes, then you’re like nearly every golfer I’ve met who is on the long, torturous journey to breaking their chosen milestone, and you probably suffer from the same crippling trait I see in all of these players. 

What is this trait? From the story you could see a number of things. 

Do you watch too many YouTube videos? 

Is your warm up routine perfect and yet it still doesn’t provide results? 

Is it that you know you have no chance with the cart girl, but still tip too much? 

IT IS NONE OF THESE. 

The correct answer is that you’ve become comfortable with SELF SABOTAGE. 

SELF SABOTAGE is the root cause of most of your problems. 

I’m a true believer that golf provides a mirror in which we can view ourselves. Sure, the mirror might warp and distort what you see, but it is a mirror nonetheless, and we must use it to learn, adapt and grow. SELF SABOTAGE is difficult to spot in the mirror of golf because it masquerades itself in the shadows of an already fiendishly difficult game. 

Let’s look at a few common examples of golfing SELF SABOTAGE. See if you recognize any.

  1. You would prefer to hit the ball out of the rough instead of the fairway.
  2. You prefer hitting around or over obstacles than being in the fairway.
  3. You chip from the fringe when putting would be infinitely better. 
  4. You automatically hit the driver on par 5 tee shots.
  5. You feel uncomfortable with a wedge in hand inside 120 yards.
  6. You feel better when you’re scrambling and mess up approach shots often to leave a pitch shot.

Yes, yes I know. All of the above could be perfectly legitimate things to do or feel on the course, but I can tell you for a fact, that they are symptoms of a player who has gotten into the rut of reactive golf. Becoming a proactive player is key to throwing off the shackles of SELF SABOTAGE and finding golfing nirvana. 

What are you afraid of? 

What I have seen in countless players is a fear of getting good at golf. Please let that thought sit in your mind for a moment and think about what it means.

We fear getting good at the hobby we have chosen to play. Matt, have you lost your mind?

Why do we fear getting good? Players who are on their way to breaking 100, 90, 80 or any milestone in between can get addicted to the grind, the struggle, the graft that golf can and will present to you. 

We have all spent rounds, slicing, topping, duffing, thinning and shanking the ball. Sometimes, you will still score well during those rounds and it FEELS GOOD. You feel like you’ve got one over on the golfing gods, giving them a massive middle finger as you sip that hard earned brewski in the 19th. 

But let’s be honest with ourselves. Playing like that, round after round, week and week, year after year is pretty exhausting. Being REACTIVE all the time is exhausting. 

Becoming a proactive golfer not only lowers your scores, but makes you more confident and have more fun. Being in control of your game and your decisions is so empowering that it transcends surface level ‘fun’.

You have to believe that you will hit good shots, believe that you will take the right approach before you can hit good shots and can make the right oncourse decisions. 

Once you start getting into positions on the course which you have planned to be in, you will have to learn how to hit shots from those positions. If you are used to hitting your second from the rough, or out of the trees, you WILL get good at hitting those shots. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep hitting those shots. You can level up!

If you then find yourself in the fairway, hitting off a perfect lie with no trouble in front of you, it can feel completely alien. 

I spent YEARS unable to hit a wedge off a fairway lie. It was worse than the yips. If I was within 130 yards of the green, I would prefer to have been in the rough manufacturing some kind of miracle shot because it was a comfort zone distraction. That way the pressure to hit a straightforward wedge on the green was removed. If I missed the green from the cow grass, so what? Scrambling is fun, right? 

I realised that playing golf from the fairway was ‘boring’ in my mind. Deep down, was I afraid that by getting good at golf, hitting the ball from the short grass, and putting for birdie or par consistently I would lose that feeling of triumphing over adversity? 

This level of SELF SABOTAGE was so deeply ingrained that I would prefer to chip from around the green rather than hit long putts. I convinced myself that I had a good short game, and that like Phil Mickelson, I was a scrambling king. 

Proactive golf is FUN

Two putting for par or bogey is golf. In the other chapters of this guide, you will see how nearly every concept ends up at the business end of the hole. To become a truly proactive golfer, you need to let go of your fear of making a good score by hitting the ball, finding it, hitting it again and then putting it into the hole. 

If you’re the type of character who runs constantly on adrenaline and seeks out uncomfortable situations, then reactive golf may be your one and only calling and that’s fine. On the whole, I think we need to reserve those feelings and emotions for when we will inevitably need them the most. That way, those miracle shots and unlikely pars will FEEL EVEN BETTER as they will mean more. If you’re always grinding, those successes get lost - it’s always onto the next struggle. 

Next time you play, don’t auto pull your driver on a par 5. Think for 10 seconds about what you can do in that moment. If driver is the dress free option, then play that option, but if 6 iron is even less of a stress, then hit the 6. Then think about your next shot. What shot will you be hitting next? What shot do you want hit into the green? As you will see in this chapter, working back from the green is the way you will truly become a zen master.  

Embrace the idea that you can play a hole the way you want to and you will do it. Plant the seed, imagine yourself playing back from the green and perform Inception on yourself. Try it, you might even enjoy it.