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.