I was reading Fearless Golf by Dr. Gio Valiante, and in chapter 4 he talks about the questions that guide us. I’m reminded of that scene in “The Matrix” where Trinity and Neo are at the nightclub early in the movie and she says to him, “It’s the question that drives us.” In his case the question was “What is the Matrix?”, but in golf the question is “What is my target?”.
Often though we get caught up in things like our score, our competitors, pressure, what I did on the last hole, or 3 holes ago and we get away from asking “What is my target?”. But Dr. Valiante is right. The questions do drive us. Asking the right questions can help us play better, make better decisions and keep us in the moment, while asking the wrong questions, can quickly take us out of the moment and down that road we’ve been before, and we know where that road ends.
The wrong questions introduce fear and distractions, they make us focus on the past or on the future, and they take us out of the zone if we were in it, or more likely, just take us further away from being in the zone.
So how do we get to the point where we are asking the right questions? One of the key ways I think is to think well about the strategy, the way we want to play the hole. Thinking about strategy puts us back squarely in the present. Asking ourselves the question “How do I want to play this hole?” is much more constructive than something like, “I usually hit way right on this hole, what if I do that again? Or worse, what if I hit it in the water? What if I look like a fool?”. One question gets your mind moving in a direction that allows you to marshal your resources, the other takes you out of the present, introduces fear and doubt, and makes it hard to focus on this shot right now.
This is where something like Game Sense is very helpful. Listening to the program will teach you those strategies. Then when you ask yourself “How do I want to play this hole?” you can pull up strategies that work. Instead of focusing on useless, doubt creating questions, you can strategize and step up to the ball confidently because you know that with the right strategy, even if you don’t hit the perfect shot, you can get away with it and miss it good. That alone can result in more confident and fearless golf.
So remember, it’s the question that drives us. Choose the right question and you move in the right direction. Choose the wrong question and it’s like trying to play with one hand tied behind your back.