Golf Lesson – The Game of Misses: Easier Said Than Done by Dr. Rick Jensen

By Steve Zahn
September 23, 2013


With this golf lesson, we explore the miss. We all know golf is a game of opposites. Aim right to go left. Hit down to get the ball up. And, with the last chapter in Easier Said Than Done, we can add to this list: The one who misses the best wins! Golf is a game of misses!

I believe how you approach this particular opposite says a lot about your progress toward improving as a player!

In business management there is this philosophy: Be effective first and then efficient. No sense focusing on endless improvements if you can’t deliver results. Translated to golf – the difference between the accomplished and novice golfer can be measured by their attention to effectiveness first, efficiency second. Here’s how.

A highly skilled player is dialed in on her target – all the time. Scoring is the focus. But that focus is tempered with an appreciation for a possible miss. She is effective because she strikes the right balance to achieve the best possible results.

Less skilled players are also focused on a target. However, rather than adjusting for a miss, they try to hit only the perfect shot by focusing on the perfect swing. They swap effectiveness (score) for efficiency (perfect mechanics).

Admittedly, the better golfer has a distinct advantage as she has fewer miss considerations and thus the variation between her desired shot and a miss is small. She owns that advantage because she saves efficiency for the range. Dr Jensen’s uses a rifle analogy to demonstrate. The accomplished golfer’s concerns are limited, like a 2 barrel rifle where the bullet from one barrel represents the theoretical perfect shot and the other represents the miss. The less skilled golfer, however, has many issues: slices, hooks, whiffs, etc. He is dealing with a 5, 6, or 7 barrel rifle. Bullets going everywhere! Deciding on the best mix is a challenge! So he turns his focus inside – just hit a good shot.

Come to think about it – isn’t that the whole purpose of this book?  You want to improve?  Then reduce your “golf rifle” from a 7 barrel to a 2 barrel.  You can do it, but it is Easier Said Than Done!

Well, that’s it, all 12 chapters.  I hope you have enjoyed these commentaries as much as I have enjoyed writing and sharing them.  If you read the book along the way – congratulations. Good choice! If not – get the book!  It should be part of your golf library.  I am not yet where I want to be as a golfer.  My current life situation does not allow me the time I need to properly invest in the game.  But the material in Easier Said Than Done helps me get the most out of every moment I get.

Last thought – I am probably a 4 barrel golfer!

Steve Zahn

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