Some people believe that PGA tour golfers are born with a special golf talent and as such become great golfers. I do not.
When you watch golf telecasts you will often hear the commentators mention that such and such a player is a "talented player" or that they possess "raw talent" and so on.
I have always been interested in why it is so easy for people to describe anyone who is exceptional at something to describe them as 'talented,' so I went on a quick search on the web for a simple definition using the keywords of 'what is talent?' and here's what I found.
It appears then that 'talented golfers' possess natural, innate or unusual abilities. I guess this means that if you can't explain why or how someone can do something at an exceptional level then they must be talented? It's the old 'nature/nurture' debate I suppose?
Is someone born with the ability to play golf at an exceptional level or do they learn and develop it?...My business partner David Milne and I are firm believers in the 'nurture' model.
Our experience working with thousands of golfers from beginners to winners at our golf schools and more recently at our high performance college has taught us that developing your key mental skills will make a much better golfer out of you than developing your technical skills.
Boy does this go against the grain!
Yes you need a set of well developed techniques to perform at golf; but you also need a lot more than that if you want to continually get better at this game.
I don't care how good you swing your golf club; if you don't believe you can play a golf shot at a crucial time in a round then this weakness alone will shine through and make your golf swing fail time and time again.
When you watch a PGA or LPGA tournament the first thing you should realize is that every golfer competing in that tournament swings the golf club differently. From their golf grip to their back-swing position to their finish they all do it a different way.
Talent therefore must have a lot less to do with how someone actually swings the golf club and a lot more to do with how they perform their golf swing when it really matters.
Innate ability might actually mean your ability to communicate to yourself in such a way that you can confidently perform with the same level of commitment and confidence anytime you want to. I don't believe this is natural, I believe you learn how to do this.
Jack Nicklaus is considered to be one of the absolute greats of the game and so you would imagine that he would pass his 'golf genes' on to his children and they too would become great at golf.
It didn't happen, he passed on his genes and some of them played golf and even played on a tour for a while, however they never got close to playing as good as their father.
The same can be said for many other children of great golfers and in fact children of exceptional performers from many other different domains.
The bottom line is that there is no substitute for hard work. You have to put in hours and hours of deliberate effort to extract the performances out of it you desire. You develop your innate or natural skills by applying yourself to your craft as often as you can. Now you might be thinking to yourself that you know of golfers who have put countless hours into their game and still they fail to achieve the results they desire, so what gives?
There's no doubt that there are many golfers who desperately want to improve their golf and when they fail to achieve someone might be inclined to say to them that they simply lack the talent they need to be successful.
Here's what you do to change your situation and get on track to acquiring success at golf no matter what your current level.
I call this the 5 Step Pro Tour Golf Confidence Routine
Step 1. Decide exactly what you want from the game of golf.
If you want to become a better golfer then define exactly what that means to you. What would it look like? What would it feel like? Use your amazing natural and innate imagination and dream a bigger and better dream.
Not the one that has you where you are, but the dream that takes you to the place you want to be. A place you've never been before perhaps.
Step 2. Do something about it today.
Once you have decided what you want from the game of golf go to work on getting it. Every ounce of effort you apply must directly relate to what you want. No wasted mental or physical effort, just well thought out daily and weekly action plans that move you slowly but surely towards your big exciting goal.
Step 3. Notice what happens
The big thing is to develop your awareness of the two critical mental skills that make all the difference. The first is pointing your intention at your bigger goal. That is; the longer term goal that inspires and motivates you to work at your game to get better.
This could be a lower golf handicap or winning the club championships or even winning on the golf tour. The key is to never take your eye off this big, important goal.
This mental skill is about keep your attention on the smaller intermediate goals that lead to it. Focus on the small daily goals that drive you towards the bigger ones. Every golf shot you hit requires that your attention be as sharp as possible. The better the job you do at this the better the results you will get.
Make a personal commitment to hit every golf shot with your full attention on the process and let the outcome take care of itself.
Step 4. Change your approach
As you work at your game some of the things you do won't work the way you want them to, so simply change them. I mean it, don't make a big deal out of it and waste your valuable time on techniques that don't work.
Change them and get on with the job achieving your big goal. No one gets it right all the time; you have to continually change your approach to find the techniques that work the best.
Look for proven models that do work, whether it's a special putting technique, or a specific short-game system or full-swing technique. Apply them continually until they work for you.
Step 5. Never give up on your dream
Believe me when I tell you that you will get distracted. Some people you know will never understand your goal and because they don't have something as exciting as you to strive for they might try to talk you out of yours. Don't let them! Stick to your goal like glue and build efficient processes that move you towards it every day.
Find the teachers or mentors that will help you to stay focused on your goal and believe in your ability to achieve it. If you don't have a teacher now, you will. You will attract the help you need to achieve your goal by sticking to achieving it at all cost.
If talent is about people who possess natural or innate qualities then realize right now that you already possess these natural qualities. Every golfer has the ability to dream bigger dreams and apply themselves to the task of achieving them.
Be patient, stay the course and believe that you will make it to your goal and somewhere along the way you will run into it.
I think that's what talent really is.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College