We Need to Talk About the Yips

The yips – For some reason, we aren’t supposed to talk about the yips. Golfers act like it’s a contagious condition, but in reality, it’s a problem that lives in our heads. That’s not to say the yips aren’t real, because there are many examples of just how bad it can get. In the worst cases, people who have loved the game for decades choose to quit playing rather than continue through the nightmare of missing every short putt. It may sound like just another scary story but those who suffer through the yips can attest to the terror.

Even the golfers who have overcome the disorder are still affected by its lingering ghost. Such specters are hard to shake. They take hold of your thoughts and divert the putter from its proper path.

It’s not that the hole seems to shrink, instead, what drives people nuts is the cup is right there and they just can’t hit it. For the golfer who can’t afford a therapist, the only way to conquer these mental intrusions is to start over and rebuild confidence from scratch. Often times this means a new grip, putter, or perhaps an entirely different stroke. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there is evidence to support that this infliction can be conquered. Even still, once you have the yips your game is forever changed.

Most golfers who experience this never fully recover — it’s more like finding a way to live and play with the problem. The idea that this troubling trend could return at any time is a haunting one. Like anything else in golf, the yips take work to get through. They may only last a week or stay for a lifetime, but either way, there will most certainly be scar tissue. It’s up to the player to find a proper rehabilitation plan.

Despite the dark feelings that come with the yips, they can be overcome. Should you ever catch a bad case, don’t lose hope. Putt ‘til you learn to do it well again.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

The Escape Artist

Troubled is the existence of an escape artist. Does being excellent from severe lies make you a good player or something else? The golfer who can always find a way out is a special breed. More instinctual than well-trained, this sort of player lives on a strange see-saw. Wayward swings bring many frowns, but the chance to wow both friends and opponents never fails to yield a smile. Whether giving it a whack from the bushes or pitching out of a ditch, the golfer who thinks like a magician always has a chance. Just when you think they’ve played their way out of a hole, they somehow find a way back in. For some golfers, it’s the only way they’ve ever known. Developing the skill needed to get out of jail is a difficult talent to acquire. Watch out for the player who grins when they hit it in the junk. Be careful not to count them out.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

Golf Courses, Both Real and Imagined

Golf is everywhere. Whether I’m on a course in person or only in my mind, the game is always there when I need it. I use golf to sort through whatever challenges are present in my life. Sometimes that’s on the course down the street or on fairways far away, but there are also occasions for which all I have is an old club and some shag balls. In that case, I can make a course come to life just about anywhere. With a little imagination and some desire to make swings, I can conjure up some golf whenever I need it. I’ve found holes to play in forgotten fields and on sandy shores. Through the years, these routings have provided me great relief. Even if all I have is a few minutes to mind my thoughts, these invented golf holes help me find my way. When the opportunity to wander around with a wedge presents itself, I’m quick to disappear. Golf was made for those whose thoughts tend to stray. It provides me a way to channel them in productive ways. If you see me somewhere, walking with a club in hand, just know that I’m not lost. I’m just going through the process of finding my next move. The course, both real and imagined, is always calling. Most times, it takes me exactly where I need to go.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

The Breakfast Ball

Everyone needs a breakfast ball from time to time. That first swing of the day isn’t always kind. It’s good to keep a second pellet nearby when you go straight to the tee box from the car. Despite consuming copious amounts of coffee and going through a quick stretch routine, the results on the first hole can be particularly shaky some mornings. As much as I love the rules, a little flexibility is needed in certain circumstances. Perhaps the night before is having a lingering effect or it could be that you just are running terribly late — whatever the reason for your opening mulligan don’t feel so guilty. Golf is about having fun and it’s no fun to start with a failed attempt. This won’t work for tournaments and such, but for the casual round with friends and other related outings go ahead and take a little liberty. If the first swing is good then start walking, but nobody’s going to bust your chops for taking a second hack. The breakfast ball is just fine.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

The Anguish of a Near Miss

 In putting, it’s the small misses that sting the most. With so many factors in play on every stroke, it’s hard to accept the result that comes painfully close to success. The most frustrating part is that ninety-nine out of one hundred details can be right, but it only takes one small element to keep the ball out of the hole. Despite the anguish of coming so close, the near-miss is a sign of many good things. The best putters have far more close calls than makes, but that constant proximity pays off over time. Putts that hang around the hole can somedays fall in droves. Even still, the ones that don’t drop are tough pills to swallow.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

Becoming a Short Game Wizard

The most important part of golf to practice is the short game. It’s the only element of the sport that can truly save you no matter the situation. Well struck wedges, bunker blasts, and consistently holed putts are the best recipe for lowering scores. It takes time to hone those skills though. Hours must be invested in developing the instincts of a short game wizard. There is no substitute for feel and only one way to find it. Through countless repetitions, a golfer can discover the different ways to make a ball dance. By developing a repertoire of pitch shots, strokes can be saved in a wide variety of ways. The same holds true for creating a confident posture with the putter. Short game gains begin as incremental improvements and then the most impressive results come all at once. After many attempts on the practice green and in play, the value of those reps start to compound. Before you know it, the short game becomes a noticeable weapon in the war against bogey. The better it gets the more you’ll seek to practice.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

A Lot To Smile About

Golf is a great way to find happiness. Even though the game is hard it still brings a smile to thousands of faces each day. Those wide grins are caused by good shots, great friends, and grand memories. The more you play the more you’ll find of each. The popularity of golf is derived from the game’s ability to lend joy to anyone who plays it. Players of every skill level can discover rich and rewarding moments through the sport. The game is tailored to optimists and by attracting such personalities golf helps make the world a more delightful place. Golf is a celebration of the small things that are worth appreciating. Every round is an opportunity to enjoy the blessings we are given. There’s a lot to smile about in life and golf is a fabulous reminder of that. To play the game is to choose to be happy.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

Golf at Sunrise

Golf at sunrise is good for the soul. Taking a long walk through the morning dew helps to set a positive tone for the day. With crisp reminders of the night still lingering, the golf course wakes up to welcome golfers once again. It’s a splendid time to be enjoying the gifts of this game. There is a vibrancy to nature in those early hours. Birds, bugs, and other critters compose a symphony of stirring sounds to signal the start of something new. While the day is young the golf is pure and unbothered. Beginning the day with such a beloved activity makes even the steepest challenges of life feel benign. For those who find their peace through golf, the dawn yields a particularly pleasing variety of the game. Every day brings new possibilities and playing golf is a great way to explore them. There is much to adore about our world and the course we find at daybreak is littered with those reminders. No matter the tasks that lay ahead, some sunrise swings will help keep them in perspective. It’s awfully hard to have a bad day when it begins with golf.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

A Chess Match

A tight golf match can feel like a game of chess. When going head to head, it helps to watch your opponent’s every move. There are signals being sent in the actions a golfer takes during competition. Some moves show confidence while others indicate restraint. It’s smart to keep a keen eye on how your opponent comports themselves during the battle. A golf match is a contest between not only skills but also decision making. The result comes down to who can execute the best strategy. Understanding when to move your pieces and why makes all the difference.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

Golf Talk With Friends

Eighteen holes leaves a lot of time to talk. Especially while on foot. When we play with our most dear companions the conversations tend to delve into all aspects of life. We talk about family, frustrations, and even other friends. There are chats concerning our children, current events, and career trajectory. Some blokes discuss their love life while others prefer the stocks they like to pick. Golf trips and community gossip are always popular topics too. There really isn’t much off the table. When we play with our pals, it’s a chance to both celebrate our joys and unload some baggage. We tell our golf friends all sorts of things because through sharing we discover we aren’t alone in our successes and challenges. It’s good to know others are with us. Step by step and word by word we untangle the thoughts we tend to otherwise keep to ourselves. Perhaps it’s the open space that inspires such sharing. Mostly, it’s just knowing that the golfers you walk with care enough to listen. Having someone hear you out helps more than most like to admit. A tee time is a mutual agreement in that sense. When we play golf we drop our guard. The game makes everyone vulnerable and it’s that common footing that allows these discussions to happen with ease. The shots we make matter, but the talks we have along the way are often what we need more. Golf is a good way to sort out where we stand with each other and there’s a lot of time for conversation between swings.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J