July 18, 2010

Taking Lessons from Louis

Congratulations to Louis Oosthuizen

Champion Golfer of the Year for 2010

Photo courtesy of PGATour.com - Getty Images

While it may not go down as one of the most memorable golf tournaments in British Open history you certainly can't blame South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen for that. He just went out and did what all of the other competitors in the field were hoping to do - hoist the Claret Jug on Sunday evening.

Oosthuizen (pronounced Whoost - Hazen) may not be a household name like Tiger Woods or Tom Watson yet, but just like those two great British Open Champions, his name will be etched on golf's oldest trophy and into immortality after his performance at St. Andrews in Scotland this weekend.

There were some simple lessons we can all learn from little Louis such as:

You only need to worry about yourself - In golf, like life, it's all you can do to focus on your own efforts. You have to play the golf course, not the other players. Much like the Serenity Prayer says, " God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference."

Focus - Each shot in golf requires you to focus on what needs to happen to advance your ball to the proper spot - fairway, green or cup. Your club selection, grip, stance, aim and swing must be perfect to result in a great shot. How much do you focus on the details of your daily life? Where do you lose focus and when you do, how quickly can you get back "in play"?

Take a practice swing - Looking at the shot before you, it helps to "see it happen" in your mind's eye. One way golfers do that is to visualize the shot they want to hit and then take a practice swing that will emulate their desired swing. In real life, do you use visualization for the things you wish to accomplish, helping you "see" things happen before they do? Are you using affirmations helping set the scene in your subconsciousness?

Trust the yardage - The course was there long before you arrived and will be there long after you leave. Don't second guess facts and figures. Find ways to blend what you know with what you have in order to maximize your chances.

Don't take chances - Work hard early in the day so you can possibly build up some room for error. Oosthuizen started the final round with a four shot lead, dropped to within three strokes of his challenger for one hole and then quickly built his lead back to four and eventually 9 strokes with just 5 holes to play. That lead allowed him to relax just a bit and not take silly chances. The final few holes he could just "trust his swing" and...

Enjoy the walk - Take time every day to look around you. If what you do for a living feels like work, you might not be doing it right. Wave to the crowds, tip your hat when you earn a compliment and celebrate the little victories.