Seinfeld was one of the best tv shows off all time. When it aired it was a show that my parents, grandparents and I could relate to and laugh about. George Constanza and his neurotic tendencies made for some great comic moments.During the season finale of season 5, George is at a new low point in his life where everything in his life has gone wrong. He is aimless with no prospects: no jobs, no girlfriend, no apartment. He comes to the realization that every decision he has made has been wrong. Jerry teases him:

George embraces this idea and turns this new philosophy to get a beautiful girlfriend, a job with the Yankees, and moves out of his parent’s house.

What can George Costanza Teach us About Golf?

How can this change in mindset of George help golfers? Think about when your swing goes bad. You continue to swing the same swing and expect change (definition of insanity). Even the results are poor, you stay with the swing because through muscle memory tells you that it feels good to you. The result is wrong and you need to admit you are lost. Hopefully, you break down and see a local pro after the third bad round.

Eveytime I take a lesson there is a period of time where the cure feels wrong. Is it wrong? I am basing the feeling of wrong on what I thought was right but my right resulted in a wicked leaking slice drive. So if it feels wrong to me then it could not be more right and I should believe it.

Remember what Harvey Penick taught us:

If you play poorly one day, forget it.

If you play poorly the next time out, review your fundamentals of grip, stance, and ball position.  Most mistakes are made before the club is swung.

If you play poorly for a third time in a row, go see your professional.

Let go of your feeling of right and wrong.  Let go of your muscle memory.  Go seek professional help.

As your pro offers suggestions, open yourself up to the truth that you are fighting their input because of the teaching law of primacy or the law of recency:

Laws of Learning

One of the pioneers of educational psychology, E.L. Thorndike formulated three laws of learning in the early 20th century.  Among principles in his laws of learning were Primacy and Recency.  From the FAA’s Aviation Instructor Handbook:

  • Primacy: Primacy, the state of being first, often creates a strong, almost unshakable impression and underlies the reason an instructor must teach correctly the first time and the student must learn correctly the first time.
  • Recency The principle of recency states that things most recently learned are best remembered. Conversely, the further a learner is removed in time from a new fact or understanding, the more difficult it is to remember.

You might remember the first golf lesson you ever took and that is why you address the ball you do.  Your first lesson was at age 10 and your body structure has change since then.  You may also be battling against that article you just read in Golf Digest that really doesn’t apply to you and your swing.

Be Like George Costanza

Go into your lesson with an open mind.  Listen to your pro and try, really try what they offer as solutions.  You might say the following after their suggestions:

  • My right hand is rolled to far over to the left.
    • Feels wrong
    • Ball flies right
  • My backswing is too short.
    • Feels wrong
    • Ball flies right
  • The ball is too far back in my stance.
    • Feels wrong
    • Ball flies right

Remember if every instinct you have is wrong and your scorecard hit triple digits and your grumpy demeanor bitters your day on the course, do the opposite and try something new.

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