The learning process

Recently, I took the opportunity to learn golf in Sembawang Country Club which is near to my work place. The entire course would span 8 lessons and cost me $270++. After the 8 lessons, the instructor would continue to guide us, free of charge, if he happens to see us in the driving range. Golf seems to be a company game, and it made sense to learn it.

It has been 5 lessons so far, and it still remains a challenge to get the golfing posture right. If you do not swing it properly, the golf club might be at an angle when it meets the ball, and hence it will go at a diagonal to your intended path. In addition, it will not have the proper momentum to drive the ball far enough. I have been averaging, rather inconsistently, at about 50 -60m, while my colleagues have had better luck. A better word might be skill though.

Just yesterday the coach reminded us how the swing should be, and used a golfing aid to help us correct our swing. I did not manage to get the swing done properly, and he kept reminding and emphasising. I told myself to relax and be mindful of the pointers he gave me: when to cock the hand up, when to release and when to swing and how it follows through. After being mindful of all these issues, I managed to consistently hit the ball at a higher angle and distance. There is much to improve, but this golfing experience has given me much to learn about.

First, learning is like how I learn golf. We have to repeatedly practise, and practise correctly too. We have to remind ourselves how it should be done and where are our shortfalls. We have to do this, else the practise becomes a repetition and the bad habits become rather permanent if we do not consiously change our habits. Through this internal process of reflecting and reminding, we will improve slowly and steadily, and harness the lessons learn to accelerate our growth.

Next, learning has to be done in stages. However after we have learnt the first stage and progress to the next stage, we must be mindful not to forget the initial lessons. Every part of the golf swing must be perfect for the ball to travel in the optimal trajectory and distance.

Finally, we must learn not to give up. It is hard to learn something, especially in its initial months. We are not able to grasp the fundamentals, let alone master the sport. If we expect to be good at something only after a little bit of hard work, then we will be sorely disappointed. The book “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell talks about how people become good at what they do after 10,000 hours of repeatedly practising their craft. 10,000 is an arbitrary number, but you would understand how it works.

Hopefully this golf story would help you understand the lessons within. Practise it and you can change your life.

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