I travel to beautiful Eugene, OR to meet with my Speedgolf mentor and most excellent podcast guest, Christopher Smith!
We had an intense all-day podcasting binge, interspersed with a long run around Eugene, including a stop at the Prefontaine Memorial high above the Willamette River. Christopher is a longtime PGA professional and the all-time king of the great sport of Speedgolf. He holds the official Guinness World Record for the lowest round of Speedgolf, when he shot 65 in 44 minutes at Jackson Park in Chicago in 2005. Yes, this guy can break par in under an hour! Can you? No, because he is the only person in history to do so in official competition. On YouTube, you can witness one of the greatest golf rounds in history, when Christopher shot a four-under par 68 in 53 minutes at the legendary Bandon Dunes course while shooting a promotional video. You can watch the entire round in only a few minutes on this entertaining high-speed video and it will absolutely blow your mind.
Christopher is much more than a Speedgolfer. He is one of the top-100 ranked golf teachers in America and travels the world as a teacher/consultant for both the PGA of America and Nike Golf. Christopher gets to beta-test the coolest shoes before anyone, and yes Nike is coming out with a Speedgolf shoe (Sssshhhh)! He is also a lifelong student of health and peak performance, with a particular interest in the psychology of optimal training and competition.
This first podcast covers many thoughtful topics about how to overcome fears, manage emotions, ask the right questions, and pursue true peak performance. Christopher is a passionate guy with an evolved perspective, and he has no problem calling out the many examples of bullshit in hectic modern life, whether it’s overhyped and misdirected golf instruction or the forces of consumerism that disconnect us from our appreciation of the natural and simple pleasures of life….such as his 22.5 year old cat whom he cares for intently. Golf is understandably the backdrop for Christopher’s philosophical observations, but his message applies to any and all peak performance ambitions in daily life. Sign up for his newsletter at ChristopherSmithGolf.com and you’ll see that’s is far more weighted toward life lessons than optimizing your swing plane.
Christopher calls his teaching method, Train2Trust. Accordingly, you will get exposed on this show to topics like: More is not better, working smarter and more intently is better. Whatever you are doing, ask yourself, “are you getting better?” Maybe it’s because you are comfortable with the status quo and fear the unknown. Sports psychologists talk about thinking positive and so forth, but Christopher asserts that thoughts are triggered by emotions, and we must reprogram ourselves from an emotional standpoint to achieve real breakthroughs. He quotes a favorite book, “We are feeling creatures who think, not the other way around.”
The most profound takeaway from Christopher’s approach is that for practice to be effective, you must have what he calls context specificity. Say that three times quickly so you never forget it! This means practice must resemble your competitive circumstances or your learning literally will not transfer over to a competitive environment. The concept of sinking ten short putts in a row on the practice queen is not very relevant to sinking a short putt on 18 to win the big bucks. Yes, you have to hone technique in practice so it becomes automatic (Christopher says you can do this very effectively in front of a mirror at home—don’t even need a club!), but you have to simulate competitive pressure in practice for maximum impact. For example, hitting a drive on the practice tee, walking around the parking lot, returning to hit a 6-iron, then walking over to the practice green and stroking a long putt, then a short putt, as if you were playing an actual hole.
Context specificity is a vastly more profound concept than my aforementioned breezy example. Functional MRI studies reveal that different parts of the brain light up when you are on the practice green versus trying to make a putt under pressure. Maybe this sounds familiar if you practice your presentation in front of a mirror and then feel a little different when you are called to the podium in a packed lecture hall! Furthering this concept, functional MRIs show profound changes in brain chemistry for people who are asked to go from an angry state to list things they are grateful for. If you get a triple bogey on the golf course or something similar in daily life, express some gratitude and you will calm down!
Regarding emotions, Christopher suggests that even anger is okay if it energizes you, but if your emotions weaken you then it’s time to do some hard work rewiring. This is a show of deep content that will really get you thinking, and with more coming in part two!
Christopher talks about his road to recovery from hip replacement surgery. [07:01]
Some of us hit a point in our life where we think maybe what we’re doing is not working. [08:52]
Know the importance of rest. [10:46]
We all need a bit of humbling once in a while. [12:29]
Has Tiger evolved into a more likable person? [15:32]
At the end of the day, put your head on the pillow and ask yourself if you did something meaningful. [20:47]
Deepak Chopra calls our addiction to screens a collective narcissism and dysfunction. [21:36]
Less is better. [23:09]
When the golf ball doesn’t go where you want it to, it is not its fault! [24:13]
These two world record holders describe their feat. [26:30]
Do you have time and energy to waste? [29:06]
Tiger Woods plays his sport without fear. [31:33]
You have to reprogram things from an emotional standpoint, not from a thought standpoint. [35:24]
There are many “experts” out there with little experience. [38:14]
The more the activity or the practice you are doing resembles exactly what it is you are going to be doing, the more it will transfer and last. [42:04]
Most people practice golf the wrong way. [47:02]
At the driving range, after a bad shot, you can learn a post shot routine rather than banging on another ball. [53:44]
Self-talk? If people you were playing with talk to you the way you talk to yourself, there’d be fights on the course. [57:18]
Doubt is a killer. [01:06:01]
We are actually wired to succeed, improvise, and solve problems. [01:09:02]
- Christopher Smith
- Christopher Smith Bandon Dunes Speedgolf
- Essentialism: book
- My Stroke of Insight: book
- 99 Swing Thoughts: book
- Dr. Debbie Cruz
- “A temper tantrum on the golf course is someone acting like they think they’re better than they are?”
- “What is the quality of all the time that you’re putting in? Is it high quality? Or is it just a big quantity?”
- “We are feeling creatures who think, not thinking creatures who feel.”
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad: 00:00:08 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author and athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit, and happy in hectic, high-stress, modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go
Brad: 00:03:03 It’s Brad pleased to introduce my show with Christopher Smith. The all time greatest speed golfer, greatest sport, greatest speed Golfer, super interesting guy. I traveled many miles by plane, train and bus and taxi to reach Christopher at his new hood of Eugene, Oregon, his hometown as well, coming back home with his 22 and a half year old cat and boy did we have a wonderful action packed day where we binged on three tremendous podcast recordings. This is the first of them. We did a beautiful long run around the city of Eugene. Went to the Prefontaine Memorial, a guy who is near and dear to our hearts because he was a rebel. He stood for something and Christopher, same thing, man. You know what? This guy’s a rebel. He stands for something. He’s not afraid to speak his mind. He’s not afraid to be contrarian and he has very sharp and informative opinions about peak performance, healthy living and especially golf instruction in golf performance.
Brad: 00:04:07 So you’re going to hear a lot of golf referencing throughout all three of the shows. The last show was dedicated to speed golf, but these first two are about just peak performance in general. Christopher’s up on all the latest brain science and has some progressive concepts that he conveys to uh, students, uh, in his book, in his teachings and his wonderful, uh, frequent newsletter that you can sign up for it, Christopher smith.com. Uh, one of his key tenants is something called context specificity. And this means that you have to strive to equate your practice sessions with what you will face under competitive circumstances. We do a horrible job at this. We practice making ten three foot putts in a row on the practice green and then can’t believe that we choke on the 18th hole when we have a three footer to win $10 against our friends.
Brad: 00:05:00 So Christopher gets into the details of brain science. We flow through a very fast moving show. I give the necessary props to his remarkable speed golf round that you can see on youtube. If you type in Christopher Smith speed golf Bandon dunes, where he turned in one of the greatest rounds of golf of all time, in my opinion, for the benefit of a camera crew shooting a promotional video under that kind of pressure, he shot a 68 at the championship Bandon Dunes golf course, one of the top rated courses in the entire world. No funny business, a very tough course. He shot 68 that’s four under par in 53 minutes running at a brisk pace throughout the round with only a handful of clubs and you can see it all because they had this really cool high speed video. So if you give three minutes of your life to see one of the greatest athletic performances I’ve ever seen, you will get to know this guy a little bit and enjoy this fabulous show.
Brad: 00:06:01 Christopher Smith in Eugene, Oregon, talking about context specificity, rewiring your emotions and other fun stuff of interest to peak performers in any area of life. Brad Kearns here in Eugene with Christopher Smith getting over ourselves. Thank you for coming to your house to do the show. Happy to have you here, my friend and we already had a great morning. We did an entire tour, one of the longest runs either of us have done in a long time, mutually inspiring each other to jog around town at a very slow pace, including that tour of Prefontaine Memorial where he died in 1975 at the top of his game. Great Young Olympic runner for America stood for so many great ideals and that was cool. A little experience that go visit him, right, right up the hill from your hood.
Christopher: 00:06:53 Yeah, that was fun. It a little up, little down little couple of little sprints and walking some dialogue. What a morning
Brad: 00:07:01 And you’re on the road to recovery. I can see from that sprint at the end, uh, from your hip surgery, the common affliction today for these old athletes having to go get a new hip. But how’s the whole come back going?
Christopher: 00:07:16 Yeah, it’s been great. I’m a little over two years out from a full hip replacement, which I’m thankful and grateful for. I can only imagine 50 to 100 years ago, I’d still be hobbling around and dragging that leg behind me. And um, yeah, 20 meters sprint. I’m pretty good. Um,
Brad: 00:07:34 So unbeatable and 20 meters. Well, you and I talk a lot, a offline emailing phone conversations on this quest to uh, preserve health, pursue peak performance, uh, hit that goal of longevity as well. But it’s a really delicate balance and I know you’re like going through a detox right now, a protocol with a zillion supplements in your kitchen. So, you know, we’re both around the same age. We’re, we’re in the 50 plus category and a lot of things have changed. I’m kind of transitioning to this from talking about your hip replacement, which came on the heels of amazing career here as the number one speed golfer and just performing these great feats and going all around a tournament and getting the most out of your body and pushing and challenging yourself. And now we kind of have this wake up call where it’s like, okay, um, we were talking about the Tommy Wood show where he made this incredible proclamation that most of our athletic goals today are entirely modern constructs that have nothing to do with our genetic expectation for health. And in many cases we’re exercising six times the traditional human load that a hunter-gatherer might’ve done in a day. So I think you’ve, you’ve had those years of experience behind you. What are some of your reflections and what are you doing now to, uh, to stay healthy and maybe transition to the next chapters?
Christopher: 00:08:53 Yeah. Well, to your point, I, we, we’ve all gotten into this idea of more and more and more, whether it’s in working out, whether it’s in working, whether it’s in making money. Uh, and then we hit a point in our life where we realize maybe it’s not working, maybe I need to do something differently. And, uh, whether that’s physically or emotionally from a lifestyle standpoint, uh, like you, I know Brad, we’ve talked about this a lot, you know, for years and years and years, it was just more and more and got to do this, this today and x amount of miles this week. And if I don’t, I’m going to fall behind. And then at some point in time, enough is enough. So whether it’s physiologically or biochemically or physically or emotionally, mentally, uh, we get zapped. And, um, I guess in some form it’s, it’s a way of hitting rock bottom.
Christopher: 00:09:52 Uh, we saw this past weekend at the open championship, how, uh, a guy who had hit rock bottom and many aspects, tiger woods was a very competitive once again. So sometimes we need to hit that bottom in order to have a bit of a wake up call and say, Hey, what do, how do I need to live now? Uh, how do I need to train now? How do I need to eat now because it’s ever evolving. And it’s certainly what I preach as a, as a coach and instructor to my students in the sport of golf is really the key is to adapt and adjust to where you’re at this day and this moment in time. So rather than getting stuck in the past or this is what I used to do and
Brad: 00:10:31 This is what works, should still work. I ran this, this workout when I was at U of O. I did 1,203 minutes of five-mile tempo run in the neighborhood and back for another 1200 like we were talking about. So let’s try that today or not.
Christopher: 00:10:46 Yeah. So I think the challenge with us all is we go through life, uh, you know, you can, we can call it aging are evolving or maturing is to be a little bit more aware of where we’re at. Uh, listen to ourselves, listen to our body. I think we’ve gotten so disconnected from what our mind and our body really want, want to tell us to do, which may very well be less. You know, I’ve talked a lot about this, you know, the idea of, of rest and recovery, uh, in order to perform it at ones highest. And ironically, we’re sitting here in the, literally in the backyard of the Great University of Oregon Track and Field coach Bill Bowerman, who is one of his three tenants of better performance in the top three was this thing called rest. And if you were sick or injured as a Bowerman athlete and he caught you doing anything when he had asked you to rest, that means not even walking around the block.
Christopher: 00:11:43 You were, you were toast. Uh, you either kicked off the team or you would be severely reprimanded because he knew the importance of, of rest as opposed to go, go, go more and more and more. Uh, you, you can sleep when you’re dead. We talked about that earlier this morning. When people that don’t sleep because they’re working so much, they are actually going to die sooner. So if you want to die sooner, then go ahead and just keep working more and more and more. But then again, that raises the question. I see this with people in their golf practice, uh, what is the quality of all the time that you’re putting in? Is it a high quality? Or is it just a big quantity? Uh, so those are some things that we all need to look at. And I know I certainly have myself the last the last few years.
Brad: 00:12:29 Yeah. You do a great job with your newsletter Christopher Smith golf.com, right? It’s sign up for the newsletter and you, you are a lot of times trying these parallels obviously starting from the starting point of golf because that’s your, that’s your thing. That’s where you’re the teacher. Um, but making that parallel to, uh, do you bring that mindset to the workplace as well, where more is better. And if you could just get some more income, the promotion, buy some more stuff that might make you feel happier and how those juxtapose to a shitty attitude on the golf course where you’re unhappy because you shot a 96 instead of your usual 89. And so your entire opportunity for a walk in the park and the communion with nature and all these, these lines that this golf pros writing in his newsletter, uh, for people to reflect upon. I mean, it’s like a constant reminder every week to recalibrate you and reset you and say, hey, you know, you’re out here hanging out in a beautiful natural setting and being able to, you know, make the athletic move of swinging and hitting a white ball. So what, why are you frowning? You suck. Anyway, I’ll, I’ll add that most golfers are out there thinking, oh, did you tell me that, uh, a temper tantrum on the golf course is someone acting like they think they’re better than they are?
Christopher: 00:13:42 MMM. I think that’s often the case. And for whatever reason, golf certainly draws the the inner person out of individuals, regardless of, you know, one of the beauties of this sport I guess like with many, but even more so with golf is, you know, you can’t hide in the golf ball, doesn’t care who you are, how much money you make, what kind of car you drive, where you’re from. Uh, it will humble you and, uh, we all more often than not need a little bit of humbling in what we do. And it’s interesting too, I know in the, uh, director of instruction at the wonderful Eugene Country Club here in Eugene, Oregon back in my hometown, and, uh, nonetheless, even in this, in this beautiful environment, in this beautiful setting, there are people that show up every day that are miserable. For some reason, it could be the status of their golf game. They’re looking to complain about something. So I’ve now printed out these one way tickets to Syria for these people. So when they complain about how bad it is and they’re playing a remarkable golf course and 75 degree weather, perfect conditions, uh, I th I think we all need to take a step back and realize how good we have it, especially if you’re actually playing golf as opposed to working in a, I dunno, it could be in a coal mine or you could be doing so many other things that sometimes we just don’t appreciate it. I can certainly speak for that with my own running and athleticism where, you know, for so many years I took for granted that I could just plop my shoes on like we did today, Brad, and just go out for a run. And then when it got taken away from me due to injury, uh, now I really appreciate and relish and show gratitude for being able just to do what we did today at any pace, uh, for any amount of time. And we lose that when everything’s just given to us.
Brad: 00:15:32 So what about Tiger when he got a cameo in the show? And I wonder if he’s experienced some sort of transformation from hitting that rock bottom for all the world to see, which may or may not be more profoundly impactful then, uh, the average Joe who just had to file for bankruptcy or lost a loved one or whatever adverse happenings have come, have come forth. I think, you know, we all have the perception we can, we can make it as bad as, um, as bad as we want. Right. Or we can just kinda go with the flow and, and live and acceptance. But it seems like from watching him give interviews and be a little more patient and a little more wistful with his comments, maybe he’s, uh, gone into the next chapter and has, has a little more refresh perspective.
Christopher: 00:16:21 Yeah. It makes one wonder I’m a little closer to it than most, as you are Brad, with some of the research and the people, you know, that had been part of, of him and his life. And I of course, been affiliated with Nike and Nike Golf for the last two decades. For over 20 years. So, uh, a little, uh, sometimes privy to more information and insight than some, and I think it legitimately even surprises Tiger to some extent that he’s able to do physically what he’s doing. I honestly believe that after the fusion surgery that he had recently, his major goal, uh, with that surgery was to be able to physically play with his kids. That’s it. So is this a bonus? Yes. Uh, are there, are there remnants of who he is as a person and a golfer when he’s still out there? Absolutely. Uh, he didn’t get to the level that he still is at or was at as a golfer without having certain traits and characteristics and selfishness and attitudes, uh, wherever they may have come from and it, and it certainly doesn’t speak to too many of the, the spectators or the fans out there. Um, however, you know, Tiger, like so many people we admire, I tell people this all the time, you don’t have to like him as a human being. We like what he does. So there’s some of
Brad: 00:17:40 He’s not your kids’ fourth grade teacher who was trained to, or soccer coach for that matter. So yeah, take, take what you can. I mean we’re, we’re taking from our public figures at all times. We’re just sucking them dry and, and we want whatever we want for them, including an autograph, which they don’t know anybody that, I mean, I, I for sure have no problem with a guy walking past a bunch of little kids waving their, uh, their souvenir and then they can go, you know, the, the father usually will be the one walking away disgusted and, and criticizing the athlete.
Christopher: 00:18:12 Yeah, for sure. I think we need to realize that, you know, we like people for what they do. Do we really know? Anybody says, well, I don’t like so and so. And I said, well, have you ever met him? Oh No. So you mean you like what they do? Are you like what they don’t do, but you don’t know them as a person? Not, not everybody out there is the Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa. So those are perhaps role models as human beings, but we can admire people for their art, whether it’s a golfer or a musician or a scientist, uh, without, they may not be the best of human beings. We all have a lot of evolving to do on that front. And hopefully we’re moving in that direction. But we can appreciate and admire someone for, uh, their skill that they have, especially in something like golf. So if there’s any golfers listening to this, any, anyone that’s ever, you know, put the ball on a peg, so to speak, and relate to the difficulty and the challenges of this game and appreciate then somebody who does it at a high level.
Brad: 00:19:11 Yeah. And conversely, like there’s, there’s like a, a, a secret rumor in the, in the golf insiders that Phil Mickelson is a real jerk in real life. And, uh, I’ve heard this criticism come from people that work in the golf industry and liking to gossip about him because, oh, he’s so phony and he’s so fake. And, but like all I’ve done is watch that guy for the last couple of decades, give these incredibly thoughtful and patient interviews. He’s known to stand there at the golf course and sign autographs until the last kid is gone and take two hours after around. Good or bad to do that. And he’s also known to be a huge tipper where he gives the guy in the locker room a hundred bucks. So if, if it’s quote unquote true that he’s a real jerk behind closed doors, I don’t care cause he’s not my, he’s not my bowling buddy. And I think he’s a fantastic for what he does to the public and build and grow the game of golf.
Christopher: 00:20:03 Yeah. Again, there’s what we, what we see and what we perceive and then what’s actually going on. So you can hide from a lot of things. You can’t hide from yourself as, as you know. And that’s again, something that, that the game of golf brings out. And, um, I think with social media and media in general, now there’s nothing that’s, you know, we see everything now. We see in here everything, whether it’s true or not, whether it’s fake, whatever you want to call it. Um, but at the end of the day, you know, when you go to put your head on your pillow, you, you know what kind of person you are. You know what you’ve done.
Brad: 00:20:38 I’ve gained 3000 followers today, with my fake social media postings exactly. You know, are you,
Christopher: 00:20:43 Do you feel better about that or did you? .
Brad: 00:20:46 Hell yeah.
Christopher: 00:20:47 You might wait. Yeah. Oh Wow. When I wake up the next morning or you know, I go to bed at night, I don’t actually feel any more content. Or did you make a difference? Heaven forbid you made a difference in somebody’s life today, something somehow. Did you do something meaningful for someone other than you? You know, I think the, uh, the younger crowd in this day and age, in this day and age, there’s, there’s just a spread of narcissism where, okay, yeah, you want to do better and you want to climb and you want to grow and get through your, you know, get to that top rung on the corporate ladder or get better at golf. Okay, great. So other than you who, who is that benefiting? And so if he’s really don’t have a good answer to that question, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate, you know, take a little step off the tee box and ask yourself some deeper questions
Brad: 00:21:36 That’s going to be requiring a seven second pause in the recording for all of us to reflect upon that. Okay. That’s my lesson, man. You got the point. And speaking of speaking of compressing time, I feel like we’re so busy and so overwhelmed and overstimulated with information that we truly do not have time to reflect on these bigger pictures. So we just walk around in a daze of information onslaught such that when we go to sleep and our head hits the pillow, like that metaphoric, uh, suggestion you just offered a, we’re not thinking about that. We’re holding onto a digital device. I’m looking and seeing how many more likes we got or whatever the, the idea is, and we, we’d never paused to reflect upon that. Deepak Chopra called it today, this movement today to a collective narcissism and dysfunction. And he feels like that the planet is in peril because of this, because we have world leaders not saying any names. This is not a political show. But we have world leaders who are representing that to the most incredibly obnoxious degree that we’ve ever seen. And so when that happens, um, we can, we can put ourselves in parallel, but he said in the next breath that, uh, as the collective consciousness builds, as we listen to podcasts like this one and give us pause for reflection, whether we’re on the golf course or not, we have some hope that we can turn things around and strive for peace and these higher ideals that we’ve forgotten in the rat race.
Christopher: 00:23:09 Yeah, Amen. Deepak and, uh, you know, heaven forbid people did continue to do less instead of more. How about less and better? Why is it always more and more and more and crappier and crappier and crappier, you know, less but better. I stole that from the fabulous book, Essentialism. If a show notes and other link to put in there. There you go. Thanks mom. Uh, I think it’s incredibly relevant. I use it a lot in my own golf instruction with, uh, because what all this information does too, Brad, is it creates confusion, right? We live in a land of confusion. Do this, do so and so’s told me to do this. And I saw this on the golf channel in my world, we used to have golf magazine, Golf Digest. Now we have the golf fix, we have online instruction, golf channel. People are just so confused with, um, you know, at the end of the day, and this is another take from, uh, from the book we just mentioned, but there are vital few and trivial many and we are getting buried by the trivial many things to do.
Speaker 4: 00:24:13 So often my job is more, uh, uh, guide, a shepherd. Not to get too biblical here, but you know, as I tell him, I golfing people, the original golfers, we just finished the open championship, were drunk and Scottish shepherds wacking stones around with sticks. So, and they were, so they were guides by trade. So what, what we all can do if we have an expertise in something is I just serve as a guide. Let’s, let’s kind of get through all the trivial, you know, many what’s really important. And then like we talked about just a few minutes ago, what’s the cause of, as I like to call it, your golf ball. In my professional world, what is the cause of your golf ball not behaving the way you want it to, meaning, oh, it’s going to much to the left too much. The right, it’s not going far enough.
Christopher: 00:25:01 Whatever it might be. So what’s causing it and more often than not, the cause of this, this dysfunctional behavior in your golf ball is something you do before you swing. So it’s a lack of proper mental, emotional and physical preparation. And then we just go into it hoping, you know, I tell people all the time, there is no faith healing in golf. You just going to hope that the ball goes, it goes better on the next one. Or do you have a plan? You’re in charge. And I think people have forgotten that too. They want somebody else to be in charge. They want some supposed expert. Uh
Brad: 00:25:34 Right. They want to outsource the the hard work. Absolutely. Grab for the lowest hanging fruit of you’re going to get 10 yards if you buy this new driver. Sure.
Christopher: 00:25:44 It’s, it’s again, we live in a time of instant gratification.
Brad: 00:25:48 Hey baby, we should make a driver with some pills that you, you did, they’re hanging in a bag off the grip. So if you take these pills that you won’t have any pain, you’ll have more energy and then you’ll hit it 10 yards further with the driver. It’d be an awesome c ombo.
Christopher: 00:26:00 Yeah, we do an ad that’s a minute long and 50 seconds of that Ad. We talk about the side effects of the pills that you take, the hit the ball farther. Another, never mind that they would probably kill you within the first week. So again, you know what, what’s in it plus anything you’ve really done that’s been worthwhile. Has it been quick? Like was it a lottery deal? No, it’s taken hard work and you know what hard work is. It’s hard. Okay. But there’s also smart work. And again, this is something I see in my realm, whether it’s in the speed golf realm, whether it’s in the, which, by the way, Mister Kearns has not mentioned this, but I am now speaking to, we could flip flop the interview here to The Guinness World record holder for the fastest hole, just one hole. Okay. Minimum 500 yards. We have to put that, you know, it wasn’t a 43 yard hole. Okay. Uh, fastest hole Golf ever. Brad Kearns. That means
Brad: 00:26:53 Thanks for having me in your house on your show. So we’ve got two Guinness World record holders here in the same little space here. Figured it’s, it’s, I mean the, the 22 year old cat has got a new burst of energy and she’s going around hunting mice. Um, so your official world record, uh, was that 65, is that right? In Chicago. So this guy fired to 65. How many under par on that course?
Christopher: 00:27:18 Yeah. So 2000. Wow. 2006 Jackson Park Golf Course on the east side of Chicago. For those of you that are familiar with that area, a 65 in 44 minutes carrying six clubs, uh, is still the standing Guinness World record on a short flat golf course. And your world record, Brad?
Brad: 00:27:40 Oh, that was the only June 1st, 2018. So I’m still, I’m still riding that wave man, the Paparazzi, they’re putting me in first class on southwest just because of that. And they’re like, excuse me, sir, you can come to, you can come to the B1 thru 30 section instead of the B30 thru 60.
Christopher: 00:27:57 Beautiful. And back to those things again,
Brad: 00:27:59 after that commercial from the speed golf authorities of the world, we’re going back to the important stuff about, I love that concept. Doing smart work. Uh, instead of just the volume. And again, the analogy from the golf course and the golf practice range to your workplace. And the thing that really excites me is that connection that you can make between your behavior, uh, in an athletic arena where I think the, the exposure is more dramatic in graphic. Then walking through the halls of a workplace and seeing people in their cubicles and wondering who’s efficient, who’s got self limiting beliefs, who’s a real peak performer that that takes off at 4:00 PM instead of 5:15 even though they’ve, and they’ve done more work than everybody else or been more productive. And then on the golf course you have these wonderful concepts like context specificity, nicely working on my annunciation. So I just teed you up for about 12 minutes of content. I’m going to go do some pushups and some deep breathing with the Wim Hof method and the other room that you’re a big advocate of. Yeah. Tell us about that whole, that whole operation where I guess you call it altered golf.
Speaker 4: 00:29:06 Hmm. Well, I often ask people in, in this busy day and age if they do have time and energy to waste, because that’s what I see a lot when people go to practice their golf.
Brad: 00:29:18 Say that again. You ask them what?
Christopher: 00:29:20 It’s a simple question do you have time and money and energy to waste? Because if you do a, that’s great. First of all, I’d like to know what you’re doing because if you do have that time and money and energy to waste, I’d like to jump on your bandwagon bandwagon. But most people say, no I don’t. So then I asked them, why are you practicing in the way that you are? And more importantly, I’m about as open as it gets when it comes to how to get better at golf and how to enjoy a golf and what individuals need to do. Because I could go on for days about the different ways in which great performers in the sport of golf specifically have trained. It’s all over the map, all over the board, just like how they hold the club and how they swing. Yet we all want to think there’s one way to do things.
Christopher: 00:30:04 There’s one God, there’s one religion, there’s one diet. Let’s all do it. Okay, well what will happen? Some people will die and some people will prosper. And so, uh, as far as what I see frequently, and this is another question I ask, is what you’re doing? Are you getting better the way you’re practicing and you’re going about your golf or your life? Are you getting better? Are you evolving? Are you becoming a better human being and a better golfer? If the answer is yes, which it is sometimes, then I tell people how the power to your brothers and sisters keep doing what you’re doing. It is working for you. However, more often than not, and the answer is no. And so I asked, well, what are you doing? Let’s look at it. Okay? So if it’s not working, then you need to change. And what people like to do is they get stuck in what they know.
Christopher: 00:30:54 Why? Because we know that the mind and the brain, it likes the known. It does not like the unknown. So even if the known, let’s say it’s a way you swing or the way you go about your life, it’s a lifestyle thing. It doesn’t really work for you or not very healthy. You’re not very happy. You’re angry, you’re bitter. Uh, you’re a crappy golfer, but the mind will always migrate to what it knows as this is your life.
Brad: 00:31:21 This is your miserable suck ass life as opposed to another shitty commute. Uh, sure work. And then they then the shitty practice session on the range before you tee off with their playing partners that you don’t like.
Christopher: 00:31:33 Correct. So what’s the alternative? The unknown. Now, what does that elicit in us all? This creates, in my opinion, most of the issues in the world, it’ll elicits fear. The mind does not like the unknown because it doesn’t know what’s going to happen. It’s afraid. So we had this conversation this morning back to the, uh, the one and only Tiger Woods, who in my humble opinion, is the greatest player ever
Brad: 00:32:01 Greatest athlete, in my opinion.
Christopher: 00:32:02 Unbelievable. Any sport, whether you like him or not as a human being. And most of the listeners have never met him or spend any time with them. I will tell you this, and I noticed this in the last round, the open championship where I watched every one of his swings. He plays the game without fear. So every single listener you tell me whether you’re a golfer or whatever it is you do. Do you go through your day and your life without fear? Now, when you play without fear, is there risk? Yes. We know Tiger likes to take risks and he has in the past will you always succeed?
Christopher: 00:32:34 No, but if you don’t try, then you won’t ever know. So I commend him 110% for playing the way he does without fear. Now, that’s exactly what the mind doesn’t like. It’s afraid of that because the unknown, potentially it could be worse than the known, which is why, in my opinion, again, you have to hit rock bottom. Like what have I got to lose? You know when I have my golf for golfers come to me that are either horrible or they’re brand new golfers, they have less fear than you and me. For example, Brad, why? Because they got nothing to lose. They suck. Okay? They’re, they’re below the rocks that are on the rock bottom. Right? So they’re more open to try things. They have the same kind of amount, if you will. A fearlessness as a tiger woods, but imagine you’re at his level, arguably, we don’t have to argue. We could have dialogue about it. Okay. Well, arguably the greatest player of all time, yet he plays without fear. How cool is that?
Brad: 00:33:34 I’m imagining myself at his level like you asked me. Okay. You know, it feels good. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I had Dave Rossi on the podcast, this leadership retreat guy with a really great message that he’s communicates with, with great clarity. And he says, anytime you experience fear or anxiety, the first step is to acknowledge it and acknowledge that it’s just a thought or an emotion on the golf course. You’re afraid of the water, whatever. First to acknowledge it, and then you redirect your thoughts to your vision and your values. So it seems like ever since he said this to me a few months ago, um, and I’ve come up with fears and anxieties about my career and about, uh, the starting a new podcast or trying something new in my exercise regimen or who knows what it’s saying. Something that it takes a lot of courage to come up and face a difficult conversation. Uh, but if you can redirect that to say, you know, what are my values? What’s my vision? And if you want to make the example of golf, you’re out there to compete and hit the best shot you possibly can, and it puts you right back into that winning competitive mindset, which you have studied so much and tried to encapsulate and describe in your emails and in your teaching.
Christopher: 00:34:52 For sure. The only challenge there that I’ve found and others have found in this gets a little bit into the neuroscience of it, Brad, is I do fully agree that I believe thoughts are triggered by emotions. And I do not. Hence, let’s get to the root cause like we talked about, you know, why does my ball slice, uh, why am I diagnosed with adrenal deficiency? Well, that’s not really the bottom line. It’s not the cause of it. So through mental discipline, can you change these thoughts? I don’t believe so. And I’ve seen it time and time again. I think you have to reprogram things from an emotional standpoint, not from a thought standpoint. So if we can react and have these emotions which have all the time, can those be rewired, creating technically new neural pathways so that w in times of stress or fear or anxiety, we have a different reality.
Brad: 00:35:51 What’s your book that you’re referencing a, that you had me read or was it, uh, Guadagnoli are another one where they were talking about this subject of reprogramming, especially those stored emotional memories that are lingering in your body and causing, causing damage and suffering?
Christopher: 00:36:06 Yeah. Uh, there’s, there’s many, not, not just sports related, but other related. Um, the, uh, one of the pieces that always comes to mind, and this is an I cannot, uh, her name is slipping me right now, but the, uh, the wonderful book written by the neuroscience scientist, excuse me, My Stroke of Insight. Uh, her name will come to me and it’s on the tip of my brain. But anyway, she states in fact like this is a woman, iit’ll pop in soon who basically suffered a stroke. She lost the entire left side, the use of the left side of her brain. And since she understood scientifically what was happening, it’s a fascinating book, a Ted Talk Obviously, and then book, but she states emphatically that we are at the end of the day, we are feeling creatures who think we are not thinking creatures who feel this is a biological truth. And so when we try to overwhelm and, and gear things towards using mental discipline and thoughts, uh, it often for, uh, often as not very effective. And I think if people realize that, and if they can reprogram, uh, their, uh, their emotions so that whatever happens, the trigger is different. Uh, it, it can create a different, uh, a different result, if you will. And there’s certainly a lot of emotions out on the golf course.
Brad: 00:37:37 How do you do that, man?
Christopher: 00:37:39 Uh, the author, by the way, I knew it would come in a split second is Jill Bolte Taylor. And her book has been out for many years now,
Brad: 00:37:46 You pointed me to her Ted Talk.
Christopher: 00:37:49 Ted Talk. Yeah. Phenomenal. Uh, uh, she actually brings a, uh, it’s not alive because there’s no person in it. She brings an actual brain onto the stage. She does her ted talk, which is awesome.
Brad: 00:38:00 See, very, very lifelike.
Christopher: 00:38:02 It’s incredible.
Brad: 00:38:02 Sits in the palm of her hand. I think she just whipped it out and there was a little gasp from the crowd. It was pretty cool. It just taking it apart. This is there, this lobe fits right here. If I do this, like Steve Martin and the, uh, the old movie,
Christopher: 00:38:14 It’s beautiful. And so, uh, coming from someone who, I’m a big believer in my world, back to the confusion that there is in golf and golf training, golf practice, how to get better, uh, like, and Brad’s world, like in a lot of the things we see now, there’s a lot of supposed experts out there that have really shaky data. Really not, they call it science, but it’s not. And they have no experience. Okay. In my opinion, you have not learned something until you have experienced it. Even the, the announcers we here on, on, you know, the telecast for golf and other, uh, the individual that that had been there, whether you like them or not, they may not be incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to technique and what’s actually happening in the golf swing. But they’ve been there. That’s very powerful for me. And so when I can find a combination of legitimate science and research and data and the experience, uh, that’s a mighty cocktail and those are people that I will open my ears to. Unfortunately,
Brad: 00:39:14 Maybe two people that
Christopher: 00:39:16 There might be two
Brad: 00:39:17 Laird Hamilton has been in the, in the waves, but he, it’s not citing brain research and stuff, but you got to listen to what he says, record it and then take notes and go look for scientific references for what he just said.
Christopher: 00:39:30 Correct.
Brad: 00:39:30 Same with the, some of these top athletes who, you know, they don’t make great coaches. They always say, cause these guys just went with the flow. You know, Magic’s not going to be able to teach someone how to make those passes. But I guess he can sign Lebron James. So he’s doing something right.
Christopher: 00:39:44 He’s doing something right there. So I think those are questions that we need to ask and we see this more and more, uh, whether it be in, heaven forbid podcasts, anything, anybody in their proverbial dog now can promote in, put things out there so that we can all see them via social media, via whatever. And so us, the impressionable, vulnerable human beings, uh, many of which play golf. We’re very open and I do appreciate people’s openness, but you must always, always, always consider the source. What is the person’s background? What is their experience? What sort of studies? I learned my lesson the hard way with that study says blah, blah, blah. It’s kind of like the old pal, you know, the old game show survey says blah, blah, blah. Did anybody bother to actually order this study that’s being mentioned, that’s being referenced and read the study? Because many people would be shocked if they did read this study about how assinine the actual study or the test was to get these results.
Christopher: 00:40:49 And often they’re biased. We won’t have to look at the pharmaceutical realm to see that they’re biased so that somebody can make some money. And it’s certainly happening even as we speak currently in the golf realm on social media where somebody’s come up with the latest and greatest, you know, swing methods, swing model, they’re posting 29 times a day with all their students. Now remember, people remember only post things on social media, people if in in golf instructor realm, when your students play well and they win things. And if you’re in a really nice place, vacationing, don’t ever post anything where your student just shot a million, uh, or you’re having a really shitty day.
Brad: 00:41:31 Slow day at the range at Eugene Club, weather 44 and raining, have a great February. You guys, here’s Christopher,
Christopher: 00:41:38 leaning on a six iron in a freezing day in January. So I get it. I just don’t, uh, morally, uh, I just don’t, I don’t want to go there anymore and I actually feel quite good about it. So, uh, but to the, to the listeners out there, you do really have to, and I do a lot of this….weed through, all right, what’s this person’s background? You know, where are they coming from? What are they actually preaching? What’s their education? What’s their experience?
Christopher: 00:42:04 So a lot of what I said, well, what do I preach so to speak? And um, back to this context specificity, which is a big part of my, my program to help people practice. I would just say more effectively practice better is called train to trust, which I did trademark a few years ago, luckily because everybody’s all over it, you know, not really, but there certain building blocks, uh, similar to dare I say, and I say this with great humility, uh, John Wooden’s pyramid of success, but it was built on certain things. And one of the pieces, one of the building blocks, one of the tenants of train to trust is something called “context specificity.” And Brad’s pronunciations getting much better. We’ll get his heart rate really high in a few minutes and see if he can say it three times in a row fast. Anyway, all that means it’s a technical term. Not really, but it’s, it involves learning science. How do we learn things, not just golf. And it states this. The more the activity or the practice you are doing resembles exactly what it is you are going to be doing. So we’ll use the golf example here. The more it will transfer. And last. Now when I ask my students, why are you practicing? Well they say, I want to get better. And I said, well, what do you mean you want to get better? Where I want this, whatever I’m doing too, I want it to last.
Christopher: 00:43:28 I don’t want it to be a short lived and I want it to transfer to the golf course. Bingo. So when I hear, and I’ve heard this, wow, I wish I had, if I was greedy and into materialism, I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this, why can’t I do it on the range? And I can’t do it on the golf course? Well, for me it’s, it’s normally quite simple. You’re not practicing the right things the right way. So if you want things to last and you want them to transfer to the golf course, then make that activity as much as possible, not a hundred percent of the time, but way more than we think. Make it look like a round of golf. Now maybe this is time for another seven second pose so people can imagine what happens in an actual round of golf compared to a normal practice session.
Christopher: 00:44:18 And these are some of the things that we do in my trained to trust programs. Often 90 minute sessions, sometimes I’ll do half day schools, a full day schools. I bring in players of every level from the highest level to I’m just learning how to play and I do cater it to those individuals. But really the better the player you are, the more your practice and training ought to be context specific. It needs to look like a round of golf. And it was fascinating. The, uh, the mental coach that a, the open championship winner, Francesco Molinari known to his friends as Kiko. Um, his mental coach for the last few years, just reiterated some of these, these tenants and trying to make his practice a more unpredictable. As I say, in a lot of my talks, golf is the most random, chaotic and unpredictable game on the planet. Yet people practice it like a foul shot, meaning we can go anywhere in the world, in, in Brad will say, hey, let’s go shoot a free throw bounce shot.
Christopher: 00:45:24 Right? Well anywhere on the planet, for the most part, it’s 15 feet away in the baskets, 10 feet high, right? That’s how people practice their golf. Yet when you go to play, especially this year, is open championships with the condition of the course, you know, and the wonderful weather and the firmness and the wacky bounces, you know, you know, it’s, it’s the inevitability of anything and everything. So I asked, you know, the golf listeners out there, are you practicing? Are you preparing for the inevitability of everything and anything? Cause if you’re not a, you’re going to be out for a rude awakening.
Brad: 00:46:03 So when I first read your book, I’ve got 99 Swing Thoughts, but “hit the ball”. ain’t one of them. Is that the exact title?
Speaker 4: 00:46:11 Yeah, minus “the” ain’t one
Brad: 00:46:14 We’ve got nine 19 thoughts but hit the ball ain’t one. Thank you JC. I totally bought into this idea that you want to simulate the competitive experience and practice. I realized that I told my endurance athlete clients for many, many years that if you’re training for the Ironman, let’s say once in a while you have to jump into a body of water and swim for two and a half miles without stopping at the wall or going in, showering off, toweling off, putting your lotion back on, and then getting on your bike after eating a bunch of snacks and going for your a hundred mile ride and thinking you’re preparing for the race that you got to jump on that bike, dripping wet with your eyeglasses. A, it’s soaking wet as well and your squishy wet feet going into your bike shoes and taking off and hitting it hard for exactly what you’re going to face on race day.
Brad: 00:47:02 Even if you have 12 long distance swims paired with, uh, another 12 bike rides the following day or whatever, you’re missing that element of, of the exact race simulation where you can problem solve and see what’s going on. So I bought into it and then I also realized, I think you conveyed this well in the book, that there’s that if you have a devil’s advocate here saying, no, wait a second. Hitting balls on the range is how Tiger Woods became the greatest golfer. But you said, you know what? You can stand front of a mirror in your bedroom and practice your swing and get that technique honing into the nervous system just as good or maybe better because you don’t, you’re not distracted by ball feedback as if you’re hitting balls on the range. So I feel like there might be, are there to, uh, objectives here? One, you’ve got to get your technique right. And then two, you’ve got to simulate competitive experience.
Christopher: 00:47:53 Yeah, for sure. I just think we’ve gone too much, you know, to one end of the scale what we call in in learning terms and we in golf terms even we call this block practice. Now let this be said, when you’re learning a new skill, do you need to be in a pretty safe, calm level, easy environment to learn the new skill? Yes, you do. However, even new golfers, they’ll go out and play in and they’re confronted with this, this incredible, you know, variety and chaos out on the golf course, which they have not created at all, uh, in the, in the practice realm. So, uh, there is a time and a place for this block practice of sort. Um, and then we need to throw in this randomness and it can be interspersed. So I would say, again, if you’re learning something new, I mean, I use this analogy a lot.
Christopher: 00:48:45 When people learn how to ski for the most part, where do they go? They go to the Bunny Hill, right? And they figure out how to get down the hill without breaking their necks. Okay. They learned how to snow plow. They learn how to turn and maybe they learn how to stop. Okay. So in golf terms, the Bunny Hill is a very short club from a very short distance. Unfortunately, what happens to golfers is new golfers decide, well, I want to go play. There’s no danger involved. There’s no pain, there’s not a lot of fear, right? Other than the humility and the embarrassment. So I’m going to play a full golf course with long clubs that are very unforgiving. That’s the equivalent to the new skier going to the double black diamond run and going off the backside right now, have there been some great skiers that learn to ski that way?
Christopher: 00:49:31 I bet there have been, but there 90% of the people that tried to do it that way, they quit. They get injured, they get scared, they’re disappointed, they’re frustrated. So there is a balance there, Brad, as far as, hey, what do I need to kind of build this skill? But I just think people, you know, they ought to throw themselves into this, into this bath of, of who knows what’s going to happen and the different lies and the different conditions and the fact that they only have one try. So just a couple of examples of, you know, how our practice differs from, from a real round of golf is just this, uh, how long a time put your chronometers on. Do is there between each shot on a golf course? Well, depending on the pace of play and who you’re playing with, it could be anywhere from seven to 15 minutes between each shot.
Christopher: 00:50:19 And Are you hitting the same club on the next shot? The answer is normally no. So how does that look like the way most people, it looks nothing like the way most people practice. Okay. So people take a seven iron and they put the ball on a perfect line, he hit 20 balls in a row to the same target. So that ain’t golf. Now is it potentially a way to build a, a motor program that we call a golf swing? Yes, it is. Okay. Another example, and this, we’ve been educated to do this. We’ve been miseducated like we have about so many things. If you took a five year old kid to the driving range, now remember children are the Tiger Woods is of learning. They are expert learners and they do it intuitively. And you said to the kid, I want you to hit seven excuse me, I want you to hit 27 irons off the perfect lie to the same target.
Christopher: 00:51:12 What would happen to the five year old? The five year old would immediately get bored. They don’t want to do that. So they might hit a couple, then they’d probably go to a different target. Change clubs,
Brad: 00:51:23 The range cart boy in the movie, real moving target,
Christopher: 00:51:27 Oh, I’m going to put the ball in a hole. Well, guess what? That looks like more. It looks like around a golf. So the five year old is actually way smarter when it comes to practicing in many ways than the parent or the older person or the supposed expert who’s going to tell him to ingrain a perfect swing with the perfect lie with knowing anxiety, no stress, a bunch of do overs. Those are called range balls and an 800 yard wide fairway, which we call the driving range. So it just, it raises a lot of questions, like a lot of things, Brad, why am I in.The best question is why are you doing it this way? And if somebody answers is all is because this is the way we’ve always done it, that is the worst answer in the history of the world. Okay? Now, once again, if, what if what you’re doing is working, and I could tell some horror stories right now about some of the best players in the world that are making millions of dollars that barely practice at all. They are, they don’t really spend any time with it. Okay? So do you have to practice a lot? No. Do you have to practice in a way that works for you? Yes. And do you have to practice with purpose and quality and make it as much golf-like as you can. Absolutely
Brad: 00:52:43 Love it. And I think when you’re playing, the average golfer is kind of disgracing the sport by conceding putts or dropping another ball or having your floating mulligan rules and things like that. And it just, I think ingraining these bad habits where we think do over is part of the sport of golf. And so again, like the context specificity, uh, starts to dissipate because then when you have your tournament round, um, you’re gonna, you’re gonna choke these, uh, these one foot putts. I choked a six inch putt at the world’s speed golf championships cause I just, I just brushed it in with a little frustration and I realized, Gee, when’s the last time I faced a six inch putt in practice? And I was, you know, I would routinely just grab the ball when it was that close. I mean, not one foot, and I’m not that stupid. But when I, when I missed the six inch Putt, I realized that I had not prepared myself for the competitive experience of knocking that thing in when it counted.
Speaker 4: 00:53:44 Yeah, for sure. And you know, there is no, you just brought up two words, competitive experience. How do you get better at competing? By competing, There is no substitute for competitive experience. So people that want to get better and they, they live at the driving range per se. Good luck. When they figured it out, let me know. But I’d rather have him thrown into, you know, uh, uh, situation of adversity and then like you mentioned earlier, Oh, I have to solve problems. Uh, I think one of the challenges today with a lot of the young golfers as they had been, they’d been fed with a silver spoon growing up. They’ve never faced adversity in any realm or aspect of their life. Right?
Brad: 00:54:25 So pretty good at golf and so they got a free pass that school to go home, school and play the junior circuit and yeah, who, who knows whatever concessions. And I mean, in Tiger story, it’s pretty tragic. Then level of, uh, enabling that occurred in the background of his life is no longer in the background, but it led to a train wreck. And it’s a fascinating account of like, this guy was bred from day one to be the greatest golfer who ever lived. And guess what? It was that successful breeding and successful scientific experiment, but he didn’t know how to engage in, in real life and deal with, uh, the, the human element and all those things.
Christopher: 00:55:01 Yeah, there’s certainly a decision making issue there when we’re not given, you know, some, some adversity some need for resilience, which, uh, you know, there’s a lot of great books out there on that right now. So, um, you know, another perfect example, I’m still guilty of this myself. When we hit a bad shot on the driving range, what does it everybody do immediately? Well, they immediately drag another ball out and immediately hit another one cause they want to get the bad one out of their system. It’s like a, you know, it’s like a bad crash, you know, or I got some, I’ve got some, you know, bug in me. I need to get out now. Question. When you hit a bad shot on the golf course, what happens next? Well, you have somewhere between seven and 15 minutes to deal with it. Now. This is where the emotions and the thoughts come up.
Christopher: 00:55:49 Okay? So can you literally rewire yourself? Okay. From what I believe is an emotional standpoint so that you can respond to and react to. Oh, something just, uh, didn’t quite go my way. I hit a bad shot. Okay. And instead of stewing on it, we’re pouting about it or using it as a crutch for the next one. And you need to get over it so to speak. You know, Short memories as we talk about, which is just an emotional way of getting into a different state mind if you will. But if you don’t practice that specific thing, okay? Hey Brad, you just hit a bad shot on the range. You know, I got you know I got a tap you on the arms. No, you don’t get to drag another ball out okay. We’re going to talk about a post shot routine that can be incredibly positive for you.
Christopher: 00:56:41 Why don’t you make a practice swing or rehearsal swing after the crappy shot, putting your attention on and focusing on what it is that you wanted to do in this swing. Okay. Because your golf swing like you as a human being, it’s a, it’s a work in progress. It always will be. The best players in the world are constantly refining, bringing into balance and working on something and their golf swings. Okay? So rather than beating yourself up and golfers, you know, are the masters of the rating and belittling themselves out there. Uh, the self talk is unbelievable. As I tell people all the time. You know, if the people you were playing with talk to you, the way you talk to yourself, there’d be a lot of fights on the golf course. So could you relearn that and instead of beating yourself up and saying, oh, what a shitty swing that was, how could I do that?
Christopher: 00:57:33 As I say, and sometimes they have people carry these images in their bag. What would you say to your five year old self after the bad shot? You would say, hey, Did you try your best? Yes. And it didn’t turn out. Yes. Why? Because it’s a game and it’s really frigging hard. Okay. And then maybe a pat on the back or some encouragement. Let’s, let’s keep with this and maybe you make a practice swing or two emphasizing the feel that you’re looking for. Okay. Then you put your club back in your bag and you start, you know the walk towards the next shot, but your mindset has changed. It’s a different outlook instead of being such a downer and it’s like, oh boy, I got to think about that lousiness for the next 10 minutes. So this is all something that we actually can control.
Christopher: 00:58:21 We can can change, we can change, we can relearn. Really, this is a matter of learning new things. When people come to me, Brad, all the time, they say, this is broken. This needs to be fixed and this is wrong. I disagree. Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing. And it, it can be looked at in a very zen way. It’s not good or bad. It just is. Now, can you learn something new at any age? Yes. So why don’t you look at it that way? I’m not going to change your golf swing. No. Okay. Well, why don’t we learn something new? Why don’t we learn a new attitude, a new behavior, a new way to look at things. Okay. Rather than, Oh, this is wrong and it’s broken and we need to fix it. I don’t think so.
Brad: 00:59:03 So the way to rewire these emotional responses is by I guess calling them into your consciousness and taking decisive action such as the post shot routine?.
Christopher: 00:59:17 It’s part of it. Uh, I can connect you with who can speak to it better, which is an entirely other podcasts for you, Brad. It is a, it is a conscious choice. We need to remember that we are in charge. I’m in charge,
Brad: 00:59:33 Not my emotions?
Christopher: 00:59:34 Like correct to some extent. However, we are run emotionally. We are creatures that are emotional creatures. And I think people need to understand this with, with golf and in life. Are we all wired the same? No. Stop trying to be a stoic, unemotional. I’m not going to have any highs or lows when I play. Really? And that may not be you, that may not be your wiring, it’s not your DNA. So I can share this with the viewers. Uh, comment. Uh, one of the top mental toughness and training and brain training coaches in my world is Dr. Debbie Cruz at Arizona State.
Christopher: 01:00:11 And, uh, Debbie has told me time and time again that emotions are very valuable, but the emotion that you are having at that time, it must not take your energy. It must not be an energy vampire if it’s taking your energy. So it’s making you down, depressed, frustrated, whatever it may be, then you need to flip it. If it is giving you energy, which, oh, by the way, what does anger give people? It gives them energy. It, it energizes them. So anger is not necessarily something to try to, to try to squash. Okay? So if you’re having an emotion and that emotion is giving you energy, then you need to ride that pony. If it’s taking it from you, then you need to snap out of it. Okay. And move into something, some sort of mindset that gives you energy. Maybe you need to, you know, here’s a great thing to do for when things go bad on the golf course and they go, oh boy, somebody, this really bad thing happened to me on the sidewalk today.
Christopher: 01:01:13 So timeout. You don’t like we do with kids. Can you just immediately think about three things that you are really, really grateful for? And I can share this with people. If someone took a functional MRI of your brain when the bad thing happened and then they took a functional MRI of your brain. When you are thinking about imagining picturing even three things in your life that you are grateful for, those brains do not look the same. You would say, that’s not the same person. That’s not me. It is you because you just changed yourself. So, and we know this more and more, it’s been out there forever and people think, wow, this is wacky man, this is schizophrenia. This is civil. Three faces of eve. We are all living all of the time with multiple personalities within us all the time. And if you don’t believe me, just think about yesterday and all the different people, you were temporarily throughout the day, you are kind and compassionate.
Christopher: 01:02:14 Okay, you were a complete asshole, you know, a couple hours later, okay, you were really serious. Okay, you’re a jokester. Those are all within you and it’s okay and it’s normal. What we need to find is who are we literally okay when we are playing our best golf?. Hmm. Who are we literally when we are the most important, meaningful, you know, best human being we can be. Now it sounds weird but it’s there and if people reflect on it a little bit they’ll say, yeah, that is odd how, you know, how that changes throughout, you know, throughout the day and throughout our life.
Brad: 01:02:51 I guess it’s a matter of being mindful as a first step, being aware of how you’re coming off and aware of these patterns. Because I think we, at our worst, we just go off in the parking lot cause some guy, uh, dented our car and tried to drive away and you’d go nuts and you have no awareness of how you’re coming off because you’re just absorbed in the emotion or something. And so just checking that and asking those, those questions like, um, you know, is this, is this what I’m all about? Am I getting consumed by this anger or can I manage it? You know, just having that conversation with yourself or taking a deep breath before you respond, things like that. Yeah, for sure. I think the responses, it’s important in golf as it is and you know, somebody cut you off off or backed into you and that’s something that can be, it can be altered, you know, me know that through, you know, deep meditation practice for example.
Christopher: 01:03:43 Again, it’s, it’s a rewiring. It’s, it’s a presence and a mindfulness. Hey, what’s actually happening? Is this really that big of a deal? Oh, I just hit a bad shot on the golf course. Really? Well, why don’t you, why don’t you tell that story to the little boy in Yemen whose family just got bombed and displaced? Or I’m sure that people in a Syrian refugee camp are really upset about you missing that short putt, you know? So those might be kind of large, you know, visions of it, but people need to actually go there. If you’re looking to change where you’re at, your mindset and who’s not, who is going on, who’s kind of running the show within you at that time and place, those aren’t bad places to go.
Christopher: 01:04:26 And here’s a little, I’m not a big fan of tips in golf because there’s too much of that in one of my mentors, Jackie Burke Jr 94 years old and going strong Champions Golf Club in Houston, the winner of the, of the Masters in the PGA Championship in 1956 so Jackie always says, you want a tip? Go to Churchill Downs. What you’re going to get from me is, you know, 60 years of playing golf at the highest levels and, and coaching. So I’m not quite there yet, but, but I’m getting close. So what I have people do after the, his shitty shot, Brad, and this is really hard for people to do. I mean, golf is hard. Getting the ball to go to behave, as I mentioned earlier, from point A to point B is hard, but this is even harder for people. Okay? So he just hit a shot.
Christopher: 01:05:09 Tell me three good things about that shot and people will get stuck. I’ve had tour players get stuck because guess what? Their mind immediately goes to what they didn’t like about the shot. They program their mind to do that. Okay? Now, sometimes they’re, they’re so frustrated. So this is, this is BS. It’s no, it’s not. Now guess what happens if you do that on every shot, you retrain and you reprogram. Okay? The brain, the neural pathways, and then networking so that that starts to happen automatically. Oh, I went through my pre shot routine. That’s one. Uh, the ball is now the ball went up in the air. Right for a lot of players. Okay. That’s a benefit. Uh,
Brad: 01:05:54 I went for it. It went in the water, but I went for it. I had the balls to go for it on, on 16th at Cypress instead of just play it safe.
Christopher: 01:06:01 I played without fear. I got to my finish position. I committed to this shot. So you know, there’s, there’s all the, you know, the armchair quarterbacks in golf. It’s, it’s amazing now. So back to the specifics of the last round. The open championship. Tiger is going along pretty good. Hits a couple of loose shots.
Christopher: 01:06:21 Remember the one thing that we do not have control over? Oh by the way, listeners, you think you have control over a lot of things in your life, Huh? You got nothing coming. There’s so much chaos out there. You can plan and prepare, but the chaos like on the golf course, if we only knew and some day we will. So what golfers do not have 100% control over? They do over their pre shot routine. They do over what they had for breakfast that morning. They do over. Are they hydrated throughout the round? [01:06:01Yes. Did they bring the proper equipment and gear? Yes. Uh, what was their post shot routine? Can I, do they have control over that? 100%. Yes. Do they have control over where the golf ball goes? 100%. No. And especially on links courses, which is why people, you know, some don’t like well that’s not fair. I hit my ball down the middle and it bounced into the pot bunker. Well it’s a game. You don’t want to play games. Go find a science. Go do math. There’s no, there’s no golf
Brad: 01:07:17 Top golf going to hit it right in the target.
Christopher: 01:07:19 Every time they get sucked in there. So you know the beginning of uh, the double bogey that Tiger makes on 11, he hits it in the rough. Okay. So first of all, you think golf is a crap shoot and there’s chaos out there. There’s even more when you get in high grass as Robin Williams would have called it, right?
Christopher: 01:07:37 How you get out of trees and bushes. So, cause you don’t know where it’s gonna go. So he gets over the ball and then he backs off and he asked his caddie, Joel Lacava, what do you think? So in my mind, here’s the greatest player ever who now has doubt in his mind. Doubt is a killer. It brings down golf swings. It’s brought down civilizations. So, and he proceeds, that’s the ball that he hits, left it, hits the guy in the forehead or whatever and bounces back in. But when I look at that, people could say, oh, this swing not swing. And even he said, well, you know, in the high grass, you know, the high grass grabs your shaft and shut the Blah Blah Blah. I get it. I hear, I understand the physics, you don’t win the golf when the club collides with the ball.
Christopher: 01:08:17 And we call that a collision and impact. In Golf it’s 100% physics. Okay. But the person that’s wielding the club is an artist. So that’s their artistic side to golf. So is there more randomness when you’re hitting out of high grass? Yeah. But what do you think happens to people’s performance on the golf course and in life when they have doubt in their mind? That’s not good. Not at all. So doubt is a killer. And um, we, I see this a lot in my world when people are reading greens and say, well, what do you see? Well, maybe this or maybe that. Really. Okay. When you get in your car and you’re driving down to the store, do you think, well, maybe all, maybe I’ll take a right here and I got to try to, you know, and then everybody thinks about what they don’t want, you know, in golf.
Christopher: 01:09:02 I don’t want to hit it off. Really. When you get in your car, do you think about what you don’t want to run into, you know, no pun intended, but you back out of your driveway and don’t run into the fire hydrant and don’t run into the neighbor’s car and don’t run into the sidewalk. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t. That’s not the way the brain is wired. We are actually wired to succeed, improvise, and, and solve problems. So it’s like, well, I’ve got to, I’m going to pull out here. I’m going to drive down the street, going down enrolled. I got to get to 24th at the stop sign. I take a left, okay, and then I got a cruise kind of slow, you know, and then Sundance, you know, food co op is write down. Then I’m going to pull into the parking lot and I’m going to find a place to park.
Christopher: 01:09:43 That’s all preprogrammed now isn’t going to happen like that every single time. No. I’ll be boring. Would life be, if it was like that,
Brad: 01:09:51 you’re increasing your chances of success though?
Christopher: 01:09:53 It has to be programmed in, planned Brad in the brain. In the mind. Okay. We seem to forget everything’s an inside job, meaning if you don’t have it program, if you don’t have a plan in your mind about what you want your golf ball to do, where you want your car to go and where you want your life to go. If you do not have intention, you have absolutely zero chance. There’s no guarantees after that, but it starts with that. Are you going to go run a marathon? Hey, what are you gonna do? I’m gonna go run this marathon. Have you done any training at all? No. Oh, okay. Great. Yeah, that’s, that sounds, that sounds good.
Christopher: 01:10:32 And people think that this, this mental programming and planning and visualization and letting everybody know and letting the universe know that you’re in charge, the golf ball is not in charge. You are in charge. But often that that role gets reversed. I ask people all the time, what, what are you trying to, are you just hoping the ball goes out there in the fairway? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. That’s fine. But could we change that? You know, I know there’s no guarantees and it’s a really hard thing to do. It’s a tough motor program to get the little stick on the round ball and put it out there and play. But you’ve got to start with a plan. Yeah.
Brad: 01:11:11 That would really help your golf. And we were talking offline about our mutual admiration Laird Hamilton, who you worked on the golf board project with best new product or the PGA show. And a man, I’ve had my chance to interact with this guy briefly with Mark Sisson and hanging out in Malibu and just getting, getting to a dose of the real life person, amazing guy. But his, his process for surfing these big waves where now all of a sudden we’re instead of a golf course trying to shoot a good score, he’s trying to ride this big wave and it’s a matter of life or death. And he conveys the idea that he formulates, he envisions the successful ride and is very carefully planning this entire ordeal where your towed in with the jet ski and the synchronicity with the people that are supporting you. And so everything is completely planned before. And of course he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Of course it’s, you know, a razor-thin margin of error. But he envisions a successful ride completely. And beforehand he also, a problem solves if there’s a misfortune, what he’s going to do if he eats it and goes under and he’s going to relax and wait for his opportunity to resurface but not panic. And I think that, uh, leads over to the golf example very nicely, where you better have a good plan and envision that shot and all those things and all the positive stuff, just like driving to the store. Um, and then, you know, then you’re setting yourself up for success and hey, if you come up short and you’re in the bunker, then you face that problem with a, with a clear slate, which is such a big challenge for golfers.
Christopher: 01:12:47 For sure. And it is for people in, in the way they’ve planned their lives out.
Brad: 01:12:50 Yeah. Oh, my company laid me off. So that’s when I really started to go downhill. And My, uh, my, my life fell apart. That was the, the domino that, you know, led to my addiction, losing my relationships, blah, blah, blah. It’s an excuse and it’s a story and we have so much storytelling and excuse making today. I’m no more nowhere, more so than on the golf course where you get on the first tee. And the guy says, bear with me, I haven’t played in awhile. And, uh, uh, I hope I don’t hold you guys up.
Brad: 01:13:22 Oh yeah, for sure. That’s a 22 year old cat weigh in.
Christopher: 01:13:26 We’ve got the wild animal that’s crept into the, into the zone here.
Brad: 01:13:31 Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org and we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop, iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews, and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars. And it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves because they need to. Thanks for doing it.