This is mainly due to the course hitting the halfway stage and if I have some beginners participating it is a good time to check to see how things are going.

One of the least attractive aspects of the game is the amount of time it takes to play and practice. Four to five hours in the Algarve are a given for eighteen holes and if you are new to the game you need to be putting in a couple of hours practice a week to learn the new skill(s).

So I always sit down with my players to see how the last three weeks have gone and have a look at whether the time is being allocated for development or is life just getting in the way. The normal rhythm of their day to day routines are filling up the day and not allowing the new hobby to breathe and grow.

When starting out on a new regimen, time needs to be set aside for the implementation process. My advice is always to treat the time for practice the same way you would for a lawyer’s or doctor’s appointment, mark it in the diary and allow time to get there and back, this way the time set aside for practice is ringfenced and protected. It’s been a long-understood equation that the desire to change has to be stronger than the comfort to stay the same. Only when the desire to change is stronger than the comfort of staying the same does change occur or new habits develop.

It’s one of the biggest reasons why the gyms will be full next month; the year ends, people take stock of their lives, potentially feel a little over indulged, have some time on their hands to reflect and hey presto the New Year’s Resolution is made. But because the power of the old routines eventually, unless unchecked, overcome the desire to change, the gyms end up back to their normal capacities, come March.

If an individual is given the horrific life altering situation, where they are confronted with having to either change their lifestyle or something very dire will occur, then the equation is loaded and change will almost be inevitable.

Whilst on the golf and lack of practice theme, it’s amazing and amusing how many excuses I hear, and I’m always remembering a few of my favourite ‘excuse’ quotes such as, “Excuses are well thought out lies”, or “Excuses will always be there for you. Opportunity will not.”

They certainly follow the very same equation yet have a justification which eases the conscience. It’s a very easy thing to do, change is tough.

You have spent years developing patterns which are comfortable for you; what time you go to bed, how you drink your tea, whether or not you’re a brown or red sauce type of person. So to change what you have always done for something which you want to do, comes with a price of uncomfortableness.

Remember that’s just talking about finding the time to change, it’s not actually talking about the deviant practice habits I would like you to adopt, where you have to feel completely alien to adopt a more efficient swing movement. Even whilst my player is saying, “That feels strange!” or “That can’t be right, can it?” It’s at this moment I have to be strong and so does my player because contradictory to most public opinion I am asking him/her to make a change for the better, it’s not driven out of some sadistic bent.

Just a few thoughts before you start getting fast and loose regarding New Year’s Resolutions. We hope to see you at the Golf Integrated Academy in the New Year!

Telephone: 912 263 555.