1 thing this two-time major champion says everybody should do every single day
Welcome to Play Smart, a game-improvement column that drops every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Director of Game Improvement content Luke Kerr-Dineen to help you play smarter, better golf.
Whenever I talk to a golf fan who’s older, wiser, and has seen more than me, I’m always interested at some of the names they bring up. Younger fans like me generally think of bygone eras in golf through the prism of who won the most majors at the time — Hogan, Nicklaus, Palmer, Tiger — and as a result overlook players whose peak was shorter, but hugely significant.
Tony Jacklin is an example who springs to mind.
We all know the broad strokes of Jacklin’s career — Ryder Cup hero and winner of both Opens — but it’s worth pausing for a moment to underline how intensely impressive the peak of his career was. In the space of two years he became the first Brit to win the Open Championship in 18 years, and his 1970 U.S. Open win was the only European victory in the tournament’s 84-year span between 1926 and 2009. And better yet, he did it all looking dressed like a Beatles-era style icon.
All of which is to say I followed my recent Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead flings by diving down into a Tony Jacklin rabbit hole. More to come on that front, but along the way I came across this brief-but-brilliant interview of Jacklin speaking to Golfing World. In it Jacklin describes something he does every day which he says makes him a better person and a better golfer.
Jacklin says: Weed your garden
No, Jacklin’s not talking literally about weeding your garden every day (though if you need some lawn advice, we’ve got you covered). Rather, he’s talking about putting work into your mindset and attitude on a regular basis.
At the end of every day, Jacklin says he sits down to take stock of his day and, specifically, what went wrong. What was the cause of why things went wrong? And how can you improve the next time you’re in that situation?
“Weed your garden. By that I mean being honest with myself about what fell short,” he says. “If I hit a bad shot, what did I do? What was I thinking?”
So try it yourself. Whether it’s after a round of golf or following a busy day or work, think about the things that didn’t go right and why they didn’t go right. Every day you do that you’ll get a little bit better heading into tomorrow, whether it’s on or off the course.
“It’s the same in golf as it is in life,” Jacklin says in the video above. “I teach my kids to do the same.”
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