Monday, 19 November 2012

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

People said that God work His magic in many forms. He can bless you in many ways. Now I'm bidding on it fully. I do believe in it. No longer just a hearsay. And it is like a wonder when you think you are about to crack out and cramp in, then all of sudden He cheer us with set of good news. Irony.

Truly. I am so grateful for His blessings and favours bestowed on me. Now my 6 months old daughter, Insyirah is a sister. Last week, we found out that my wife is carrying our second baby. And in conjunction with that, I got an offer with another company. A better offer, a managerial post and finally I'm going to do something I'm naturally comfortable to perform. Sales and marketing. Utilizing my talent. I'm all comfortable meeting new people. Selling ideas, persuading, sharing thoughts and opinions, gathering info. It's all me. It's new to me as I never really do a true marketing job before. But I have a strong feeling that I'm going to do just fine. Naturally.

And for the second baby, both of us, my wife and I hope that it's going be a boy this time around. We pray for it, we work for it. Towards it. You know, things like, eating more meat, reading Surah Yusof, and so forth. But still, we leave it up to His hands to decide. We will be all happy even if it's another baby girl.

Therefore, I'm all getting ready and prepared to face these new challenges in my life. New career path, second child coming. Full of joy. Full of good hopes.

We are working hard to work things out. To get both Insyirah and Nurfirdaus getting transferred here to Kuala Lumpur. I think it is time for us to end this so called weekend husband title thingy. It didn't help and it surely doesn't going to help at all. Obviously. I need to get things sorted out. I need my family to be around me, all the time.

Good things do not happen for no reason. And good things come to those who wait. With religiously patience. Like what Sam used to nag me. And I am all thankful to Him and Haji Sam for all these. With the right attitude, right mindset, constant doa and tawakkal consistently, InsyaAllah, things will work out the way it should be best. Fingers crossed. Ameen.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Golf As An Obsession Or A Lifestyle Instead?

As clear as the title is, it is an obsession to me now. I am all erratically obsessed in golf nowadays. It's like I am a mad scientist trying so hard to unlock those so called mysteries or secrets of being a good golfer. Every pieces of the swing. The grip, set up, the take away, backswing, downswing, impact and release. Everything. And because of that, I've engaged a professional golf instructor for a month long to sort of like "correct" my swing. Well, I need a reference or I will never improve.

It is amazing how complicated a golf swing can be. It is not an easy movement of body parts and muscles. In that two seconds, so many muscles and things get stretched and released. It is a complicated set of movements. And after three years of golfing, I have had my ups and downs with my swing. There's a lot things to be comprehended, to juggle during that particular fractions of two seconds.

And that's the problem. Most amateur golfers out there including me, are so keen on improving our swing mechanics with the mindset of understanding those stuffs as soon as possible. It's like we want to be swinging so good, dead straight and long in one day. Like those pros in the television. Which is impossible. Twice as wrong, I used to think that I will never be as good as them. Which is bloody damn wrong. We can if we quit our job and play golf seriously full time. But then, I have to ask myself again, is it that what I really wanted or should remain as a recreational golfer. The ideal notion is, we shouldn't be thinking of competing them. We should have this objectives, which are, playing at our fullest potential and enjoying the game. Golf like any other things in life, demands dedication and patience. Of course talent, good hand-eye coordination, flexibility and athleticism play a big role in relishing our true potential in becoming a good golfer. But I do believe that good sound fundamentals of the swing bio-mechanics and proper technique and training dictates or should I say accelerates our learning curves in mastering the whole world of golfing. We got to have a good basic before we even start shaping our swing.

And that's the problem. I never really mastered my basics three years ago when I first started. So I was kind of wandering in the dark, fixing every little problems that I've encountered through out my "golfing career" by myself, or searching through the internet for quick fix tips. And those were not only left the problems unsolved permanently, it developed bad habits, set of compensations, ingrained in my mind that I should be doing this instead of this without knowing the real hard truth or reasoning of the problem itself in the first place. And yes, it created a lot tonnes of other swing problems.

And now, I've realized that all those problems actually came from a very basic section of the swing. It's not even in the swing yet. It's the grip. I'm barely swinging yet. How irony is that. How on earth a grip can lead to many swing faults, destroying or should I say hindering my development as better golfer? Well, let me deliberately explain this more.

Firstly, we have to have a correct mindset about golf. Well, I was wrong all these years. Golf is about finesse. Not power. It's about delicacy and subtleness. Meaning, we should never, ever grip the golf club hard. Instead, the more loose we grip, the better chance we have to make that smooth, effortless yet powerful impact on the ball, hence power and long shot. I know, it is hard to believe this. But it is that dead blunt true. The harder you choke the club, the more difficult for you to have full shoulder turn. Your wrists, arms, and shoulder get tensed up, limiting the flexibility, the fluidity in swinging through the ball. Yes, I said, swing through the ball, not hit the ball. I shouldn't be trying to flip the ball, or helping to hit the ball with muscular strength or trying to add more power in lifting or launching the ball up in the air. The club, because of its loft angle, shaft length and flex will deliver the descending blow itself upon impact.

So, from now on, I am practising swing my club no matter what club it is, be it the big stick the driver or even the shortest flat putter effortlessly, freely, with loosen up wrists, arms and shoulders. Relax, and breath out as I go make the swing. Not to swing so hard like I want to hit and break a wall or something. But the mindset plays a very big part in this. Change is hard. Changing or breaking a bad habit is bloody hard. I'm now instilling the idea or notion that less is more. Loose is power. Tightness is limiting. Grip the club like I'm holding a bird on its neck. I don't want to be responsible in choking a poor bird. I want to make birdies, not killing birds. And this sort of funny mental ingraining is very essential in keeping it intact.

Number two, the secret that I've overlooked, or blindly not knowing over the years is, a good golf swing is a lower body driven kind of swing. Not the upper body. Certainly not the wrist and arms. True, the arms starts the backswing, coiling for power, in my right hip and glute. But, it's the left hip that starts the down swing, hence the accuracy and effortless power. All those big muscles, not small small muscles. Golf is similar to tennis in some ways but definitely opposite of badminton where it get all wristy.

Number three, all these years, I've referred or should I say, mimicking those swing I saw in the television week in week out. I was trying to copy the feel of my golf idols, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter with the idea at the back of my mind, that if that works for them, it should work for me too. Well, one thing I've realized this late, golf swing is a unique set of body parts' movements. It may varies from one person to another. Yes, the fundamentals are the same but, it shouldn't be that rigid. There's no such thing as a textbook swing. Every swing is personally tailored for that particular golfer. It all depends on each player's flexibility, athleticism, the potential during that particular period of time, how fast they can grab the whole idea of swinging and of course height and strength.

What we should be looking for is, the best swing that works for every each of us. The swing that easy for us to do on the course every Sunday, the safest injury free kind of swing and the best part of it, the most effective swing for us during that particular period of time. I'm saying this because, every golfer has a progression in their career as they go along. Those pros, they are not as good as they are now, lets say 3 years back. What I'm trying to say, that swing is fit for me, three years back, and I was all happy. It worked totally fine back then. But we are human, endowed and blessed the capability to adapt and improve ourselves that makes us to keep learning and improving our swing. We are so designed to adapt as we go along and rising up our expectations is a bi-product of learning. What we need to do is keep looking for that middle ground or balance point where it delivers our desirable shot yet not compromising safety and accuracy. I was swinging my 5 iron to reach the 100 meters marker at the range three years ago and now I've reduced it to 9 iron. Better impact position, better ball striking, faster swing speed or many other factors that contributed to that one thing, distance. But again, golf is not all about power and distance. It's a game where smarter people excels. During that time, my expectations were different. A golf round with a hundred over score with more than a dozen balls used was totally fine for me. But not anymore. Now I want to lower down my score and complete 18 holes using only 2 balls at most. Because I'm a normal human being with a brain that capable to learn. And for that reason, my potential also keep increasing from time to time.

Which is why I love so much about this game. I'm starting to believe that golf isn't just a game. It's a cult, a culture, and even a lifestyle. For me, it's a tool to indicate my self improvement progression over the years. And the best part of it, it incorporated in other parts of my life. I'm more patience, composed, a bit more of a planning kind of person instead of a rushing stuff quickly kind of guy. Golf matures me over the years. Because in golf, every shot counts. And we are all thinking of those shot to make every time. We put an effort to plan and manage the swing. That's the good thing about golf. I'm not saying it doesn't offer any cons or flaws. It does. It is never enough in golf. Every time I hit a perfect shot, I've always want to try to "perfecter" the perfect. I know, as silly as it sounds, but that's the problem about me and something that I have to manage. Being content and less contentious over my already perfect swing :P Because when I want to "perfecting" the already perfect shot, lets say I'm saying to myself I want to hit it further and longer, and there's the point where dozens of problems creep in. When we want to hit longer, our subconscious mind will automatically tell us and our muscles to swing harder which of course, tensed up the muscles and the number one source towards a bad fat hitting the ground first kind of golf swing :(

I do really hope that I can reach and extend my potential and enjoy my game every weekend as I've already put a lot of time and effort in improving my swing as good as my self personally. Fingers crossed.