Learning from The Wolf of Wall Street

By: Andy Griffiths | Thu 20 Feb 2014 | Comments ()

wolf of wall streetThe film “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a true story based on the memoirs of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort. The 3 hour film tells the story of the Wall Street firm Jordan runs in the 1990s, making substantial money through fraud and corruption. It highlights the fun, games and perks of his lavish lifestyle before everything comes crashing down as he is caught and subsequently loses the company, his wife, children and freedom as he is sent to jail.

So, what could this possibly have to do with your golf game and your life? (Of course I could not possibly recommend watching this film instead of spending the time fitting in a quick 18 or maybe even some practice time!)

My goal, as a golf coach, is to help you to get the ball into the hole in fewer shots than you currently do, or on a more consistent basis. The plethora of books, magazines, forums, articles, videos and well-meaning friends’ advice would largely suggest the only way to do that would be through changes in your swing. However, the use of better planning, strategy, emotional control, club selection, decision making and more also comes into the picture, although they are slightly less sexy to work on!

The film depicts Jordan’s lifestyle, full of women, partying, drugs, private boats and luxury gifts and glamorizes this. These things appear to be what should give happiness in life and, at moments, his lifestyle sure does look enviable. However, as the film nears the end, it is very apparent that all of these things really haven’t brought him fulfilment in life and that external achievements really cannot bring internal happiness. In a golfing sense, I would compare this to someone who gets blinded by the desire to ‘perfect’ the golf swing and hit textbook shots.

Of course, improving swings and helping players to understand their ball flight better are things that I do focus on. Nevertheless, what I want to give you today are 3 golf-course based games/challenges that I feel can lower your scores without even changing any part of your swing:

* On every shot that you play from within 150 yards, either remove the pin, or completely ignore it, and aim at the centre of the green.

- I’ve heard the story from some top level tour professionals that they almost always aim at the centre of the green. It surprised me when I heard this (and saw their HIGH career earnings…but if it is good enough for them…!)

* For every approach shot you hit, aim to go past the flag.

- I know that 7 iron you have ONCE went 175 yards on a downhill approach, at a course at high elevation and via 2 sprinkler head bounces, but is that your real distance? You will be surprised at the shorter length of putts you have once you start getting the ball to the hole.

* On every tee shot that at the current moment doesn’t fit your eye, and often leads to disastrous results, choose a club you do feel comfortable with, and play your tee shot with that. EVEN if that club is a 7 iron, go for it!

- Try a little experiment on the long par 4 where you hate the tee shot and often go OOB. Over a few rounds, would you score better or worse making it a longer hole with iron from the tee OR hitting a few drives straight and a few OOB and costing you penalty strokes?

Try a few of these out, or come up with other ideas and let me know what that does for your game.
Aristotle says:

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

Jordan was able to achieve some of the supposed highlights during his heyday, but these were not the things that gave him true meaning or happiness.

If I was to adapt that quote to the golf world, I would say:

“Scoring is the meaning and purpose of competitive golf, the whole aim and end of playing.”

Have a look at the par 3, 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. The famous island green has been the scene of many great moments in tournament history with the Sunday pin commonly tucked away in the corner of the green. Placed just behind a bunker and dangerously close to the edge of the green, it could easily tempt the leaders to fire straight at the pin, and with a slight misfire, hit into the water and lose the chance of winning. Next time you watch you may be surprised to see how many golfers aim closer to the centre of the green. A number of the great results are also as a result of a ‘bad swing’ that sends the ball closer to the flag. These players are good, YES, but they also understand scoring is what matters in their careers. They know it is much better to aim safe and expand the area of green to work with, than firing at every pin, which can be very high risk.

Remember: scoring, is the aim of the game.

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Andy Griffiths is a UKPGA member, graduated from the University of Birmingham with the AGMS (Applied Golf Management Studies) degree and holds coaching certifications with the PGA, TGA, TPI Levels 1 & 2.

To find out more about Andy follow him on Twitter @andygriffiths1 , visit his website at www.andygriffithsgolf.com or via Facebook facebook.com/andygriffithsgolf


Andy Griffiths

Andy is a UKPGA member & graduate of the AGMS degree at the University of Birmingham. He's coached in more than 30 countries and travelled and worked with many of the best in the business. His no. 1 desire is to help golfers reach their dreams, and to enjoy the process!

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