Hi there, welcome to Better Golf Academy Podcast, I am your host with the most…Hanju Lee and can I say something real quick? When I started this podcast, I really had no idea how people would find me and listen…but it’s really interesting as I dive into this podcast world of what I am learning and that I am truly truly enjoying this entire process so thank you so much for being here and listening. Can I tell you though? I really got to say the best part of this is when I get feedback from you. It’s like, hey someone is out there listening, and not only that…they are talking to me!! Hahaha. And so as promised, I will do a shoutout to one of my listeners at the beginning of every podcast that leaves me a written review on iTunes. 

This time, it’s from Matthew who writes first the title of the review as, “Life…I mean Golf Lessons” – He says, “Hanju reels you into what feels like an intimate conversation, which is a strange feat for a podcast where only one person does the talking. Through these chats, he imparts lessons and wisdom that you have to keep reminding yourself are about golf…not life…or are they?  Brilliant work. Highly recommend.

Well Matthew, what can I say, you decoded my secret!! LOL. Thank you so much for taking the time to write me this awesome review, I really appreciate your insight and encouragement. Have an awesome day!!

Do You Walk Or Ride?

Hey so today, I want to talk about something I’ve been debating in my head for a long time. It’s a simple question of should I walk or should I ride while playing golf? And of course, sometimes the choices are already made for you right?…some courses don’t offer an option to walk due to speed of play, or even due to some severe hills or long distances between holes…I totally get that. But, I am talking about the courses that we often play that offers both walking and riding and it’s a good fit for both. What do you do? Do you walk? Or do you ride?  And this is a BETTER Golf Academy podcast, so we are going to talk about which option helps us to play BETTER…right? And what is the WHY behind it?

But first, let’s tackle our first concern, the first thing I mentioned is about the speed of play. Does walking really slow down the speed of play? And the fair answer I think is yes. I thought about it logically and also from experience. If I am playing while riding on a cart without having to wait for a group in front of me, I can jam through 18 holes like crazy. It’s obvious that I can get to the ball faster so I am going to play faster. They actually timed a foursome to play both ways on an empty course and I was right. They were average golfers and they played a normal round at a comfortable speed. Well, by riding, they finished about 15 minutes faster. But, realistically, with the normal pace of play, especially with a group in front of you, are you really losing time? Or is it that you just get there faster with a cart, so that you can wait longer? Hmmm. 

Also, I wish they did a further study on this and see if their scores were any better…but…maybe we can unpack that together and I’ll try to give you a good educated guess on why I think their scores were better when they walked.

Pebble Beach Anyone?

So, I don’t know about you but I’ve always walked the course growing up. Through Junior golf and highschool, riding a cart wasn’t even an option. Then came adulthood. As a leisurely sport for weekend play, we just all went out, grabbed a cart, filled up the ice chest on the side of the cart and we were ready to hit the course. We didn’t think anything of it. It just is what it is. It’s easier to ride and everyone else does it. 

Then, about 6 years ago, my brother-in-law was celebrating his big 50th birthday, and we decided to all go and take a weekend trip to Pebble Beach. This for me was a once in a lifetime trip and was just thrilled and excited to be out there. It was the most perfect day for golf, the temperature couldn’t be any better…it was a bit of an overcast so no direct sunlight and the birds were chirping. It was absolutely a dream day for golf…and you know what they require? A caddie…the caddie carried our clubs and our foursome walked the entire course. 

So, when the four of us walked the course that day, something lid up within me. It brought it all back for me from my Junior golf and high school golf days. The competitive spirit rose up as I approached every shot from the direct line behind, it gave me time to think about the next shot and look at it from all different angles as I slowly approach it. The tempo was more consistent and I got to control it.  It helped me focus more on my own game as I didn’t have to tag along in the golf cart as my partner drove us around in circles looking for the ball. It was so freeing. I was thinking to myself, were all these benefits I am mentioning just due to walking vs riding? Or, was I just on a golf high of playing at Pebble Beach with my buddies with a caddie? Is there something to this walking thing?

Either way, this started a seed of an idea in my head about walking vs riding and I was on a mission to find out what was more beneficial for me.  And after much research and reading different sides of the coin as well as experimenting on my own…I even purchased a really nice pull/pushcart and I’ve been learning a lot about how I play the course walking vs riding and I’ve been documenting my experiences. And for those of you that are interested, here are some of my conclusions.

Conclusion #1: I Play Better When I Walk

Why? That is a good question. I can’t quite pinpoint one big benefit, but there are so many little ones that just added up…and in the long run, it just made me play better.  For instance:

  • I really like walking up to my ball directly from behind from far away. As I mentioned before. As I am approaching my ball, I get to feel all the senses around me and gives me so much more time to analyze and think about my shot. I have time to look at all the different obstacles to avoid, plenty of time to mentally prepare for the shot. I heard some opposition to this thought where someone complained that it gave them too much time to think about the shot…maybe…but for me, more time, more focus, more concentration…the better.
  • As I mentioned before, my tempo is more consistent. I control the speed in how I walk and it seems that I have less wait time on the ball. Once I get there, I am ready to hit.

Conclusion #2: I Enjoy My Round More When I Walk

Why? Well…first, I like to walk. It’s freeing, it’s comforting and it’s relaxing. I always like to physically move and this keeps me from just sitting in the cart to the next shot. I also really enjoy the conversation with other walkers. Seems that we are not as isolated and confounded to our own seats in our carts. Also, when you are riding, you only have one other person to talk to, when your entire foursome is walking, I seem to have more opportunities for a deeper connection. Especially when we are waiting on the tee, we are not sitting in the cart, we are usually standing around and talking to each other.  And…that’s all from an extrovert point of view..which is me. 

Now, I also heard that walking is great for introverts who just want to be left alone and focus on their own game. This made sense to me too. It’s easier to stray off on your own and walk a different pace without offending anyone. 

Conclusion #3: It’s Healthier

Okay…

Scientific researchers in Sweden found that walking a round of golf equated to a 40 to 70 percent intensity of a maximum aerobic workout (assuming 18 holes played). In another study, cardiologist Dr. Edward A. Palank’s study showed that golfers that walk reduced their levels of bad cholesterol while keeping their good cholesterol steady; the control group of riding golfers failed to show those same results.

Also, according to Golf Science International, calculated that four hours of playing golf while walking is comparable to a 45-minute fitness class.

Another study conducted at the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver, Colorado concluded that walking nine holes on a hilly course is equivalent to a walk of 2.5 miles, compared to 0.5 miles when using a cart and that a golfer who walks 36 holes a week is burning nearly 3,000 calories.  That’s equivalent to eating 5 in and out a double-double with cheese, onion, mustard, and catchup.

Summary

You might be thinking…seriously, so what? How can that make that much of a difference in my game? Walking vs Riding…it seems insignificant.  Do you know what I say to that? I say, let me tell you a story that I just read in this book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. I just finished it…it’s an awesome book. I highly highly recommend it. This is the story in Chapter 1 that he starts the entire book by…

Here’s the story…so, did you know that in Great Britain, the professional cyclists were not known for their winning record for close to 100 years? They were a team of mediocre cyclists. Then…you know what they did? They hired a new performance director by the name of Dave Brailsford. Since 1908, British riders had won only just one gold medal at the Olympic games and in 119 years, no British cyclist had ever won the biggest race in cycling…tour de France. In fact, this is really funny…the performance of British riders had been so underwhelming that one of the top bike manufacturers in Europe refused to sell bikes to the team because they were afraid that it would hurt sales if other professionals saw them using their gear.  Hahaha!! So sad.

So this guy, Brailsford that had been hired made him different from previous coaches…and it was his relentless commitment to a strategy that he referred to as “the aggregation of marginal gains,” which was the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. 

This is what he said, “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.” Brailsford and his coaches began by making small adjustments you might expect from a professional cycling team. This is what they did.

  • They redesigned the bike seats to make them more comfortable. Ok…hmmm…
  • They rubbed alcohol on the tires for a better grip. ok…yeah….
  • They asked riders to wear electrically heated shorts to maintain ideal muscle temperature while riding…not that significant yet…what else?
  • They used biofeedback sensors to monitor how each athlete responded to a particular workout. 
  • The team tested various fabrics in a wind tunnel and had their outdoor riders switch to indoor racing suits, which proved to be lighter and more aerodynamic. 
  • They tested different types of massage gels to see which one led to the fastest muscle recovery. 
  • They hired a surgeon to teach each rider the best way to wash their hands to reduce the chances of catching a cold. 
  • They determined the type of pillow and mattress that led to the best night’s sleep for each rider. 
  • They even painted the inside of the team truck white, which helped them spot little bits of dust that would normally slip by unnoticed but could degrade the performance of the finely tuned bikes. 

As these and hundreds of other small improvements accumulated, the results came faster than anyone could have imagined. Just five years after Brailsford took over, the British Cycling team dominated the road and track cycling events at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where they won 60 percent of the gold medals available. Four years later, when the Olympic Games came to London, the Brits raised the bar as they set nine Olympic records and seven world records. 

That same year, Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. The next year, his teammate Chris Froome won the race, and he would go on to win again in 2015, 2016, and 2017, giving the British team five Tour de France victories in six years. 

During the ten-­year span from 2007 to 2017, British cyclists won 178 world championships and sixty-six Olympic or Paralympic gold medals and captured five Tour de France victories in what is widely regarded as the most successful run in cycling history.

How does this happen folks? How does a team of previously ordinary athletes transform into world champions with tiny changes that, wouldn’t even seem to make a small difference? 

Why do small improvements accumulate into such AWESOME results, and how can you replicate this approach in your own life? Did I say life? I meant, how can you replicate this approach in your golf game? 

Well, start by walking, and while walking, start by thinking, start by taking the time to focus, start by taking a deep breath…start by enjoying the surroundings and the beauty around you, start by enjoying the friendships and conversations on the tee box waiting for your next shot, start by enjoying the competition and start by improving the little things, one after another…that will accumulate eventually in the big things. This is how the improvement is made. This is how we play better golf. 

Cool?  Cool. Okay, did you guys enjoy this episode? Did you learn something? Do you have a new perspective? Do you want to start walking? I want to know. I would love it if you leave a comment on our episode 6 blog on bettergolfacademy.com, or just email me at hanju@bettergolfacademy.com or I would love it if you leave me a review on iTunes podcast. Make sure you leave me your first name on iTunes review so I can give you a shout out. 

In the meantime, let’s all get better together…and let’s do it by aggregation of marginal gains…1% improvement each day!! What do you think? I think it’s an awesome idea, and it’s an idea that has proven over and over again in all different industries, all different sports, and even all different aspects of life. Yeah? I hope this motivates you to walk the next round, try it out…I think you’ll love it!! 

Hey…Thanks for listening to Better Golf Academy Podcast, I really appreciate you being here. Chow for now. Talk to you next time. 

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