Hi everybody!! Welcome to Better Golf Academy Podcast, I am your Host Hanju Lee and I just want to say thank you for listening. So, have you been watching the PGA tournaments lately? I don’t know about you but dang…so crazy. I mean, I usually watch the final round on Sundays and I love following the leader or the last group shot by shot. I guess I love doing that mostly because I try to imagine what is like going into the final round with the lead and see what kind of drama unfolds. I just imagine the anticipation and the built-up pressure of trying to win the tournament..the pressure putts and errant shots and how each player overcomes or even crumbles. Sometimes, I get really emotionally involved…the last few weeks definitely hasn’t disappointed though. Did you guys watch Cameron Champ at the Safeway Open in Napa? The 24-year-old who won by one shot? He tributed the win to his grandfather who has stage 4 cancer and is in hospice care who taught him the game. Oh man…when he broke out in tears at the end…and when they interviewed his dad who was also in tears saying how much it means to his dad (Cameron’s grandfather)…it’s impossible not to feel loss yet also feel the sense of the sweet victory and the legacy that is being celebrated. Whew…  

AND, did you guys watch Kevin Na’s Shriners Open win in Vegas? OMG, when his little daughter Sophia ran up to him and as he looks at the camera and says, I would like to say something…then he sincerely and emotionally thank his supporters for always believing in him. Dude…it doesn’t get any better. So good.  Ok, I am not gonna lie…I teared up a bit…both Sundays.

But hey, let’s talk about my podcast listeners. As promised, I want to give a shout out to a listener who wrote me a review on iTunes. Thank you so much Trent for leaving me a 5 star review. He writes…I love this podcast! So, I was just searching for a golf podcast to better my golf game and came upon this one. From the moment Hanju starts speaking you are hooked! He is so knowledgeable about the sport and is able to explain it in a way that is easy to understand for every skill level of golfer. I am always excited to see what the next episode is going to be about!! Kee it up Hanju!!

Well Trent!! Thank you so much for your encouragement and taking the time to let me know that you are excited to see what’s next!! I will always try my best to deliver good content that will help you better your game. Keep listening and Thanks again!!

Skip to: 04:08 Drive to the Course

Okay…so, you know what’s funny? I get ready to drive to the golf course for a round and the local course around here usually takes about 20-30 minutes to get there and I am always thinking to myself, ok, what can I listen to on the way there that could really put me at a right frame of mind, or even help me prepare to play really good golf today.  Do you guys ever think that? Or, do you guys have some type of routine you have for your pre-golf drive? I would love to hear about it. 

Anyways, I thought, hmmmmm…why don’t I come up with something that could really help. Maybe, I can listen to it myself and it will help me too. LOL.

So, I thought long and hard and asked myself this question. “What would I consider a successful day?” Let me rephrase that…if I ask myself…” okay, today, after the round, when I am driving home, what needs to happen on the golf course that would make me think…that was a great day.”  Because so many times in my life, I had a miserable drive home. You with me? So many regrets, so many missed opportunities…so much humiliation and so much money lost. And when I say so much money lost, I mean like $10 dollars. But still, I just hate losing. But there are also times when I drive home super pumped!! It was a great day, I had so much fun!! I played great!! I won!! Whatever it might be…I was excited and couldn’t wait for my next round.

I thought long and hard and asked myself…” what makes a difference from a good day from a bad day? “What makes a difference from I am disappointed to I am happy?”

So, I want to dedicate this episode to set you up before the round so you can have a great day on the course and be happy after. Cool?

Skip to: 06:20 Happiness

I was watching a TedTalk the other day given by an entrepreneur and economist named Nat Ware. He’s a Rhodes Scholar based at Oxford University whose research focuses on social impact, poverty alleviation and the economics of happiness. And so…he seems really smart and has done a lot of research on this subject so I decided to listen. And, as soon as I started listening, what intrigued me was his very first opening line. He said this…He said…”I remember being shocked the first time I went to Africa. I was shocked when I met a one-legged taxi driver in Kenya. I was shocked when I met Sonia an orphan schoolgirl in Rwanda. And I was shocked when I met a disabled subsistence farmer in Mozambique. What shocked me wasn’t their poverty, but their happiness. Then, he did a quick survey with the crowd.  Want to do this survey with me? He basically asked these questions to the general public and after, he shares the answers according to the research. Ready? 

  • First question: Imagine that you’re competing in the Olympic Games representing your country, what would you prefer out of the following, answer honestly: 
    • Who would prefer to come in second? 90%
    • Who would prefer to come in third? 8% (research) 
    • Who would prefer to come in second to last? 2%
  • Second question: You won the lottery. What would you prefer?
    • Get $10 million tomorrow. 92%
    • Receive increasing payments and get $8 million in total. 8% (research)
  • Third question: You get to choose your salary and you only care about your own happiness. What would you prefer:
    • You get $50k, everyone else gets $50k. 60%
    • You get $50k, everyone else gets $60k. 34%
    • You get $40k, everyone else gets $30k. 6% (research)

Let’s now let’s see what the actual answers are. What does the research say about what actually makes us content, what actually makes us satisfied, what actually makes us happy?

It’s not just us that is a bad predictor of happiness, the macro data actually support this as well. We are wealthier than ever but unhappier than ever. We are more prosperous but more depressed. We are less satisfied. We have faster transport, but we complain about it, there is more suicide than homicides in most countries, we have more goods and services than ever before, we have technology improving exponentially, but we don’t see the corresponding increase in our life satisfaction, in our happiness. 

So, why? Why are we so bad at predicting and why are we so unhappy? And through his research over the years, he said there’s one explanation that he finds far more compelling, far more plausible, far more persuasive than any other. The reason why we’re unhappy, the most compelling reason –  as shown by the data, as shown by research – relates to…expectations. What? Yup. Expectations. At a very simple level – we’re unhappy when our expectations or reality exceed our experiences of reality.  This is called the EXPECTATION GAP.

The conclusion was that there’s an expectation gap that’s causing us to be unhappy. This very expectation explains why a bronze medalist can be happier than a silver medalist, because the silver medalist imagines coming first, the bronze medalist images coming forth. It’s the expectation that explains why, often, lottery winners aren’t that happy; their happiness doesn’t last…because they don’t have that increasing level of satisfaction throughout their life. It’s the expectation that explains why you can be happier with an income of $40k vs to an income of $50k 

I had this incredible epiphany about 5 years ago that really changed my perspective on golf. First, I was getting so frustrated with the game that I really wasn’t having fun at all. I felt like I’ve always been a devout and committed learner of the game. I’ve been playing golf for so many years. I have so much respect and  knowledge of the game. I feel like I put so much effort in to improving every area of my game. I work on my strong fundamentals, and eliminate a lot of my swing mistakes by hours of drills and range time, I even try to play smart and strategic golf week after week…but I just wasn’t improving. But you know what I was doing? I was going into every round with such high expectations of how I needed to play, what score I need to shoot. And I thought to myself, why am I making myself just miserable?

So, I started to thinking…how do I really manage my expectations before I start playing today? What should I be thinking about and how should I posture my attitude so that I can be the best that I can be out there and at the same time, at the end of the round, I’ve really enjoyed and had a great time, and I am also excited to keep learning, and I am excited to keep growing and I am excited to keep getting better at this game?

Great question. I think there are three crucial things we must think and understand.

Skip to: 15:06 #1: Understand the Reality of Golf

It’s considered the hardest game ever invented. Not only the physical, but also in the micro level since the margin for error is very miniscule. Also, did you know that in golf, good swing and even good shots can produce bad results. It’s irregular, every course is different, 1 degree off on your impact can move your ball 20 yards off target including the spin that will produce a slice or a hook. Have you ever seen a professional lose it out there? And these guys are working on their game for hours and hours each day, trying to perfect every shot. Ben Hogan, one of the greatest legendary golfers of all time said he hits about 10 shots a round the way he wanted to. So, keep that in mind before you step out there. That’s just golf. Be okay with it…in fact, celebrated it, that’s why we love the game. It’s a lifetime pursuit. 

Skip to: 16:17 #2: Understand the Reality of YOUR Game

Now, ask yourself, when is the last time you played, or how often you play. Ask yourself how many hours you practiced this week. Ask yourself how confident you feel about your current ability to crush it out there. Be realistic. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying walk out there with your head down thinking to yourself why am I even out here, I suck and I am going to suck today. I mean, be realistic, know your strength and know the shots you’ve hit before and you can consistently do it again and again. And also know that you can hit your best shot, but that doesn’t mean you will do it the same next time…or it will result in your favor.

Skip to: 17:06 #3: Expect the Unexpected

Okay…now, without having unrealistic expectations on how you are going to play today, play your best. Focus on every shot, don’t half-ass it. Concentrate and put in your best effort…knowing what you know. Think positive and build your confidence in the shots that you are hitting well. Expect the unexpected, whether it’s good or bad, be okay with it. Expect bad shots to end up close to the hole, expect good shots to go in the water with a bad bounce…expect the unexpected. Be okay with the result, it’s golf.

Skip to: 17:53 Summary

Here’s the thing. We are terrible predictors of what we think is going to give us the best round today. Just like we are terrible predictors of what’s going to make us happy and excited at the end of the round. But if you manage your expectations correctly, you’ll be sure to win no matter what and even have the best time doing it…isn’t that why we are really out there in the first place?

I don’t want you to misunderstand that you need to go blindly out there and let whatever happens, happen. There’s a difference between having goals and having expectations. We HAVE to want to get better and set goals, grind away on the driving range, spend hours perfecting your touch around and on the greens…we need to pursue this game with everything we can to get better, but once we step out on the course, don’t fool yourself, your hard work doesn’t guarantee you a thing. Expectations hold you in an infinite loop of false possibilities. So…here’s my advice. Rest in your own truth. Free yourself.

Five years ago, when I had my epiphany, this is the new logic and reasoning that went through my head. First, my question was, why am I not playing scratch golf? And I am frustrated every time I play…and why am I losing to players that haven’t put in the effort that I’ve put in? Then I thought, wait, I don’t work on my game as hard and long as I should, wait, this is a really really difficult game that can result in strings of bad misfortunes, wait, one bad hole can kill my entire round, wait, I am not a pro, wait, even pros struggle out there. Then, I decided to just free myself from unrealistic expectations and just go out and play my best and have a blast doing it. Guess what, the pressure, the anxiety, and frustration left me…and I’ve been playing my best golf.

So, #1. Understand the reality of this golf game  #2. Understand the reality of your own game and #3. Expect the unexpected when you go out there. Put in your best effort for every shot and celebrate the good, be okay with the bad. 

Cool?  Cool. Okay, did you guys enjoy this episode? Are you guys ready to have some fun? I want to know. I would love it if you leave a comment on our episode 7 blog on bettergolfacademy.com, or just email me at [email protected] 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 managing our expectations and let’s have a blast out there.  Remember the surprise and shock when he met a one-legged taxi driver in Kenya, when he met Sonia an orphan schoolgirl in Rwanda. And when he met a disabled farmer in Mozambique. What shocked him wasn’t their poverty, but their happiness. 

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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