As some of you may know, my wife Jackie is a professional poker player and over the past 10yrs, I have discussed the vast similarities of the two. But I think there is one major similarity between the two games that so often has a dramatic negative impact on performance, that similarity is Variance!
As you probably understand, the great variance in Poker is luck and the decisions of others. The luck element is where you could be a 97% chance to win the hand with one card to come and BANG- you lose! Or you make a fantastic play that would work against 80% of your opposition, but this time your opponent decides to act in the opposite manner that you played the hand in!
What about the variance in golf? The 2 main variances in golf are luck and the decisions of yourself. I say the decision of yourself because depending upon how you view luck in golf, can often impact the way you think, act and react on the golf course.
I talk about there being on average 10% Negative variance in a round of golf, almost EVERY round of golf. These negative variances are things such as bad bounces, bad lies, missed putts, poor swings or poor conditions. On the flip side, there is on average 10% of the positive variance in almost EVERY round of golf. These positive variances are things such as good bounces, good lies, holed putts, poor swings that finish in a good position and good sides of the weather.
One of the most empowering patterns of behaviour can be to realise that there is 10% of the negative variance in every round of golf and to not let that 10% of negative variance negatively impact your mindset or attitude during the round. So if you miss a 5ft putt or put a bad swing on a shot, throw that into the basket of negative variance, accept it and move on without trying to fix anything or react to the outcome.
Another great skill when it comes to variance is to focus on realising when the positive variance shows its face! When you get a good bounce, a good lie or hole a nice 30ft putt, embrace the positive variance as this will help you accept the negative variance when it will inevitably show it face!
If you can begin to ride the waves of variance in your rounds you will not only enjoy your golf more, but you will also become a happier, more consistent golfer!