Playing The Game
Stage Four focuses on playing the game, which involves bringing all aspects of the game into a
total package.  In Stage One you developed the Fundamentals necessary for playing the game.  
In Stage Two you incorporate techniques that allow you apply your skills more effectively.  
Stage Three focuses on customizing your skills to your own particular body mechanics.  In
Stage Three we discussed packaging your biomechanics into a total package, one that would
satisfy the needs of Owning Your Swing.  Now it is time to Own Your Game, and that is
precisely what Stage Four is all about.  

The Secrets of Owning Your Game (slated to be the last book in the Power-of-Three Golf
series) will all aspects needed to Own Your Game.  It means bringing your Imperative,
Fundamentals, and Essentials as well as your Inner and Mental skills into a total package.  That
package is organized specifically to employ a complete game, one well suited to the task of
playing your best golf.

Let's investigate the importance of Stage Four training.  If internalize the fundamental skills,
employ the effective techniques, and customize your stroke with your particular body mechanics
in mind, however, fail to execute a sound game plan, with proper club selections, and adequate
focus, you will fail to achieve your golfing goals.  To use the skills developed in the first three
stages you must master the skills in stage four.  In short, mastering these skills means
mastering yourself.

What sort of aspects does Stage Four training involve?  For one it involves discipline.  
Discipline is an important facet of the game.  Jack Nicklaus is perhaps the most discipline golfer
in history and in
Jack Nicklaus The Full Swing he wrote, "This takes a lot of discipline, but then
golf demands a lot of discipline at all times.”  What else is important in Stage Four, preparation
is important.  Jack Nicklaus has often made comments on the importance of preparation.  In The
Full Swing Jack Nicklaus writes, "Golf is really two games. The first is ball striking, shotmaking -
the physical side.  The second is strategy, tactics, course management, self management - the
mental and emotional side.  Unfortunately nobody is a "born golfer" in either department.  Some
people may have more innate talent  than others for one or both elements of the game, but how
well a person ultimately plays depends on how well he or she learns both elements.  And, make
no mistake, if you want to be a really fine player it's a long, hard process.  I've been learning
both games of golf now for more than 30 years, and I still see no end to the process."  In that
quote we can see how the game requires the discipline to stick with the process as well as
places a lot of importance on preparing properly.  As Jack Nicklaus continues to talk about this
process he describes the physical part of the game as being dependent on 80% preparation
and  20% execution.  To that end he actually writes, "Reverse those porportions and you'll
always be a hacker."  Additionally Jack Nicklaus writes, "I make this little pitch because here I
want to remind you once again, as we begin to talk about the swing itself, that how effectively
you swing a golf club depends
almost entirely on how well you have prepared to do so."

Though Jack Nicklaus speaks of preparing the physical skills, I believe preparation is also 80%
of what he calls the second half of the game.  I believe this because all the skills in Stage Four
need to be internalized in to habit.  These habits must all be continually reinforced.  When
playing golf we find ourselves dealing with the pressures of the moment, and our ability to
manage those situations successfully are dependent on how solid our habits are maintained.  

The habits that will carry through the most pressure filled moments are the ones that are
internalized to the dispositional level.  Your disposition is the underlined set of beliefs, thoughts,
attitudes, preconceptions, and all other inner game and mental factors that determine how you
will act or react in each and every situation you encounter.  You might say your disposition is
the deepest level of your belief system.  It is the foundation and it contains the cornerstones of
your beliefs.  It contains all the influences of your upbringing and social conditioning that you
carry with you into each moment.  It involves all the preconceptions you adhere to from moment
to moment.  It involves how open or closed minded you are.  Do you allow new information to
influence all your preconceptions or do you dismiss all that is new to hold on to the past?

Basically your disposition is your underlined way of being at any given moment, and if you want
to be successful, then you need to internalize the knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, behavioral
habits, intentions, confidence, trust, and fortitude that lay the foundation for success.  If do what
needs to be done to be prepared at the dispositional level you will experience success as a
habit instead of periodically.  In my opinion, spending the effort to create a disposition designed
for success is one of the most important goals of Stage Four training.  

If you've ever heard of someone being predisposed to act in a certain way, then you understand
how the disposition works.  Most people have reoccurring situations that involve being
predisposed to act or react in a certain manner each time they encounter a situation.  Maybe it
is the way you act or react around a family member when they behave in a certain manner.  
Maybe it occurs in a work situation.  Or, go figure, maybe it happens on the golf course!!!  

For most of use there are many situations that bring out our predisposed behavior patterns.  
The real question is, are you predisposed to act in a positive and productive manner or are you
predisposed to behave in a negative and non-productive manner.  I recommend you assess
your behavior patterns and figure out where you can strengthen your disposition.

I once heard Martina Navratilova (the famed tennis star) say that one day she realized she
could lose, and she started losing more often.  Before, that point she was simply in the habit of
winning.  Everything she did was designed and organized for the goal of winning.  Her routines,
her training, her focus, her skills, and all factors needed to be a winner were internalized with
such discipline that she was predisposed to win.  Roger Federer seems to possess the same
disposition for success, a disposition Tiger Woods understands and respects.  The may be one
of the reasons the have become good friends.

Keep in mind the process of being predisposed for success is an ongoing process.  Remember
Jack Nicklaus' words, "I've been learning both games of golf now for more than 30 years, and I
still see no end to the process."  Everyday I evaluate everything and anything that influences my
disposition, and everyday I find something that can use improvement.  When I was younger I
remember thinking, "Even Jack Nicklaus can find things to improve day after day, so why would
I be any different."   Tiger Woods is the same, day after day, week after week, month after
month, and year after year continually looking for ways to improve.  Jimmy Conners and Andre
Agassi we two tennis stars that seem to be successful well beyond the age of the average
tennis star.  Both players had been asked what they attributed their longevity to, and both
players responded that they simple worked on improving every day.

Observing the tendencies and the leadership of these great players has encourage me greatly.  
Because of this the concept of improving has become one of the cornerstones of the New
Horizons Golf Approach.  By this I mean "improving is the standard!" The concept of perfection
is held as an ideal instead of a goal.  It is a beacon to work toward, however, "improvement" is
the daily goal.  As long as you are improving you are you are on your way to achieving your
goals.  All you have to do is stay the course, keep improving.  

The hardest thing for people to come to terms with while improving is to be patient.  
Improvement is a life long process.  People often look at improvement as if it is the means to an
end of a journey.  They feel that all they have to do is complete the journey and they will have
the "Holy Grail" of golf - so to speak.   

The fact is, the journey will always continue, until the day you die.  One of my students told me,
"The older you get you have to strive harder to improve just to keep from losing ground."  He
was 72 years old when he said it.  And I think he was correct.  When we are younger we work
hard so we can actually improve.  When when mature we work hard to make minor
improvements that have great influence.  Then when we are older we work hard to improve so
we can continue to enjoy, at least, are present levels of performance.  Eventually we strive to
improve just so we lose ground as slowly as possible.  It is are basic fight for life, it is about
survival when it be our golfing life, our livelihoods, or a fight to keep breathing.

With all this in mind, Stage Four training will focus on all aspects that influence  playing the
game.  It will create a total approach to the game, an approach  based on the principle of always
improving, and it will be organized for continued success.

On the right side of this webpage you will find the New Horizons Golf books that relate to
improving your Stage Four skills.  You will also find links to articles written by EA Tischler that
shed some light on critical Stage Four influences.

Please be patient with the frequency of those uploads.  As you can imagine this website is a
growing project and commands a lot of attention to keep it improving.  However, since
improvement is the New Horizons standard we are committed to the growing concerns that
influence this websites improvement.  

If you have any questions regarding New Horizons Golf Approach please contact
EA Tischler at (408)203-7599, or email your questions to EA Tischler
Copyright 2009 Ed Tischler / New Horizons Golf Approach. All rights reserved.
New Horizons Golf Approach
I n n o v a t i v e  C o a c h i n g  F o r  G o l f e r s
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