Like most of the country, I was glued to my TV on Sunday, watching Shane Lowry win The Open. I’m not a golfer, but I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying every moment from start to finish. As I watched I realised that we can learn a lot from Shane.

Things go Wrong

Shane missed the cut at the previous four Opens. After Carnoustie, he sat in his car & cried. Sometimes, you will have worked hard for an exam and it just doesn’t go your way. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t know the subject, things just went wrong. Missing the cut didn’t mean that Shane Lowry couldn’t play golf.


If you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same results. Shane knew that for his golf to improve, he had to make changes. The biggest was replacing his caddie. If how you are studying isn’t working for you, then you need to change the way you study.

Seek Help

Shane knew that his head wasn’t in it on Wednesday before the Championship began. He got some help from his coach by way of a 40-minute chat in a pub that evening. If you don’t understand something, ask for help from a teacher, or a pal who does understand it. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness – just ask the current Open Champion.


The best golfers in the world practice. When you are learning a new skill or subject you need to practice and study it. Practice does mean that at times you will make mistakes. That’s ok. Take the feedback from those mistakes and apply yourself again.


This is most important. Believe in your own abilities. You may not have the skills or knowledge yet – but you can have them in the future. Stop comparing yourself to others, there will always be greater & lesser people than yourself.

Enjoy your success

When you achieve something, enjoy the feeling. No matter how small, add it to all the other achievements that you’ve made. In time, it will become a powerful force, a litany of success that you can tap into at any time that you need reassurance. You have overcome challenges before, you found subjects hard before and now you find them easy.

Have Fun Like Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry laughed and smiled his way around the golf course, despite the pressure. His caddie kept him grounded and living in the moment. We learn more easily when we are having fun. Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom. There can be opportunities to learn at every turn but more so when we are having fun because we learn without ‘having to’.

So, have lots of fun over the Summer, learn loads while having fun and remember that when a lad from Clara in Co Offaly can become The Open Champion, you too can achieve great things – when you put your mind and energy to it.

Elaine Sparling is the creator of the Hummingbird Learning Method® and CEO of the Hummingbird Learning Centre who help adults and children with their literacy needs. They also run their popular study course called Study Success. This program is delivered on a one to one basis over 4 sessions. Based in Adare and Tralee, she can be contacted on 087-2996054 or through their website

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