Creating a Winning Mindset in Golf

Have you ever wondered why certain players are always in the winner’s circle? When the pressure increases during the finishing holes of a match, these players remain calm and execute winning strokes without hesitation. Many experts point towards great form, a balanced approach to golf or confidence from hitting a winning shot a thousand times. But is that really all that is needed to play winning golf?

I agree with most of what the pundits suggest, but I also believe there is more to winning in golf than a great swing. Of course, that is the basis of any world class golfers, but there is more to winning than strong fundamentals.

A winning mindset is as important as perfect mechanics. It is critical to have a mindset where all self doubt is non-existent when making that crucial shot. Your mind should be focused on a positive result and not the possibility of failure!

Developing a winning mindset, like developing a soft touch around the green, takes practice and positive intent to stay in the “winning zone”. Training your mind to stay in the moment and successful aspect of winning at golf is challenging and easily achievable.

There are many methods to develop a winning mindset. Here is what I developed over the years:

First, positive visualization. I focus on making various strokes in my mind. I will take the time to sit quietly and visually play sand shots, chip shots, or driving the ball in the centre of the fairway. I will try to mentally and systematically work through all aspects of my swing without a club in my hand. Of course, all strokes are fantastic shots that have awesome results. I use this technique quite often during the off season.

Second, I focus on successful shots when practicing. Most players will analyze the missed shot and what the did wrong. I like to analyze the great shots. I focus on what I did right and ingrained those movements in my mind. I memorize how everything felt, sounded and looked. By focusing on the great shots, your mind will be trained to reproduce that same shot under pressure because of the positive feeling of success when making your golf swing.

Lastly, I practice difficult shots. I will push the ball deep in the grass. Hit chip shots from a divot. I will plug my ball in the sand trap before making that game winning stroke. During each of these difficult shots, I tell my mind that a tournament is on the line and that I must make a great shot to win. By framing the situation, I am creating the same conditions expected during a tournament. When I make an amazing shot, I take the time to think about the successful stroke and I want to duplicate it later.

My approach may seem a bit odd, but developing a winning mindset is part of developing a growth mindset in golf. Changing how we look at each stroke is important to executing the right shot under pressure. Focusing on the positive aspects of your golf swing will strengthen your mind and develop the positive results expected while playing golf.

My off season has started and so has my path to a winning mindset in golf.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Golfing at a New Course

Golfing at a new golf course can be daunting. The unknown is always challenging and can have detrimental effects on the mental aspects of golf. Most amateurs will fill their minds with self-doubt once the excitement of a new adventure on the links runs it course. Personally, I love playing new golf courses because of the challenge it provides my overall golf game.

In a couple of weeks, I will be playing golf in the United Kingdom with my best friend. We plan on playing at his home course at the Northwood Golf Course in Middlesex, UK. I am excited to play there and I am mentally preparing myself for an awesome time on the links!

To prepare to play at a new golf course, I use visualization, positive thinking, and research to help shoot the best score I can. Since my golf season is over in Canada, I will need to focus more on the mental side of my game to ensure the rust of inactivity does last very long.

There are a few aspects I like to focus on before playing a new course. These things help me score low and enjoy my time on the course.

First, I play a bit more conservatively than normal. I focus more on course management, try to leave my approach shots at around 100 yards, and do not challenge hazards. By playing more focused golf, I tend to score better.

I spend a bit more time on the putting green. Most of the time, the most strokes are lost on the greens. By learning the roll of the green, the length of the grass, and some subtile aspects of the breaks of the greens, my scores stay relatively consistent.

Lastly, I focus on hitting off the tee. Using my driver is not always the smartest play when faced with unknown shots. However, I try keeping the ball in play more than normal and sometimes that means using a different club than driver off the tee. It is important to park my ego at the clubhouse.

Playing a new course can be both challenging and fun. Personally, I like both aspects when playing a course for the first time. I will have that chance soon and I will let you know how it went! Do you like playing new courses?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Weight Distribution in Your Golf Swing

Weight distribution is very important to a consistent golf swing. Through the years, I have experimented with all different aspects of weight distribution. Recently, I widened my stance because of a tip from a PGA Tour Canada golfing professional. This small adjustment  increased my power and conversely increased my distance off the tee. Additionally, by widening my stance, the issue of weight distribution re-emerged.

Balance during a golf swing is very important. With proper balance, a player can consistently reproduce the same swing. And consistency is a core fundamental skill required to shoot low scores. After several hours at the driving range, I have determined that the proper weight distribution for my swing occurs when:

  • my knees are over my toes
  • my shoulders are over my knees
  • the inside of my feet are even with my shoulders
  • my arms hang straight down and are about 2 inches forward of my body
  • before my swing, my weight feels centered at the front part of my arches or ankles
  • Finally, during my swing, my weight is transferred from the instep of my back foot to the instep of my front foot

This may all sound familiar and it is. By standing as outlined above, I feel like my body is in a natural stance. When in this position, I hit consistently and hit the ball further off the tee. Also, if I am not in this position, I notice it immediately when I swing the club. Sometimes I fall forward, backward and even sideways if my weight distribution is off.

This is a great drill to help determine the proper feel of your weight distribution during your golf swing.

A good video explaining weight distribution created by a good set up. Their explanation is simple to understand and easy to duplicate.

Finally, Jim McLean talks about keeping your weight distributed on the inside of your arches during your golf swing.

Weight distribution is very important to a consistent golf swing. By controlling your weight distribution, you will lower your score and improve your over all consistency off the tee.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!