Staying focused for 18 holes of golf is challenging. Remaining in the now, experiencing every moment and concentrating for long periods of time tests the mental fortitude of any athlete. Golf is doubly challenging because of the short periods of focused concentration mixed with long periods of walking. Losing focus during a round is extremely easy because of the multitude of distractions on a golf course. Whether it is birds chirping, a deer walking in the fairway, a train going by, an aircraft flying over head or that annoying playing partner, the demands on any players attention seems endless.
Staying focused for 18 holes of golf is possible. A quick search reveals that many experts have suggestions and methods to hone your focus. They are all good resources and are a great place to start if a player is trying to understand how focus affects their golf game. After years of trying various methods to improve my focus, I developed a 3 steps process that incorporates a whole approach to focused golf.
Staying focused for 18 holes of golf is achievable. To stay in ‘the zone’ for 4 hours is a skill that all golfers have to develop to lower their golf score. This, like many other aspects of golf, is a process. It is a methodology that requires attention, tuning, and execution. The primary tenant for my method is based on positive intent. During each step, it is important to actively decided to focus on all aspects of playing golf better. To play your best and stay focused for 18 holes, I recommend using my proven 3 step approach which will provide the results all golfers want – lower golf scores!
Adopting my 3 step approach will improve your focus and concentration while on the links. This approach is simple, easy to learn, and adjustable. Do not be surprised when you realize that not all my techniques are focused just on swinging a golf club. It is a whole approach to focused golf. If you are feeling adventurous, give it a try; the results might be surprising!
Step 1: Preparation before playing
Start hydrating at least 2 hours before playing. Drink small sips of water every 10 – 15 minutes. Hydrating prior to a match will make sure every player has the energy to complete the round without feeling fatigued in the home stretch.
Visualizing your round. It takes about 10-15 minutes of focused visualization of swinging the club properly. Visualizing the ball going into the hole. And visualizing writing par on your scorecard. Visualizing is an important step to staying focused for 18 holes of golf.
Hit the range and putting green for at least 20 minutes before teeing off on the first hole. Warming up your body before you ‘grip it and rip it’ is a great idea because it allows you to focus on non-swing related aspects of playing golf.
Step 2: Playing 18 holes of Golf
Stay hydrated during the entire round. Continue taking sips of water at every tee. The hotter the weather, the more water you will need to drink.
Eat snacks every 3 holes. Having a piece of fruit, some nuts, or a half of a sandwich will suffice. Eating will keep your physical energy strong and as a direct result, keep you mentally strong for 4 hours.
Have a pre-shot routine. A pre-shot routine will signal your mind that it is time to focus on the shot at hand. A solid pre-shot routine will eliminate all distractions, supports the logic of selecting the right shot, and reduces the pressure of thinking of your shot mechanics.
Enjoy the time between shots. Staying positive throughout your game is critical. Not all shots will be as expected and how we react to these tough times will help shape the rest of the round. Personally, I like to chat a bit with my playing partners, hum a song that lifts my spirits and relishing my beautiful surroundings helps keep me focused on the moment.
Step 3: After your round
When the last ball is holed out on the 18th green, shake hands with your playing partners. Remove your hat (if you have one on) and look them in the eyes. By focusing on them one last time will help prepare you for playing against strangers.
Visualize the round you just played. Go over your round and focus on the positive aspects of your game. If you made an awesome sand save, try to focus on how you swung the club, the sound of the club hitting the sand, where the club contacted the sand and where the ball finished.
Start to focus on your next round. Focusing on the next round will slowly build up the positive energy and mentally strengthen your golf game. This is a mild form of visualization.
Staying focused on 18 holes of golf is more than just playing golf! A whole approach to playing a round will improve your focus during the 4 hours of pressure golf. Being physically prepared is as important as being mentally prepared if you want to lower your golf score. I used the above method extensively this year and I found my focus during my rounds significantly improved. As well, it helped me reach one of my goals of playing to my lowest handicap ever – 2.8.
I am a grateful golfer! Stay focused and I will see you on the links.