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!