Recognizing a Problem or a Slump

The big talk around the golfing world is the recent play of Jordan Spieth. Many seem panicked that The Masters is just 3 weeks away and the world’s number one player is struggling to make the cut. He has sparks of greatest, but his over all game is not meeting the expectations of himself or the media.

Jordan Spieth’s recent woes are an example for all golfers; professional or amateur. His challenge is not uncommon to most of us, but is he in a slump or is there a problem with his game. The real difficulty is not to fear the sudden changes in our game before we have a chance to figure out what is happening!

Everyone one of us has struggled on the golf course. We have all experienced that challenge of walking to the first tee with high expectations only to realize that we left our game at home! Suddenly, one poor round turns into three or even four. We start to worry that there is a problem, yet we are not sure where to start to improve our scores.

Before we run off fearing the first tee, it is important to figure out if there is a fundamental problem with our game (due to the recent swing woes) or we are just in a slump. I would suggest that in most cases golfers confuse the difference between a slump or a problem. As a result, we focus our fixes in the wrong area.

In my view, the slump is the biggest problem of most players. Everyone struggles from time to time, but their fundamental game is still intact. I would suggest that the slump is more mental than physical. We start to mess around with the 6 inches of real estate between our ears and the darkness grows. We second guess our every thought and hope that the next shot is better than our last. Hence, we perpetuate the dreaded slump.

If there is a problem, it generally stems from a physical challenge. Sometimes our shoulder, back or something causes of our swing woes. Something caused a change to our swing and it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what; but it is generally rooted in the physical world. Of course this might be an oversimplification, but I would suggest that my explanation is an 80% solution to distinguishing between a problem or a slump in our game.

Back to Jordan Spieth. I am here to say that he is in a slump! His swing is still the same, his approach is still focused, and his desire to win is still strong! It does not help having all the golfing pundits second-guess every part of his game and that they focus on his errors more than his successes. As the world’s number one player, there is more pressure than what most professionals face and I think it causes additional challenges in his six inches of real estate. Once, Spieth finds his way out of his current fog, he will be slaying the rest of the golfing world like the days of old.

There is a difference between a problem and a slump in our golf game. I believe that most players confuse the two and try to make changes to fix a perceived problem instead of working on breaking their slump. The challenge of improving one’s confidence and belief that they can still play golf is a discussion for another day, but in the meantime do you know the difference between a problem with your game and a slump?

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

3 thoughts on “Recognizing a Problem or a Slump

  1. Pingback: Fixing your Golf Game – If You Can! – The Grateful Golfer

  2. Jim, Speith is 12th on the money list after only six events. I’d love to have his problems; they are not even a slump, just a minor blip on the poor play radar. The only thing I’m not warm and fuzzy on is his looking at the hole on short putts (sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t). Would like to see him settle on one or the other. He’ll be fine come Masters time.




    • Brian

      Your point is well taken, but a slump is relative to the player. A great player under-performing is still miles ahead of the rest of us! This situation strikes me as similar to Rory McIlroy a few years back. Great year, then two years of struggle. I hope not for Spieth’s sake, but one never knows.


      Liked by 1 person

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