Over the years I have experienced droughts in my golf game. The longest in memory lasted about 10 games when I could not break 80, with many of my scores in the mid 80s. This many not seem to drastic, but during that period I could not seem to anything right!
As I struggled to figure out what I was doing different. I tried changing my grip, adjusting my stance, swinging slower, swinging faster, and well, I tried just about anything. Unfortunately, nothing made a difference! Until…….
When I finally broke 80 again, I definitely analyzed everything. I was trying to pin point that one thing I was doing wrong, but I seemed to keep coming up empty with answers. It was very frustrating not to understand what was now working.
Looking back, I completely understand what went wrong! The more I tried to ‘fix’ my physical game, the poorer I played. As things progressively became worse, I adopted a case of the shanks, yips, can’ts, and about 10 other negative thoughts! I really struggled. My struggles were not physical; they were mental!
Golf is a mental game of confidence. It is a sport where the slightest thing can throw you off your game! The six inches of real estate between your ears is either your greatest friend or your worst nightmare. In my case, it was my arch-enemy!
Truthfully, I am not sure how I came out of my funk back then, but now I know how to reduce these mental failings to keep my poor rounds to a minimum. So here is my secret:
- I visualize a great round. I go thorough the holes on the course a couple of times in my mind, with the focus of shooting low scores.
- I apply course management. I accept all my shots and set myself up for success on the next shot regardless of my situation.
- I ignore poor shots. They happen and I accept that I cannot always hit the ball perfectly. If I could, I guess I would be playing on Tour somewhere!
- I accept a bogey and avoid doubles by not following up one mistake with another.
- I self-talk, creating a positive attitude throughout my entire round.
- I putt aggressively! This seems counter intuitive, but by putting aggressively my confidence would grow.
- Lastly, I don’t count my score during the round. The less I think about that, the more I think about playing great golf.
This process really helps keep my game in check. It helps prevent the long periods of poor golf that seems to happen each year. This year, I plan to use my the above points as preventative maintenance. Instead of waiting for things to sour with my game, I will keep my mental game strong and focused on the tasks at hand with the hopes of avoiding the inevitable train wreck!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!