There are many great moments in golf. Each of us have fantastic memories that we can recount in minute detail. Personally, I have many great shots I can happily outline in every detail if asked. These special shots are mine alone and have great meaning to me. They form the bases to my positive approach to golf.
We have all played a round when nothing seemed to go well or everything was going awesome. Then suddenly, one shot changed the fortune of our round. It is not anything we can explain, but happens to everyone.
As I research this strange phenomenon, I cannot find anything concrete to support a reason for such a change in our game, but I do have a theory. Mostly, it has to do with our mental strength. It is the ability to accept every shot during a round without an over-reactive emotional response. Staying calm in the face of adversity and triumph is a key component to low golf scores.
How does one build the mental toughness to stay even keel throughout an entire round? How can we suppress the emotions of great and not so great shots? This is an important question I continue to ask with some success. I have discussed positive self-talk before and it seems to be a growing concept.
In an article from Men’s Journal, Graeme McDowell offers a solution:
To retain focus on important strokes, McDowell follows the advice of U.K.-based sports psychologist Karl Morris, who taught the PGA star that, paradoxically, questions were the answer to self-doubt. “You have to ask yourself the right questions,” McDowell says. He focuses on three specific queries: “What am I trying to do? Where am I trying to hit this ball? How am I going to get it there?” The key, he adds, it to avoid ever wondering “what can go wrong?”
McDowell’s thinking goes like this: Positive questions lead to positive answers. He’s not looking for a solution to long term problems. Instead, he’s focused narrowly on the task at hand. He says this is the key for golfers tortured by their psyches. “Ask yourself good questions,” he says. “Your mind will respond with the right answers.”
McDowell talks about remaining focused during all shots. This approach is extremely important after a fantastic or poor shot. He describes a methodology to remain emotionally strong throughout an entire round of golf. Personally, I subscribe to this approach.
Golf is a strange, yet magical game. In one shot, our fortunes can change for the good or bad. The challenge for most amateurs is to shape our future with our thoughts. This may appear to be a strange concept for golf, but make no mistake it does work. I believe in the power of positive thought and talk – do you?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!