As amateur golfers it does not take much to change our golf game. I guess the same is for the professionals, but I would suggest they are better equipped to avoid those defining moments. It does not take much in some cases to change our attitude, confidence or comfort from good too bad. Likely the opposite is true, but I find fall into the abyss is easier than climbing out.
Understanding our swing mechanics is helps redefine out focus if things are heading south, yet I believe it is not the real challenge. Generally, our swing mechanics remain constant throughout a round of golf. Of course, the better the golfer, the more consistent. But overall, focusing on swing mechanics is a rabbit hole that does not prevent the slide in the wrong direction.
There are many possible answers to this question because of its personal nature. For some, it is a miss hit with their driver or missing a short putt. Immediately they say, “Here we go again!” It is as if they were expecting to fail and were waiting for that one moment when the do. Now they can relax because they have something to blame for their poor score.
Amateurs tend to develop low or negative expectations of their golf game. It is as if they expect to fail and want it to happen sooner so they can enjoy their round of golf.
My situation is similar. I have expectations to shoot by best score every time I hit the links. I think that every hole is a birdie hole and every putt is make-able. Now, many of you are saying common on, that is just unrealistic! It is impossible to birdie every hole or sink every putt. Of course the reality is I cannot accomplish these things, but the important aspect is that I think I can. And this positive expectation helps guide my game to new levels.
My downfall on the golf course occurs when I stop believing I can birdie every hole or sink every putt. I start to doubt my abilities and this negativity has a direct impact on my golf score. Let me give you an example.
Two years ago I was in a 54-hole regional golf tournament at Petawawa, Ontario. I have played in many of these events over the years and every time I have entered thinking I could win. The real goal, however, is to finish in the top 5 to qualify for nationals. I have accomplished both in the past, but it is very challenging because of the quality of the field. Before I teed it up on the first day, I set only one goal, shoot in the 70s on all three days. If I accomplish this goal, I have a chance to advancing to the next level.
Petawawa is a tough track. It tests all parts of your game, especially your course management and shot making skills. During the first two days, I shot a 79, 79. Fairly reasonable, but I had a triple on each day. This mental lapse on one hole was something I want to avoid on the last day. As I started playing, I quickly realized that the last round was going to be more stressful and challenging than first two because of the heat and wind.
After the first 13 holes, I was on track to shoot 82. I jumped on the bogey train early and stopped believing I was good enough to play at this level. With 3 doubles on my card, I was finding it difficult to stay positive and focused on my game. I made on final attempt to correct my game and as I was heading to the 14 hole, I gave myself a pep talk and reaffirmed that I was a good player and anything could happen as long as I believed. Well suddenly, something happened. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of my game (which would have been my downfall) I remained focused on what I could do. After a great up and down on 14 for par, I went 15 – birdie, 16 – par, 17 – birdie and 18 – birdie. I finished the round shooting a 79. On a side note, it was the best finish by anyone on the last 5 holes all week.
I accomplished my first goal of shooting 3 rounds in the 70s, but missed advancing to nationals by 3 strokes. I finished 7th overall. I was disappointed because I was very close, but was satisfied with how I turned my game around in the last 5 holes of the last round.
Believing in my game is critical to lower golf scores. The moment I stop believing is the downfall for me on the links. My positive attitude and confidence help overcome the bad shots and enhance the feeling satisfaction on the good ones. I try to start this positive thinking before I hit the first tee because it is important, if for some reason I do not, well, let’s just say that those rounds become practice rounds.
What Causes Your Downfall on the Golf Course?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!