What does it take to win in golf? If you asked 100 golfers this question, I suspect there would be 100 different answers. I could go on about the merits of hitting the ball well, making great contact, or even about the fun times had on the links, but that is the social fun aspect of golf. However, I think every golfer has that light inside that drives them to win when face with adversity. Each shot, easy or difficult, is a test of your efforts prior to making contact. Each shot is a contest and we all want to win!
To win any contest we have to prepare. We need to create a winning strategy. And most importantly, we need to execute our plan with as few errors as possible. If we do all these things, we can win in golf. As I prepare to several tournaments (fun and competitive) over the next month, I will go through a fairly rigid routine prior to each event in attempts to be ready to compete.
My process works for my game. It provides the best chances to win and in the past I have won my share of tournaments. I have finished high in the standings and unfortunately, finished out of the running. Generally my losses are due to execution errors and that happens to everyone from time to time.
My preparation to win focuses on mental imagery, understanding the course I am playing, and developing a course management plan. The last step is the most difficult, especially if I have not played the course before. Regardless, each step is important and provides a basis for winning golf.
Mental Imagery. I use mental imagery to see and feel myself hitting the golf ball. I go through each phase of my swing and always ensure I hit the ball perfectly. I imagine a ball flight for each club that ensures maximum distance and accuracy. I start my mental imagery about a week before competition. I will spend about 15 minutes before bed watching my golf swing through mental imagery.
Understanding the course I am playing. I research the course. I look on the internet; see if there are any recent changes to the layout. I will try to find anything I can about the course that will give me any advantage I can find. Research is an important step. This starts a week before the start of the tournament.
Develop a course management plan. If I have a practice round, then I wait until then to finalize my course management plan. Some tournaments have them, others do not. If not, I rely on my research to guide my plan. My general rule is develop a conservative plan in the first 6 holes and if my game is one, stick to my plan, but be flexible to adjust to the course conditions and how well I am playing.
Execution is the most important step to winning golf. I have to execute all aspects of my swing and plan to the best of my ability on that day. In the past, I was fairly successful; I am hopeful that I will be successful in the near future. Regardless, if I am successful or not, I will continue to prepare and give myself the best chance to win in golf.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
Written my Jim Burton from The Grateful Golfer blog.