Indecision Hurts the Golf Swing

I have played rounds of golf where every decision was quick. I was in a groove, played each shot as designed and, for the most part, everything worked out very well. I have played rounds where I did not think at all and went through the motions. Those rounds were less successful.

Then, there were rounds where I had to think my way around the course. I am talking about those rounds of golf where everything is going well, but course management is critical to success. They are fun rounds and I enjoy these the most. However, I have found that during these rounds, indecision really hurts the bottom line. The number I write on my scorecard is a direct reflection on my level of confidence at that time. Does this happen to you?

We have all encountered that one golf shot were all the factors have conspired to allow indecision to creep into your mind. Unlike Phil Mickelson, we do not have Bones Mackay helping us make the decision. Even if we did, selecting the proper club is still challenging.

Even great players like Phil Mickelson will change clubs from time to time before a shot. It is natural and with so many factors to weigh, indecision can be the root factor for poor results. All amateurs change clubs before a shot, it is natural and as you can see from my poll, changing once or twice is not uncommon.

The most I have every change my mind on shot selection was three. This may seem like an point of indecision, however as I was standing over my ball waiting for my shot, the conditions changed and I needed to reassess all the factors.

A few years back, I was standing adjacent to the 150 yard marker with a slightly uphill lie. The pin was elevated about 4 feet from the fairway with a gentle rise to the green from my position. My initial selection, an 8 iron, was made without thinking. This was a natural shot for me and my selection was as per most instances. There was no room for error at this distance with this club.

However, as I stood there, I realized that the green was slightly elevated and the wind picked up slightly. Still waiting for my turn, I decided to drop down to a 7 iron and swing normally. The extra club should eliminate the factors of elevation and wind. And so I waited. After a few moments, I noticed that the pin had a blue flag. This indicated that the pin was at the back of the green. A new factor to consider.

I pulled out my garmin and realized that the pin was actually around 162 yards from my position and a 7 iron, under these conditions was not enough club. So, I dropped down to a 6 iron. This selection was plenty of club and in the event I miss hit the ball slightly, would still ensure my ball made it to the front of the green.

After changing my mind several times, it was my turn to make my shot. It was important that after finally making the correct club selection to stand confidently over the ball and execute the shot. I wish I could tell you that I made a perfect swing, but this was not the case. I gave up on my swing and as a result pushed the ball to the right and short into a bunker. I was never fully committed to my decision and as a result, I made a poor swing.

The point to my story is that indecision starts from the moment you start thinking about your next shot. Weighing factors is an important aspect of club selection and changing our minds is part of the process. The important factor to remember is that once we have decided on a club, there is no room for indecision. It is time to step up and swing the club without fear. Only then will your club selection process be a benefit to your golf game.

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

4 thoughts on “Indecision Hurts the Golf Swing

  1. I think indecision is particularly bad just because golf is a game that gives you time to think between shots. The game almost encourages indecision. I have probably seen bigger issues revolving around putts. If you aren’t sure on the line, it usually results in a poor stroke. I have found that the best way to address this is the simple mantra “What is my target.” Just saying this before every shot allows me to focus on the shot at hand. Pick a club, pick a target and just focus on that shot. Easier said then done.


  2. If there is one thing I’ve learned about playing golf it’s that nothing good ever happens if you question yourself while standing over the ball. It’s always best to step back and rededicate yourself to the shot if doubt crops up.

    What I hate the most, because it’s one I don’t have a solution for, is when doubt hits me in the back swing. Usually, by the time it registers, it’s too late. I try and keep that from happening too often by taking practice swings at the intended speed, but it stills creeps in on rare occasions and seldom makes for a good swing when it does.

    Liked by 1 person

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