Have you ever realized how much worry and anxiety is generated on the golf course? We lament about most shots to make, the lie of the ball, unlucky bounces, poor aim, challenging swing thoughts, and I could go on and on. Of course, this type of stress is experienced by most athletes, but golf is such a cerebral game, I think it might take its toll a bit more the players. If you think about it, when is the last time you played golf and did not experience some sort of emotional roller coaster?
Of course, there is a bit of tongue and cheek in the above paragraph. The mental challenges we experience playing golf are temporary and manageable. Playing a sport where I actually get to think instead of react is great fun and offers a level of enjoyment other sports do not. Playing a thinking game (as well as trying to physically play) is one of the draws I have to playing good golf. Nothing is routine and most situations require a different approach to making the great shot.
Unfortunately, there are some days where I allow my worry to take over my game. I get so wrapped up in all the process, I forget that golf is meant to be fun and played with a bit of controlled abandon. My disappointment in a poor shot is compounded by another because I lose my golfing perspective. This mental lapse has caused more poor scoring rounds than anything else over the years. And to my disappointment, when I get on that crazy mental slide I am challenged to ‘snap out of it’.
To avoid excess worry, I start to mentally prepare prior to the round. Yes, I use techniques like visualization, meditation, focused swing thoughts, and more. These techniques really help keep my mental game sharp and prepared for the unknowns of each round. Additionally, they dampen the lows of a poor swing and enhance the positive feeling of a great shot. I cannot overstate the importance of mental preparation before teeing it up. It is as important, some would say more, than the actual physical ability of swinging a golf club.
So, before you head to the first tee next time, take a minute to ground your mental thoughts. Think about playing and scoring well. Visualize, meditate, and concentrate on making great swings all the time. It only takes a minute and will set you up for success.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!