I am not sure which is crazier – hoping or wishing for a golf shot? Actually, both are equally loony. Except for the rare occasions where we have to make an absolute miracle shot, if I am hoping or wishing for a good golf shot, I need to go back to the drawing board. I need to re-evaluate my golf game and come up with a better play. Wishing or hoping not the way to play consistent, low scoring golf. It basically is a pipe dream!
Unless you are doing a crazy shot like Tiger Woods is below where hoping for a great result would be at the top of my list, I think a different approach to golf is needed:
To be a low handicap golfer, there is an air of confidence (in some cases it seems like arrogance) required where mentally they know they will make a good golf shot more often than not. Of course, experience and increasing skill helps foster this strong mental attitude, but as an athlete thinking that we can perform a skill whether we can or not is must for future success. It drives the desire to improve and compete.
I take Jack Nicklaus’ quote to heart all the time. I believe that confidence in my abilities in all situations is the key to playing great golf. To achieve that, I have practice many hours over the years, as well as played thousands of rounds of golf. To that end, I feel that in just about every situation I am confident I will hit a good golf shot. This does not mean I will, but I am confident that I can.
Years ago, I realized that about the only time I start to question my abilities (and erode my confidence) is during competition. Every now and again I let the little bit of self doubt creep into my six inches of real estate between my ears. This can cause a cascade of negativity bounce around unimpeded. It has cost me tournaments in the past, but I look back on those events as learning experiences. They have helped develop my mental fortitude I have today as an amateur golfer.
I cannot lie and say that I never hope or wish for a good shot from time to time; but it is not anything I rely on to shot low golf scores. I expect that my ball will go where I aim all the time and expect the result I envision before striking the ball. I expect to meet my high standards of success every time I approach the first tee. This mental strength and confidence is the key to my many successes.
Golf is not about hoping or wishing; it is about confidence and doing. It is very challenging to be successful if you are mentally defeated before you even start your swing routine. As I sign off for today, I want to leave you with something I wrote back in 2016:
DR. BOB ROTELLA, writing for Golf Digest, has ten things that will build confidence in any golfer. Rotella suggests: “I believe every golfer has the potential to be much better than he or she is, and that using the mind is one essential way to improve. You will never know if you have the ability to be the best player in the world, or the best player in your club, unless you commit yourself to developing both your physical and mental skills.” Rotella’s top points to build your confidence are:
- Play to play great. Don’t play not to play poorly.
- Love the challenge of the day, whatever it may be.
- Get out of results and get into process.
- Know that nothing will bother or upset you on the golf course, and you will be in a great state of mind for every shot.
- Playing with a feeling that the outcome doesn’t matter is always preferable to caring too much.
- Believe fully in yourself so you can play freely.
- See where you want the ball to go before every shot.
- Be decisive, committed and clear.
- Be your own best friend.
- Love your wedge and your putter.
It is time to stop hoping and wishing your golf game improves. It is time to start doing and building the confidence needed to shoot low golf scores.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
2 thoughts on “What is Crazier – Hoping or Wishing for a Good Golf Shot?”
Jim, your Nicklaus quote is telling. Haven’t you found that the true way to get to full confidence is mastery of technique? I have experimented with the Rotella methods for the last few years and am a big fan. I’ve also found that he advocates very heavily on the mental side (which is his specialty) but not enough on the physical side. For example, he’s fond of the mantra, “Putt like you don’t care if you make it.” I’ve used this to some degree of success, but only when I know my stroke and fundamentals are sound. If I’m rolling it poorly in a practice session, I don’t get the confidence needed to putt like I don’t care until I clean up my technical mess. It’s an interesting dichotomy this mental and physical thing.
Thanks for the interesting thought provoking post. I’m off to work on my fundamentals!
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I think that every athlete has tonhave the air of confidence before they have mastered the skill they want. Then as they work on their game, a different kind of confidence sets in. The mental side of the equation is such that the up and coming player has no fear and is willing to put the time in to develop what is needed during that stage of growth. It is like a stair case where the riser is mental and the step is physical. We have to be careful not to fall into the chicken and egg trap.
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