Anticipating Your Next Golf Shot

For many players, including myself, each round of golf is wrought with waiting. Waiting for our next shot is can vary from seconds to many minutes. I have watched players hit their ball three or four time before it became my turn. As I watched, I silently tried to keep my focus on what I had to do, but sometimes that was a challenge to say the least. The longer I waited, the greater my anticipation grew for my next shot.

Right about now, you are likely say “so what”, what is this crazy grateful golfer getting on about. Why is waiting to our turn to play so important to our golf game. Maybe, he is going stir crazy because his golf courses are closed. Actually, I was thinking about how to strengthen my mental game and the act of anticipation for my next shot popped into my head.

Hitting between the gap after waiting five minutes!

The length of time between shots can sometimes seem like an eternity. I played a seven hour round (yes seven hours) during a tournament once. I was in the last group and I waited at least 4 hours for my turn to play. It was not that my playing partners were slow, we waited on almost every shot for the group in front to clear our hitting area. This round taxed my mental abilities more than any in my years of playing. I can tell you that anticipating our next golf shot is something that needs a process in ordered to be able to perform when it is time and not weighted down my a lack of focus.

How do we manage any growing anticipation while waiting for our next shot. I have three things I do to make the time pass without causing me any major mental challenges. I have to warn you that these techniques are only good for about five minutes max.

First, I will think about my shot; what I want to happen, the possibilities for success, possibilities of failure, where I want to finish if I cannot make the green, potential hazards, conditions, lie, and risk/reward if any. This seems like a fair bit of things to think about, but I can go through this entire list (and more) in under two minutes. This is my normal process to handle waiting for my shot.

The next two minutes would be spent digging into my bag for a drink, something to eat, or to manage the scores. I would use the time to keep myself busy because if I did not (and this happens from time to time) my anticipation would grow and start to affect my mental processes to making a good shot.

The last minute would be spent walking or pacing off a distance whether I needed to or not. This process would help burn some time and still keep me focused on my next shot and lessen the anticipation of playing it. I realize this sounds a bit silly, but when I consistently wait to play a shot, I have to do something to stay engaged when waiting too long to play.

As a golfer, it is important to address the challenges of anticipating your next shot. Each player must find their own way of coping while waiting to play. There is no real right answer to this situation, but it is critical if we want to shot low golf scores.

Do you have a technique to manage the anticipation of your next golf shot?

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


9 thoughts on “Anticipating Your Next Golf Shot

  1. Pingback: Not Exactly a Comeback – MyBreaking90

  2. I am not sure this is really planning your next shot but here is my philosophy on slow play. When play is slow, play slow. I just try to do everything slower. Walking, shot preparation, and green reading. It seems to help me cope with the whole day. Let’s face it, you can’t do anything about it. I have had some 6+ hour rounds but 7 takes the prize.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vet,

      I am not sure winning a prize for a 7 hour round is really noteworthy. Your advice about playing slower does have merit, however it hurts my natural rhythm when I play. Regardless, we all have to find our own way of coping with extremely slow play.

      Cheers Jim


  3. Hi Jim,
    my best rounds come from a continuation of play, hit the ball, walk to it, make a decision on club selection, and hit the ball again. Once we ae forced to start waiting the decision time is increased and the thoughts about club selection creep in. That’s when things go wrong, continuity of play is important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete,

      I completely agree. My best rounds occurred when I played a constant game where I can keep my flow. Alas, that does not happen all the time, so I have learned to adapt to the changes in the pace of play as much as possible.

      Cheers Jim


    • Brian,

      It wa during a tournament and I was in the last group. It was hot and actually quite mind numbing. I did a lot lying on the ground and running for shade. I won the event by alot and ended up shooting a 7 over 78 that day. I had such a large lead that all I wanted to do was avoid a big number. I was the second lowest in the field that day. Never experienced anything like that since, thank goodness.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Extended waiting is a game killer even to many pro’s. I don’t really have a technique per se, but the way I deal with it is through practice like everything else in the golf game. I go out alone and play behind foursome’s and when they offer to let me play through, I decline. I get a ton of practice waiting. More than I want. But it helps. I don’t get taken out of my game so easily today. The only real thing I can say I do now when forced to wait is to take more practice swings before I approach the ball for the next shot after an extended wait. In my mind I kind of treat it like I would a first swing because that is essentially what it is again.

    Well, this past week I’ve made another small adjustment to my set up. After watching a video on posture (basically how to squat correctly) I decided to give the instruction a try and immediately saw the benefit when trying it out on the course for the first time. And the next shot showed me the biggest issue I’d have to overcome. The adjusted posture changed what I see at address. I’m a little closer to the ground. Not a huge deal you might think, but it can really mess with your mind. It did with me when I stood over an iron shot that first day at least. Being closer to the ground at address changed the lie angle on the club I was holding making it toe up and that didn’t look good to my eye. As it turned out, it wasn’t an issue. In fact it was a benefit because the small amount of extra knee bend gave me more leverage against the ground and somehow the change in bend at the hips made it easier to get around and through. At impact I was still standing up full like I should be. The 1 degree upright lie angle on my clubs still caused an even divot. It just seemed easier to get there and easier to deliver a powerful swing.

    A truly smart person would just go find a good instructor. Someone who can cut through the bs, the tricks the mind plays, and set them on the right path that incorporates the entire swing process. I however, spend the better part of 6 months working on one thing only to find that the thing would be easier had I made another change first. This is the peril of teaching ourselves. But it comes natural to me. I solve puzzles every time I break out the code editor. It’s what I do. Sometimes though I wonder why I put myself through this with golf. I certainly wouldn’t write a program blind like this.

    I too am a confirmed glutton for punishment like I accused you of being the other day. But oohhh, the feeling of accomplishment when you find yourself hitting the ball a little longer than you’ve seen in a long while. On the longest hole in today’s round I hit my approach from the closet point since I moved here just over a year ago. Closer by maybe ten yards. And I didn’t have the wind behind me today. That’s why we do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      Sounds like you have a great process to improve your game. I will say you are very patient because your approach is slow and methodical. Personally, I like it. Of course you have a year round playing season so that helps, ours is considerably less; but the end goals seem to be the same. Great to hear you found a fix that works.

      Cheers Jim


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