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.
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!