How to successfully change our golf game is the pursuit of all golfers. There is little question that if you are bitten by the golf bug, seeking any advantage (legally of course) is at the forefront of your mind when on the links. I know that after many years of playing, I have found only one constant that will successfully and without fail improve our golf game. This lesson is demonstrated to me over and over again, but to maximize my success we will need to temper and mange this one aspect of our game. It is the simplest and most difficult skill to develop. In some cases takes no time at all and others, well……..
The simple answer to how to successfully improve your golf game is to mentally change your approach to your game. It is as simple as that and yet as challenging as anything thing you have tried to master. Don’t get me wrong, the physical aspects of golf are critical and challenging on their own. Know how to hit specifics shots could take a long time to master, but the when and why are just as important.
I am not an expert on the mental side of golf, but I do know that over the years my successes on the links were directly connected to my mental abilities. If you want to delve deeper into this issue, I think that watching a few Bob Rotella video’s will be of great help. My topic of the day is not that you need to develop a stronger mental game (which we all do), but more of not holding on too tight where your mental focus becomes an anchor to poor golf shots. Yes, there are times when being too mentally focused hurts your golf game and here is how.
I can identify when I am mentally holding on too tight because my levels of frustration, disappointment, fear of shots, increased of risky shots for no benefit, and/or creating things that would affect our shot that would normally be dismissed. I am confident that you know what I am talking about because it undoubtedly has happened during a round or two of your own. Mentally, we are wound tighter than a spring and any minor mishap could trigger a deluge of negativity. What I am describing is a mental approach that will cause us fits and as a result, higher golf scores.
The opposite side of the spectrum is no better. The rounds where we care about nothing and focus on the same thing…..nothing. We are going through the motions without a care in the world. Now, sometimes these rounds are fun and we have nothing invested in the results, we are basically out for a walk with our golf clubs. These rounds are no better than ones where we are holding on too tight with respect to our golf score. It might be better because we are not frustrated or angry, however these types of rounds are not necessarily good for our golf game.
This leaves a golfer trying to find something in between the above scenarios. The mental approach that brings out our best games. The games where we mentally feel confident, accept each shot, focus on the success and have fun. This equilibrium is developed over time and is unique to each player. I know that when I played my best rounds of golf I was in this state of calm and focus that is a level higher than my normal games. I try to achieve this zen-like state, but it is a challenge some days. Regardless, being strong mentally is the key to my best golf.
Before signing off, I wanted to restate some advice from Bob Rotella. When you look at his list, how many of the points are related to the mental side of golf?
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.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!