Gaining A Stroke and Losing A Stroke – Isn’t Golf Fun!

I do not know how many rounds of golf I played where I have gained a stroke just to lose it on the next hole. You understand what I mean when you are walking to the tee with a spring in your step due to a birdie, just to be weighed down walking to the next tee after a bogey. I am not sure why this happens, but it happens more frequently than I like to admit. It is during those instances where I realize just how fun golf really can be ūüėČ

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Shooting Low Scores in Golf

I wish I had a magic formula that I could use to ensure that I always shot low golf scores. The fact that I don’t is nothing that causes worry, however only if wishing made it true. I asked the question about your lowest scores ever and I received many awesome responses. I want to thank everyone who took the time to write their score and location because it helps me pass the long hours of my off-season.

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The Mental Challenges of “Can’t” in Golf

Lost and Confused Signpost

Golf is all Mental!

The mental challenges in golf are vast and numerous! What distinguishes an average player from a great player is usually their mental toughness. The ability to have laser like focus when required is something that is honed over time. There are a few who have the innate ability to be mentally strong, but for the most of us, mental toughness must be nurtured and developed.

Through my many years of playing sports, I have developed a keen competitive edge that has served me extremely well. Like other athletes, I have played at the √©lite level in several sports with much¬†success. However, the great times have also been marred with periods of self-doubt and lack of confidence. These dark times always started with one small insignificant word that has the ability to wreak devastation in its path. That word is “Can’t”!

I must have heard this word 10,000 times in my 50+ years of life! But, the greatest negative effect this word has is when I use it against myself.

Years back,¬†a volleyball coach that I knew,¬†always told his players “you are right, you Can’t” if they used that negative word. He told the young athletes that¬†as soon as¬†they say¬†they can’t do something,¬†their mind and body will immediately agree. He further explained that the biggest¬†effect of that word lies in the six inches of real estate between¬†their ears!

This coach’s teachings have stuck with me through the years.¬†He taught me that being mentally strong is extremely important to any athlete. Last year was a great year for me on the links. There are some things I still have challenges accomplishing, but last year’s successes, as I worked towards¬†being a scratch golfer, helped remove the word “Can’t” from my vocabulary.

This does not mean that I am successful all the time, but ‘by removing that word that shall not be spoken’ the doors of possibility stay open. Last year, I tried learning to shape the ball last year with mixed success; I tried chipping the ball with a new stance with greater success; and I stayed focused on the positive aspects of my game with the best results of all. Through this entire journey, I¬†slowly reduced my¬†self-doubt and increased my confidence on the links.

The greatest success story of last year was the improvement in my mental toughness.

I am no longer¬†afraid of tough lies, hitting into the green from 200 yards, or playing over water into the wind. I found that using the word “CAN” helped improve my game significantly. Now, I did have some challenging times and that bad word did try to creep back into my mind, but I quickly vanquished it with¬†a positive attitude and positive self-talk.

Golf offers many challenges when a player has any self-doubt. As I told my friend Brian from All About Golf, I am going improve my game by focusing¬†70% of my efforts¬†on the mental side of golf. I believe that removing “that negative word” is the first place to start. I am mentally preparing¬†to be a scratch golfer and it all starts here and now!

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

Focused Golf – A Whole Approach

Staying focused for 18 holes of golf is challenging. Remaining in the now, experiencing every moment and concentrating for long periods of time tests the mental fortitude of any athlete. Golf is doubly challenging because of the short periods of focused concentration mixed with long periods of walking. Losing focus during a round is extremely easy because of the multitude of distractions on a golf course. Whether it is birds chirping, a deer walking in the fairway, a train going by, an aircraft flying over head or that annoying playing partner, the demands on any players attention seems endless.

Staying focused while golfing!

Staying focused while golfing!

Staying focused for 18 holes of golf is possible. A quick search reveals that many experts have suggestions and methods to hone your focus. They are all good resources and are a great place to start if a player is trying to understand how focus affects their golf game. After years of trying various methods to improve my focus, I developed a 3 steps process that incorporates a whole approach to focused golf.

Staying focused for 18 holes of golf is achievable. To stay in ‘the zone’ for 4 hours is a skill that all golfers have to develop to lower their golf score. This, like many other aspects of golf, is a process. It is a methodology that requires attention, tuning, and execution. The primary tenant for my method is based on positive¬†intent. During each step, it is important to actively decided to focus on all aspects of playing golf better. To play your best and stay focused for 18 holes, I recommend using my proven 3 step approach which will provide the results all golfers want – lower golf scores!

Adopting my 3 step approach will improve your focus and concentration while on the links. This approach is simple, easy to learn, and adjustable. Do not be surprised when you realize that not all my techniques are focused just on swinging a golf club. It is a whole approach to focused golf. If you are feeling adventurous, give it a try; the results might be surprising!

Step 1: Preparation before playing

Start hydrating at least 2 hours before playing. Drink small sips of water every 10 Р15 minutes. Hydrating prior to a match will make sure every player has the energy to complete the round without feeling fatigued in the home stretch.

Visualizing your round. It takes about 10-15 minutes of focused visualization of swinging the club properly. Visualizing the ball going into the hole. And visualizing writing par on your scorecard. Visualizing is an important step to staying focused for 18 holes of golf.

Hit the range and putting green for at least 20 minutes before teeing off on the first hole. Warming up your body before you ‘grip it and rip it’ is a great idea because it allows you to focus on non-swing related aspects of playing golf.

Step 2: Playing 18 holes of Golf

Stay hydrated during the entire round. Continue taking sips of water at every tee. The hotter the weather, the more water you will need to drink.

Eat snacks every 3 holes. Having a piece of fruit, some nuts, or a half of a sandwich will suffice. Eating will keep your physical energy strong and as a direct result, keep you mentally strong for 4 hours.

Have a pre-shot routine. A pre-shot routine will signal your mind that it is time to focus on the shot at hand. A solid pre-shot routine will eliminate all distractions, supports the logic of selecting the right shot, and reduces the pressure of thinking of your shot mechanics.

Enjoy the time between shots. Staying positive throughout your game is critical. Not all shots will be as expected and how we react to these tough times will help shape the rest of the round. Personally, I like to chat a bit with my playing partners, hum a song that lifts my spirits and relishing my beautiful surroundings helps keep me focused on the moment.

Step 3: After your round

When the last ball is holed out on the 18th green, shake hands with your playing partners. Remove your hat (if you have one on) and look them in the eyes. By focusing on them one last time will help prepare you for playing against strangers.

Visualize the round you just played. Go over your round and focus on the positive aspects of your game. If you made an awesome sand save, try to focus on how you swung the club, the sound of the club hitting the sand, where the club contacted the sand and where the ball finished.

Start to focus on your next round. Focusing on the next round will slowly build up the positive energy and mentally strengthen your golf game. This is a mild form of visualization.

Staying focused on 18 holes of golf is more than just playing golf! A whole approach to playing a round will improve your focus during the 4 hours of pressure golf. Being physically prepared is as important as being mentally prepared if you want to lower your golf score. I used the above method extensively this year and I found my focus during my rounds significantly improved. As well, it helped me reach one of my goals of playing to my lowest handicap ever Р2.8.

I am a grateful golfer! Stay focused and I will see you on the links.