Golf is as much a mental game as a physical one. If you have played even one round, you will immediately understand that how we mentally approach and prepare each shot is as (some would say more) important important as hitting the golf ball. After many of my early years of focusing on my physical game, I took a different fork in my golf journey and this change shaped the player I am today. It was unexpected, yet I was not surprised. Opening my golf mind to different possibilities was definitely a turning point in my game.Continue reading
Every golfer hits a poor golf shot. I know that I have hit my fair share that may or may not be considered my fault. Interestingly, this view of my performance has changed over the years such that I own my poor shots and focus less on the conditions or other factors. Yup, if I attempted to hit the ball, the results have to accepted as my best attempt at that time. This mental acceptance is difficult sometimes, but it does allow for lower golf scores over the course of any round.Continue reading
I laugh to myself all the time when I discuss age with my friends. I am at the vintage where I remember things that might be considered ‘ancient history’ by today’s generation of golfers. Regardless, age is something that is as much a mental state as physical. My view is very evident when you talk to golfers. Many of us believe that we are still in our mid 20s or 30s; when in fact those days are long past. But, is this really a bad thing?Continue reading
Of course most golfers know of Bobby Jones; perhaps one of the greatest golfers of all time. He is famous for being the greatest professional golfer that never was; yet today’s discussion is not about his play, but about one of many quotes he is noted for over his brief tenure as the world’s greatest player. It should make you think about your game and wonder why one of golf’s greatest would be quoted on this topic so often; keep reading and see what I mean. Continue reading
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 élite 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!