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!
What inspires you to excel? Have you ever been in a situation when watching athletes perform at an élite level sweeps you in to the moment? Has someone ever inspired you to achieve greater success in your life? These and many other similar questions are thinks that I think about from day-to-day.
This exact situation happened to me today while I was working out. As per my previous post about my goal to be a scratch golfer this year, I have embarked on a fitness program. So far I have been very successful and doing well at keeping to my 30 minutes of lifting weights and 30 minutes of cardio four days a week. Additionally, I throw in walks, yoga, squash and snow shoeing on the off days.
Anyway, as I was saying, while working out today I was watching the Olympics. Specifically, the 1000m woman’s speed skating relay race where Canadians were going for gold. As I watched the speed, precision and athleticism during the event, I found myself going faster and faster on the elliptical machine. It was crazy; next thing I knew I went one kilometer further than normal and felt great. As I watched, I unwittingly became inspired and exceeded my expectations for my work out. I thought this was pretty cool.
The more I thought about the situation, the more I realized that I am inspired by many of the people in my life. For example my darling wife who always knows how people are feeling and what to do; my friend who called me every week during some medical challenges I had a few years back; my friends in Hawaii who introduced me to the law of attraction and are LIVING their lives; my daughter who no matter what chooses what is best in any situation; I am truly blessed to be surrounded by inspiring people – I am grateful they are in my life.
So how does the relate to golf you may ask. Well, golf is a mental game. Every time you hit the links your mood, thoughts, attitude and mental awareness affect your game. This is one sport where it is beneficial to have the whole package – the mental and physical. My best scores have always come on the days when I felt inspired. It is difficult to sustain the euphoria of inspiration, but I believe having inspiring people in my life is a great way to start.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links.
This question has many dimensions. Each player will have a different answer on which aspect of golf is important enough to enable them to consistently score lower. This question has nothing to do with establishing a handicap or periodically having a great round. No, this is not course management either; although course management is extremely important! The question focuses on consistently identifying moments in a round where strokes can be saved.
How exactly does an amateur golfer excel at identifying these important moments? To understand the ability to score, answer the following questions:
- When looking at a shot from the middle of fairway, do you examine all your options?
- When in the rough, do you look at the grain of the grass before selecting a club?
- When just off the green, do you use different wedges depending on the slope of the green?
- When on the tee, do you visualize how to play the entire hole?
- When on the green, do you understand the importance of a lag putt?
- On your approach shot, do you focus on more than just yardage before club selection?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you have the ability to score in golf. The mental aspect of the game is equally, if not more important than being able to hit the ball a country mile. Focused attention to the finer points of playing golf will definitely lower your score.
If you’re wondering how to gain this skill, well it starts by asking the above questions. This was not an all-inclusive list, but the start of the many finer points that élite golfers pay attention to while walking the links.
So, I ask again; Do you have the ability to score in golf?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!