Avoiding The Late-Round Collapse in Golf
Have you ever self-destructed during a round of golf?
The late-round collapse is one of the most frustrating experiences a golfer can have…
You are playing well… then, for some unexplained reason, your golf game makes a 180 degree turn around and you play your worst golf ever during the last few holes.
This happens a lot to golfers who unravel with they make a bogey or two and become frustrated–it can snowball out of control.
It’s no different than that helpless feeling you have after a long drive and you suddenly see your ball slowly rolling towards the water hazard… You want to stop it but you have to stand there and watch it drop in the water.
Feeling as like your round is collapsing during a round of golf is not only disappointing but devastating.
Some golfers find it difficult to get over those collapses, which affect their next round or their next tournament.
What is the reason for such collapses? If you can grasp why late-round collapses happen, you can improve your ability to close out a good round.
For example, Shane Lowry suffered a horrible performance collapse at the 2016 U.S. Open. Lowry was up four strokes at the start of the Final Round and, after shooting 6-over par, ended up three strokes behind the eventual winner and tied for second.
Lowry’s final round included seven bogeys and a string of three-putts on the back nine.
After the tournament Lowry dejectedly said, “Bitterly disappointed… It was there for the taking and I didn’t take it.”
Lowry felt helpless to stop the epic collapse.
LOWRY: “It just kind of spiraled out of control from there. It was one of those where I’d give anything to have that wide shot on 14 back again. Everything happened quickly but, you know, that’s the way — that’s what happens when you play a few bad holes.”
The ultimate question is… Was there really nothing Lowry could do to break out of that performance rut on the final day of the tournament?
Let’s go back to Lowry’s quote and examine the problem:
1. Lowry felt out of control. Feeling out of control is 100 percent mental. Most golfers who experience this feeling haven’t developed the mental tools to stop the snowballing effect of a few bad shots, let alone prevent the collapse in the first place.
2. Lowry stated, “Everything happened quickly.” Lowry needed to take a mental timeout to relax, regain composure and re-focus on his present shot. Sometimes, slowing down the game can give you time to get back on track.
3. Lowry resigned himself to accept that bad holes mean bad rounds. Lowry had the misconception that there is nothing you can do and no way to rebound after a couple of bogeys.
The lesson to learn is that with the proper mental tools, you can play through a few tough holes and grind out a victory…
That is the mentality Dustin Johnson had to come from four strokes down to become the eventual 2016 U.S. Open champion.
How to close out a round of golf:
When you are immersed in the middle of a few bad holes, your thoughts bounce back and forth from replaying bad shots to what your end score might be.
Take a mental timeout. Remind yourself a bad hole doesn’t guarantee a bad tournament.
It’s not the few shots that are hurting your game but your inability to let go of the thoughts about those bad shots.
Sometimes, you have to grind out the final few holes, but this is impossible if you think you are on the bogey train or when dwelling (frustrated) on the mistakes or bogeys.
Check out our Video of The Week:
This week, Dr. Cohn helps parents and coaches understand the problems with trying to perform perfectly:
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