Mental Strategies to Refocus During a Round
Many distractions can hurt your focus in golf. Some of the most difficult to deal with are noise, hecklers or rude opponents.
When you are setting up for a shot, standing over the ball or starting your swing, outside noise can throw off your swing.
Outside noise could potentially break your focus, tense up your body and disrupt your swing.
Successful golf requires a quiet mind, a relaxed body and the ability to re-focus when necessary. If you are to be your best on the golf course, you need to be totally immersed in your shot, from lining up your shot until your stroke is completed.
To illustrate this point, let’s examine the scenario that Ashley A. faced on the 18th hole of a junior tournament…
Ashley had only to sink a three-foot putt to seal the deal and win her first tournament.
Ashley had a two stroke lead.
She felt confident with her line and her read of the greens.
As she approached the ball, one of the spectators started to cough and she heard some chatter in the gallery.
Ashley’s concentration was broken and she was angry about the chatter as she stood over the ball.
Ashley’s muscles felt tense and pulling the club back seemed laborious.
The result was a shot that Ashley pushed six inches to the right of the hole.
Ashley could feel the tournament victory slipping away.
Ashley still couldn’t recover mentally and left her next putt short of the cup giving away a tournament she should have won.
Ashley’s inability to regain her focus after the outside noise disruption caused her to lose out on her first tournament win…
Outside noise can interrupt any golfer’s focus, even at the professional level.
Just because you have a break in concentration is not a sign that you are mentally weak. It happens to the very best golfers in the world.
If you are to be a successful golfer or reach your potential, you must be able to refocus. Or you want to be fully immersed in your shot so if outside noise happens in the middle of your stroke, it doesn’t distract you.
Whatever the situation, you can learn effective mental strategies to deal with outside noise, refocus and play your best golf.
At the 2017 Australian PGA Tournament, Cameron Smith was faced with a heckler who muttered “pressure moment” and “don’t choke” before a series of deliberate sneezing and coughing sounds as Smith started his pre-shot routine on the final hole of regulation play.
SMITH: “[The spectator] just said a few nasty things telling me not to choke. I tried to just play it off and then as I was coming into the ball, he coughed and sneezed.”
Despite the outside noise of a disruptive heckler, Smith was able to gather himself, refocus and win on the second playoff hole for his first pro title of his career.
Smith’s caddie, Sam Pinfold, wisely intervened to stop Smith from continuing with his shot and asked for security to deal with the gallery heckler.
This is exactly how to refocus: Notice the distraction, move your attention away from the distraction and refocus on a cue in the present such as re-engaging in your preshot routine.
If it wasn’t for his ability to refocus, Smith would probably still be winless on the tour.
How to Refocus When Distracted:
- Know what distracts you or causes breaks in your concentration.
- When you notice a distraction, adjust your focus.
- Interrupt your focus on the distraction and let it pass.
- Refocus or restart your preshot routine.
If you practice this strategy enough, you will become a master at blocking out outside noise!
For more strategies on focusing, check out “The Golfer’s Mental Edge:”
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