How To Focus On The Process Instead Of Outcome In Golf

Process Focus

Where Should Your Focus Be?

Are you able to stay focused on your current shot during critical moments in a golf tournament?

Or does your mind drift causing you to think of all the potential negative outcomes of a bad shot or missed putt?

You have probably experienced these thoughts…”I have to sink this putt” or “I’m two strokes down, this drive needs to be perfect.”

These thoughts cause more golfers to feel more tense or anxious. Not only was your swing tight, but your shot probably landed nowhere near where it needed to go.

Golf is all about results, but when you focus on outcomes your anxiety increases leading to a drastic reduction in performance.

The only way to get optimal results in golf is to focus on what you are doing, at the time you are doing it.

Mo Martin, 31, displayed the poise of a champion to win the 2014 British Open despite never placing in the top 25 of any major previously.

Martin entered the 2014 British Open ranked No. 99 with no LPGA tour wins in her 10 year career.

Martin had an amazing start to the Open recording two successive three-under-par rounds (69) to claim a three shot lead heading into Round 3 of the Open.  But the pressure of being on top on the leader board with all the media attention, caused Martin difficulty focusing during the third round as she scored a 77 (five over par) on the third round.

MARTIN: “I had a rough patch in there [round 3]… I had a camera behind me every single shot I hit. So I think it was just a little bit harder to focus yesterday. So today I just wanted to learn the most I could from that and continue on.”

Martin remained positive, regained her composure and refocused on her game for the final round of play.

Though Martin trailed by two strokes on her final hole, she didn’t succumb to the pressure and made an eagle on the final hole for the victory.

How was Martin able to play with such poise being two strokes behind on the final hole?

Martin immersed herself in the present moment instead of all those thoughts about the final outcome of the tournament.

In a critical moment, Martin was able to stay focused on the only thing that she had total control over… her tee shot.

MARTIN: “Just my drive. I picked the left side, so I had to hit it up the left side and let it feed up a little bit right. That was the strategy my caddie, Kyle, and I had all week.”

Try these tips focus on the process instead of on outcomes:

  1. Be aware when your mind drifts to outcomes. Look for warning signs such as increased anxiety or mind wandering from your routine.
  2. Refocus your attention on your current shot. Take a mental time-out and pause for a second. Take a deep breath, restart your routine to an earlier step.
  3. Since you can’t focus on two opposing thoughts at the same time, refocusing on your routine will help you get into the optimal playing zone.

Improve your mental toughness with one-on-one mental coaching with Dr. Cohn.

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