The Mental Game of Golf
You must prevail with one very important inner battle if you want to play at your peak each day…
Do you find it hard to stay in the moment during an important match? Does your mind race ahead to thinking about holding the trophy after the round (or running away to hide after they post your score)?
Our minds are constantly in conflict on the golf course. What’s the inner conflict? Present versus future thinking.
Our minds are wired to think ahead… about the possibilities of a good score or a bad score. Golfers like to extrapolate their scores during the round…
“If I make three more pars, I’ll break 80 or 70.” What’s the inner battle?
In golf, you have to focus on the current shot and the correct way to execute the current shot – the right focus to have.
But the mind wants to wander to the outcome of the round or tournament. I call this the consequences of your good play (or poor play) – the wrong approach to take…
“What if I play well?” Or “I don’t want to embarrass myself today. I need to shoot a respectable score.”
As a matter of fact, one of my past students, Brian Gay, was asked if he thought about qualifying for the US open if he won the Saint Jude Classic (after his 3rd round this past week).
He said he has enough to think about:
“Not until you mentioned it. No, not really, not when I’m out [on the course] I don’t think about it. I would love to play in it, but I’ve got enough work to do here to not have to worry about that. So, nothing I need to think about,” said Gay.
Brian ran away with the tournament by 5 shots.
OK, how do you overcome this inner battle? Mental discipline? Mental focus? Determination?
To win the inner battle and stay focused on the present, you first must let go of caring about results from the picture.
The more you care about results, the harder it is to focus on the process or in the present moment and the more anxiety you’ll feel about obtaining a specific result.
Even if you let go of caring, no one is perfect. You’re human. Your mind will wander to the future to score or winning or whatever.
The most important skill you can learn is to refocus your mind when your mind wanders to the future or thinks too far ahead.
You refocus by first recognizing your mind is racing ahead.
Then, you have to pull your mind back to the current shot. You do this by knowing exactly what thoughts, feelings, and images help you execute good shots. Execute is the key word here.
If you want to learn all my strategies I’ve taught to PGA Tour winners and 1000s of other golfers, I suggest you run over to peaksports and get your copy of “The Golfer’s Mental Edge.”
As a way of saying thank you to my loyal readers, you can get my new golf confidence CD program at half-off only this week until Thursday!
Your Mental Game Coach,
Dr. Patrick Cohn
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