The Mental Game of Golf
Have you ever played in a tournament in which you were playing great one moment, hitting effortless shots… and then, in an instant, your game unravels and you lose patience?
Without notice, your game is no longer effortless and you can’t seem to hit the ball anywhere near your intended target. You start thinking, “What happened? A minute ago, I was playing great and now, I can’t hit any shot!”
Your golf game can come and go–you are human and not a machine. The “mental game” of golf is critical for playing consistent golf. As a golfer, you are alone with your thoughts. Unfortunately, one bad shot can make some golfers become anxious or lose patience.
Jordan Spieth had one of those moments at the Masters. His mental game affected his play at Augusta in an instant….
Spieth was attempting to become the youngest Masters’ tournament winner holding a two-shot lead through seven holes during the final round.
Spieth said his play took a turn for the worse after he three-putted on No. 8 then just missed his par putt on the ninth hole, “That’s very difficult on this golf course to come back from… But 8 and 9 were the turning points of the day.” Spieth finished tied for second at 5-under, three back of winner Bubba Watson.
But what exactly happened to Spieth’s mental game in the final round?
Spieth admitted that he became anxious during the critical moments of the back nine of the tournament causing him to rush his putts:
“I just didn’t quite make the putts and that’s what it came down to…But yeah, I was nervous, but I wasn’t quite as patient today as I was the first three rounds and holding emotions, as well.”
Spieth further stated he needs to have patience to manage pressure-packed moments of tournaments, “That’s something [patience] I’ve been struggling with when in these kind of positions. That’s why I don’t think I’ve won more when I’ve had a chance to.”
Impatience can certainly change your approach to playing golf. It can lead to making poor decisions or rushing your routine. When you rush your routine, the pace of your tempo can change with it.
How can you stay more patient after a bad hole or shot? Golf is a marathon and not a sprint to the finish. One bad shot or hole will not hurt your performance for 18 holes unless you allow it to.
How to be More Patient with Your Golf Game:
- Awareness – Be aware of the top triggers that test your patience, such as a three-putt or missing an easy up and down.
- In the past – put the bad shot or hole behind you before you step up to the next shot. Take a long-term approach to the round and focus on the remaining holes instead of looking back.
- Pace of routine – keep the pace of your routine similar to when you are calm and composed. Avoid the tendency to speed up your routine and make hasty decisions.
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