Regardless of ability level, every golfer has experienced a collapse during their round. If it can happen to the best players in the world, it can certainly occur to the recreational player in a friendly nassau or club championship. Often, a player spends too much time thinking and searching for the correct swing thought, when in reality they just need to focus on playing.
Every player needs to develop a go to shot, such as a knock down shot that they can hit to get around the course in the event their swing leaves them at the most inopportune time. During a bad stretch of holes, you just need to finish without beating yourself. Rather than get more aggressive, just aim for the middle of the fairway, middle of the green, try to make a few pars and finish the day. After the round spend some time on the practice range and address any swing flaws. If you have some serious problems some golf lessons may be in order.. During the round, try to keep a very simple, consistent and repeatable approach. If you are thinking about ten different swing keys of the mechanics of a golf swing, you are in for a long day.
If you focus on any swing thoughts, keep it simple with no more than three swing thoughts. Rather, think about the target. Better players constantly focus on the target instead of the hundreds of distractions throughout the round. There is a time and place to get caught up in swing mechanics and the middle of the round is not that time. The following mental tips will help you score your best when you might not have your “A” game.
Develop a pre-shot routine that allows you to focus on the task and challenges associated with each shot. A routine mentally prepares you to successfully hit the next shot. The next time you watch golf notice how professionals go through the same motion before each shot. They will typically set their hands and body the same way. Also, they will take the same amount of practice swings and go through the same alignment procedures.
The next time you watch a sporting event, chances are you will see all athletes go through some routine before they perform. Notice how a basketball player performs the same routine before every foul shot. Watch a baseball pitcher between each pitch. He keeps the same rhythm and movements between each pitch.
Practice a visualization technique to develop confidence in each shot. Many successful golfers visualize themselves in a competitive situation and successfully performing a skill. For example, a golfer might visualize hitting a slight draw on a tight hole with hazards on both sides. While visualization does not guarantee a good shot, it does help a golfer experience confidence in the upcoming shot.
Finally, positive thinking is a powerful mental tool in a stressful situation. Use positive self talk to boost your confidence. Tell yourself and think back to hitting a successful drive down the middle. Confident players focus on why they will succeed, not excuses why they will fail. Henry Ford is noted for the quote, “If you think you can do a thing, or if you think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” If you think you will shank the next shot out of bounds then you probably will.
by Matt Keller