Tension? What tension? You have a death grip on the club and the thought process going through your head is, "I have got to make this putt or I am going to shoot my worst score on an 18-hole round ever."
Or, "I have got to keep this drive in the fairway, don't go left that's out of bounds."
Or, "Don't go in the water."
Does this sound too familiar?
My personal favorite is the golfer who takes the "water ball" out of his or her golf bag and prepares to hit a shot over water on a par 3 hole. You know what happens here? They go in the water.
The head game is one of the most challenging parts of the golf game.
Negative thoughts will surely cause you to do exactly what you do not want to happen. Negative thoughts will be remembered long after the shot is made.
Let's turn this around to a more positive thought process. This is sometimes called "self talk." There are absolutely no negative thoughts once you take the club in your hands.
1) I picture the shot I wish to make, stand behind the ball, whether on the tee or in the fairway or lining up a putt. When I picture the shot I do not see any hazards, (water, bunkers or out of bounds markers). I block them out and picture green grass in place of them.
2) I picture the spot where I want the ball to land or the putt to drop in the hole. I picture that hole to be as big as an ice cream bucket.
3) I will keep a smooth tempo throughout the swing, whether a wood, iron, chip or putt.
4) Take a deep breath. Now breathe. I have a relaxed "hold" on the club. Not a noodle but firm enough to hold onto the club so it doesn't go flying out of my hands.
5) Take the shot.
6) Now if the shot doesn't come off as you planned this is the most important part. Just say to yourself, "How unlike me to hit that shot like that." End of discussion and move on. Don't dwell on the shot. Just move on and set up for the next shot.
After the shot this is where you gain confidence in recovering from a poor shot or where you can recover from a double bogey. Never give up. If you give up and continue to dwell on negativity you will end up mad at yourself and make it miserable for others in your group.
How many times have we watched tour players have a bad shot or a bad hole and come back with great shots to end up in a playoff. The key here is never give up. Even when you think it couldn't get any worse.
Joni Meyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (218) 963-8767.
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