Every year, we start the season off full of passion and commitment to play better golf.
We talk about how we’re going to practice more, work on our swings, be more committed in tournaments, and work on the mental game!
All these fantastic ideas, and they seem great on paper!
Why do we far too often seem plateau?
To start with, we have to understand that most people do not have a technique problem, they have attention problem.
If you can hit the ball well on the driving range on Friday, but then Saturday play terribly, OR your first ball goes straight out of bounds, but your provisional goes straight down the middle then I would say that you don’t have a technique problem, you have attention problem.
Most would say, “If I worked on more technique, then that make me so good that I wouldn’t crack under pressure,” If that was true, then Dustin Johnson wouldn’t have shot 82 in the US Open at Pebble Beach. Rory McIlroy wouldn’t have shot 42 on the back nine of Augusta to lose the Masters, and every tour player who’s ever choked wouldn’t have had that problem.
BUT when they start to think about what they get if they shoot even par on the back nine, winning a major five-year exemption on tour, $1 million… tension comes in.
What is tension in the game of golf? It’s an absolute killer. It destroys technique.
Tension makes you a worse golfer the minute that you start to get tight muscles through lack of breathing and overthinking. Overthinking and lack of breathing lead to tension. That’s why it’s called choking.
If you want to really start to understand how you play your best golf, recognize that tension destroys your game and your goal is to decrease it.
How do you play your best golf? I’ve never heard anybody say, “By doubting, overthinking, trying hard, not letting go of bad shots.” That’s never the case. Everybody says when they play good golf, “I didn’t think a lot. I didn’t try hard. It felt effortless. I wasn’t thinking a lot. I was enjoying it. I was in a state. I just relaxed. I was enjoying myself.” But the fact it is, is that practice only makes permanent, not perfect.
If every time you go out to the golf course to practice, you’re trying to shoot a good score, adding tension, not letting go of bad shots, overthinking, trying to perfect your game, then I can guarantee you that you’ll get good at practicing being in a tensed state, and that tensed state will lead to poor results.
Why is it you can go out and shoot a 46 on a front nine, be super upset, and let it go, and on the back nine you shoot at 35. How did you do it?
You moved into a relaxed, peak state to perform.
The question really is in this article.
- What are your three goals for golf this season?
- What is your peak state when you play golf?
- Are you committing to every shot?
- Are you able to take a deep breath and let go of anxiety?
- Can you avoid overthinking and keep it at a good pace?
Your goals for this season need to be to your keys to achieve your optimal state to shoot lower scores “When I play my best golf, this is how I do it.”
Make certain your goals are under your control – aspects of your golf game you can actually execute.
For example, I have my players say, “Commit to every shot, so that I can accept the result no matter what.” That’s a great commitment to your game of golf.
It’s a very simple concept. It’s not easy to do.
If you have that written on the inside of your cap the next time you play golf, and at the end of the round, on each shot, you rank yourself
1 – How well you committed out of 10
2 – How did you accept it out of 10,
Review that through a round, and then grade yourself at the end of the round.
If that became your only focus and commitment for the rest of the season, I will guarantee you it will be the best golf you’ve ever played in your life. Get yourself into the peak state where you perform your best, focus on outcomes you can control and love your game