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 to plateau?
To start with, we have to understand that most people do not have a technique problem. Allow me to explain.
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…you don’t have a technique problem; you have an attention problem.
Most would say, “If I worked on more technique, then that would 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, etc.) 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, and not letting go of bad shots.” That’s never the case. When they play good golf, everybody says, “I didn’t think a lot. I didn’t try hard. It felt effortless. I just relaxed. I was enjoying myself.” But the fact is that practice only makes permanent, not perfect.
If you go out to the golf course every time 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 a 35? How did you do it?
You moved into a relaxed, peak state to perform.
The question really is in this article.
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, at the end of the round, on each shot, rank yourself.
Review that through a round, and then grade yourself at the end.
If that became your only focus and commitment for the rest of the season, I 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.
When Will Robins began teaching in 2008, most of his students were asking for him to fix their swing so they could hit the ball farther. But he knew that wasn’t what they really wanted. What they really wanted was to shoot lower scores! This was the start of the Scoring Method.
The results were phenomenal! His players dropped an average of 11 strokes in 10 weeks. And now, there is more than a decade of proof this system works.
As most pros know, the key to scoring well isn’t hitting the long ball. It’s learning the real game of golf with one simple idea: get the ball in the hole in less tries than the other players.