Are you like me in checking the weather forecast every day, in an attempt to work out whether you are going to be able to get out onto the golf course or not? I managed to play four times last week which was just fantastic, after almost two solid weeks of rain. I just checked the forecast for this week and it looks like the rain is returning. Blast!
Although I am a self disclosed golf addict, I do these days draw the line at playing in torrential rain, hailstorms, extreme winds or upon seriously muddy fairways. I used to play in all conditions, so long as the course was open, but have come to realize that this type of discomfort does, for me, outweigh the enjoyment.
I play golf for fun. A lot of people lose sight of this ultimate aim however in their single minded quest to master this game. Golf is an undeniably tricky game and often your mental focus gets conned into a state of inappropriate tunnel vision.
For example, how many times have you played with someone who mutters away about every shot they have played, providing you with a running commentary of what happened (or not) with their back swing, their head, the way the ball bounced, whether they hit it square, topped it, hit it fat, or whatever else?
Now, I’m a great believer that you do indeed need to understand what happened in your application of club onto ball and to be able to interpret the balls flight; without this insight, you would not be able to improve. But it really is not necessary to provide this journalistic commentary to your playing partners, especially whilst they are trying to play their own shot! In this case, silence really is golden.
But this sort of thing does happen to some golf addicts. You try so hard and become so focused that all you think about is your score, which involves constant analysis of each and every shot. This however, is not likely to work to your advantage. Instead it acts to tie your mental focus up in knots.
The picture becomes blurred. If you are thinking about your last shot, and calculating your score at the same time, you simply cannot be fully focused upon the shot which you are about to play. Your thought energy is fractured and therefore wasted upon unnecessary detail.
In golf, you need to train your mind to focus in a very specific way so as to conserve your mental and emotional energy. Immediately prior to every shot, think clearly about the task in hand, choose your shot and your club, visualize the shot, and get on with it, following your own consistently used pre-shot routine. Immediately after the ball has landed and it has come to a halt, it is important to follow a consistent post-shot routine; if it was a good shot, enjoy it – give yourself a mental pat on the back. If it was a less than perfect shot, rub the image from your mind and imagine a great shot instead.
In this way you have good clear mental focus prior to taking the shot, and your post-shot routine is designed to train your golf mind to create great shots in the future, instead of building an expectation of hitting bad ones. Your emotional energy is not wasted in beating yourself up or in damaging your playing partners’ ear drums or sabotaging their focus and concentration. As an added bonus you also get back to enjoying your day out on the golf course, walking between shots in a state of emotional balance and relaxed calmness.
Roseanna Leaton, specialist in hypnosis downloads and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.