Listening to the television commentary about the first round of Masters 2011, I picked up on an observation regarding Rory McIlroy. The point made was that he was expected to do well, especially so as he was “not caught up in mechanics”.
McIlroy has an easy and effortless looking swing in which he trusts. He’s not spending time on the course messing about with his grip or whatever else. He just swings his club and lets the ball fly.
There are quite enough mental challenges (totally unconnected with mechanics) to deal with when playing in a tournament, as Rory found out during that Masters tournament. By the time of the US Open in June 2011, he displayed his mastery of these competitive mental hurdles, as well as his technical prowess.
All too often you see someone messing with the mechanics of their swing whilst playing on the course. It’s usually a recipe for disaster. The range is the place for those mechanical tests. The course is the place to use your mind as opposed to your mechanics.
We all do it of course. I do it, even though I know the price that is likely to be paid. I’m currently working on adjusting the trajectory of my drive and yes, I’m tempted to see how that process is working in situ; so on Fridays I tend to play a practice round, where I allow myself to test the mechanics.
Looking back at the last few Fridays I would have to say that I’m paying the price! The other days when I play, the score is a whole lot better, my golf is easier, and it’s a lot more relaxed. Those other days, I do what you are meant to do on the course. I play with the game I know I have and use my mind to direct my play.
The price of playing with mechanics whilst on the course is a loss of trust, a loss of confidence. For most of us this leads to an additional lack of commitment to the shot in hand. The end is usually pretty disastrous, as the shot doesn’t work out too well, and you start questioning your mechanics more and more. A vicious cycle of negative effect ensues.
If you do decide to play with mechanics on the course you need to protect yourself from this effect. You can do this in the same way that I do.
1. First, decide before you go out whether you are playing your best golf, or if you are having a practice round for your mechanics.
2. Ensure that you commit 100% to your shot choice even though you inevitably do not trust it or have confidence in it. In this way you will give it the best possible chance of success.
3. Make sure that the next few rounds you play are real games where you go out to play your best golf without slipping into an analysis or test of your mechanics.
This last point is very important from the perspective of maintaining your golf confidence. Too many shots with mediocre results due to mechanical testing will mess with your mind. You start to question everything about your game. You forget to focus, you forget to visualize, and you forget how to use your mind to direct the ball.
The success of your golf game is reliant upon your mental abilities. Good golf really is 90% in your mind. You can test your mechanics on the range. Never forget that the golf course is in reality a mental test more than a mechanical one.
Roseanna Leaton, avid golfer and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
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