We golf enthusiasts are in the main as addicted to watching golf on TV as we are to getting out on the course and playing this great game. I find it really interesting just listening to the choice of phrases that various commentators employ.
Take a quick look at the following phrases and see how they leave you feeling.
“He left that one a wee bit short.”
“That was a terrible putt. What on earth was he thinking there?”
“What the heck was thinking to hit a shot like that?”
“I don’t think he intended to leave it that short.”
Some commentary comes across as critical whereas other turns of phrase come across as more understanding and forgiving. Nobody likes criticism. It stirs up negative emotions. Even when you hear critical commentary directed at another person you still experience some of that emotional impact. It kind of grates on you.
And then there is another aspect of golf commentary and this is the way in which you talk to yourself whilst you are playing golf. Are you a gentle and encouraging commentator or are you a critical one? Do you give yourself a break or do you slap yourself across the face?
This is a very, very important part of the game of golf. How you talk to yourself instinctively triggers an associated emotional experience. If your self-talk is negative it induces tension. If your self-talk is positive it will calm and relax you. The effect upon your subsequent swing and your ultimate score is glaringly obvious.
So when the impact of this huge part of golf is so very obvious, why do you so often hear your golfing partners muttering away to themselves and calling themselves complete idiots? It’s a whole lot easier to change your language than it is to change your swing. But still golfers will spend hours working away on the range, having lessons, watching lessons on Golf TV without ever making any effort at all to change their self-talk.
In an effort to get to the heart of your golfing problems, I would suggest that next time you make a bad swing don’t just ask yourself “What did I do there?” Ask yourself another question, one that is potentially more important. “What was I thinking there?”
Nine times out of ten you will find that your thoughts prevented you from committing fully to the shot in hand. And if you don’t commit to a shot you simply cannot make a good swing and the ball will go off on a frolic of it’s own. You will not be happy with the result. Then you will get tense and then you will think that you have “lost your swing”.
By asking yourself the simple question “What were you thinking there?” you prevent yourself from slipping into this negative cycle of internal golf commentary. You instead reinforce to yourself that your swing is good, you just didn’t commit to the shot.
Here’s a great example that Im sure everyone can appreciate. Yesterday, a friend made a comment “I feel like a drink today” whilst standing on the tee box on a par 3 hole. The four of us were laughing and joking about our chances of getting a hole in one. We’ve all done that, haven’t we? Three of us tee of ok and our balls are nicely in play, albeit not in the cup.
Our fourth player adds another comment as she sets up to the ball “And I don’t mean that drink”. She’s nodding towards the lake as she says it. The inevitable happens. She almost misses the ball and it dribbles into the lake. “What happened there?” “I never do that?” She’s standing there looking at her hands, taking a few swings, totally puzzled.
What do you think her last thought was about before she took that swing? Did she lose her swing or did she omit to focus her mind and commit to the shot?
Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
P.S. Discover how to focus your golf mind and develop better feel and technique through clear focus. Check out my website now.