Is your Golf addiction getting any better than you and really taking over your mind? Is golf still fun for you or is it just frustrating?
Are you like me checking the weather every day, trying to find out if you will ever make it out to the golf course or not? I managed to play four times last week which was just fantastic, after nearly two weeks of heavy rain. I just checked the forecast for this week and it looks like it’s raining again. Explosion!
Even though I am a self-disclosed golf addict, I do these days draw the line of play in heavy rain, sleet, extreme winds or on serious muddy fairways. I used to play in all conditions, during open courses, but have realized that this type of discomfort does not, to me, outweigh enjoyment.
I play golf for fun.
Many people have lost sight of this ultimate goal but are in their single-minded quest to master this game. Golf is an undeniably complex game and often your mental focus is tricked into an inappropriate state of tunnel vision.
For example, how many times have you played with someone muttering about every shot they’ve played, giving you a running commentary on what happened (or not) with the swing of their back, their head, the way the ball bounced, whether they hit it square, topped it , hit him fat, or whatever?
Now, I firmly believe that you do need to understand what is going on in your Club application to the ball and to be able to interpret the flight of the ball; without this insight, you will not be able to improve. But there’s really no need to give these journalistic comments to your play partners, especially while they’re trying to play their own shot! In this case, silence is truly golden.
But this kind of thing does happen to some golf addicts.
You put in the effort and get so focused that all you think about is your score, which involves constant analysis of each and every shot. However, this may not work to your advantage. Instead it acts to tie your mental focus in a knot. The image becomes blurry. If you think about your last shot, and count your score at the same time, you can’t fully focus on the shot you’re going to play. Your thinking energy is fractured and is therefore wasted on unnecessary detail.
In golf, you need to train your mind to focus in a very specific way that saves your mental and emotional energy. Immediately before each shot, think clearly about the task at hand, choose your shot and club, visualize the shot, and follow, following your own pre-shot routine that is used consistently. As soon as the ball lands and has come to a stop, it is important to follow a consistent post-shot routine; if it’s a good shot, enjoy it – give yourself a mental pat on the back. If it’s an imperfect shot, scrub the image out of your mind and imagine the great shot instead.
This way you have clear mental focus before taking the shot, and your post-shot routine is designed to train your golf mind to create great shots for the future, instead of building up expectations of bad hitting. Your emotional energy is not wasted in beating yourself up or in breaking your play partner’s ear drums or sabotaging their focus and concentration. As an added bonus, you can also enjoy your day on the golf course, walking between shots in a relaxed state of emotional balance and calm.