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Found 6 results

  1. Tiger Woods. A name that carries weight. In this house he is the undisputed greatest to ever do it. Be more like Tiger; easier said than done. There are countless examples of his superior mental game, but I want to expand on just one at the moment. When I say Augusta 2019, I can tell you two things that stick out to you - 1. Tiger winning his 15th major and 2. Francesco Molinari blowing up his final round with multiple water balls. Molinari was looking strong through 3.5 solid rounds at the Master’s on that Sunday of play. It looked like he was going to hold onto it through the back nine. That is until hole 12, when the wheels feel off. He found the water in front of the green and he carded a double bogey while Tiger ended up with a routine par - leading to a shared top spot between the two. I can’t say with certainty what caused the water ball at the 12th for Molinari but I can venture a guess that after that hole, the pressure had gotten to him. Instead of playing the field, he was now in a race with himself, and his mind was in the lead. Doubt crept into his mind and after another ball in the water on the 15th you knew Molinari was all but out of the tournament. He went from contender to pretender in the span of a few holes. It didn’t matter how well he played for 3 days prior , it didn’t matter about how good his swings and shots looked for the week, he will always be remembered that year for the mental collapse he had on the back 9. One the other side of the coin, we have Tiger, who by all stretches of the imagination should not have been in this position after everything he had been through over the past 10 years. There was a point when he believed he’d never play again. But this guy has the strongest mental game in golf. He could’ve have easily talked himself into retirement more than once and no one would’ve blamed him. He’s had one of the most successful careers you could have. But he believed he could still win. And belief is all he needed. He played that Sunday without doubts and carried himself to a win. And that’s not to say he played perfectly, he also had bad shots. The only difference is that he did not carry them with him to the next shot. He would step up, not question his swing or why that last shot ended up where it did; he gave it another rip, knowing he was capable of the shot he wanted or needed to pull off. He is a masterclass in patience, resilience, and will. He was always known for not showing a ton of emotion while playing, only to have a huge release at the end. It’s not because he didn’t feel emotions; it’s because he knew that allowing elation or frustration or any other emotion would cause overthinking and tension to creep into his swing. Even after years of examples of his mental game, the best to ever do it, a majority of golfers are so caught up in the swing and improving their own. So why aren’t we putting more focus into to improving our mental game? Take the best golfer you know and put them in a fried egg in a pot bunker and ask them how they’re feeling. All the technique and YouTube lessons in the world can’t help them outperform their mind.
  2. 12 seconds, you say? Surely you can’t be serious. I am serious; and don’t call me Shirley. Studies show that “being present in the moment” lasts for approximately 12 seconds. 12 seconds. Sit and do nothing for 12 seconds right now. I’ll wait. That felt like an eternity. But you also know that 12 seconds is no time at all. Especially when a golf shot takes up about 2 seconds of that. What can you even do with the other 10 seconds? Breathe. No really. Take a couple deep breaths and feel your shoulders relax and tension melt away. Therein lies the beauty to being in the moment of your game. It’s actually kind of a perfect fit. Instead of using those 12-15 seconds over the ball to go through your swing thought checklist, just take a few deep breaths instead. Focusing on the breath is a form of mediation and it brings our awareness to the moment. Stepping up to your ball and bringing your awareness to this breath and to this shot can be all the difference in your game. Not so simple You know this. Your mind loves to run away when given any chance. Think about the last time you stepped up to a shot over water. You couldn’t get the water out of your head. The tape in your head playing back the clear future where you either dunk it into the drink or chunk it short. Your chest tightened up and you couldn’t feel your hands. We tend to play scared when we don’t trust our abilities. The only opponent you have in golf is you. And you beat yourself all the time. You’re so good at playing defense against you. “Mastery over the game is really mastery over yourself” - Jayne Storey You’ve been conditioning yourself for years to overthink and overanalyze every shot. You search your memory trying to pull at every thread for advice and tips of the past. This is especially true when you feel like your game is off - when something feels like it needs to change. We don’t allow ourselves to sit in the hard feelings. Master those 12 seconds It starts before you get on the course. Meditate. You don’t need to be a monk or spiritual guru and meditate for extended periods of time. Try 3-5 minutes a day where you do nothing but focus on your breath. When your mind strays (I promise it will), practice bringing it back to the breath. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just you learning what it will be like when your mind strays on the course. Next time you leave yourself with a less than ideal shot, instead of panicking and inducing the fight or flight response, stop, take a couple breaths and immerse yourself in the moment. You keep practicing that, there’s no telling how good your game can get. What would your game look like if you hacked those 12 seconds of being present every shot?
  3. I stood on the 18th tee not aware of my score - it is recorded automatically through Arccos. I knew I was playing well (to my standards) but it didn’t feel lights out. There were some mishits, but they were saved. Some short putts that were missed. I didn’t even card a single birdie - which I have done in the past multiple time and still card in the high 80's, low 90's I put a drive about 245 into the fairway - I am not a long hitter. I had 135 left to the front of the green, pin set 10 paces on. I stood over my bag and without thinking or making judgments, I let myself pull my 8i. On the range my 8 is my 150 club - but I took the ego out of the situation and trusted my feeling. I put a smooth swing on it and the ball just cleared the sand trap guarding the right of the green - pin high, 10 yards to the right of my target. So, when stepped up the 18th green at Architects to take my 35ft birdie putt, I was surprised to see that I had shot a 75 through 17 holes and that if I carded a par here, I’d break 80 and my lowest round ever. I immediately got nervous and though there was no one to care about my score and no crowds watching me, I felt this perceived pressure mounting. Something I had avoided for 17 holes. I let my thoughts get the best of me and I left myself with a nerve-wracking 5ft left. I became acutely aware of my tense upper body so I took a deep breath and allowed my shoulders to relax. “This truly doesn’t matter one way or the other”, I told myself. I stepped up the ball after getting my read and I imagined the feeling of picking the ball out of the cup and took my shot. It landed true and I finished the hole with a par. 79. While I celebrate that accomplishment, I know that some days will be better or worse than others and that I should not feel defeated if the next time I go out I shoot an 89. Expectation is the enemy of enjoyment. Up until that round I hadn’t played 18 in 3 or 4 weeks. I had been to the range a bunch because I am one of those nuts that loves to practice. But practice has been different lately. Instead of trying to “perfect” a certain swing, or come more from the inside, or hitting the ball first, I am working to practice what I preach - learning how to feel and getting my mind in the right space to play. I am learning to trust that my body can make the swing that it needs to make to get the ball where it needs to be. I was going out with little expectation on myself. The only thing I told myself as I played was trust your “learning self” and accept the uncertainty - because uncertainty is part of the fun. If I could control every shot, I’d be great but at the cost of not enjoying the game. I was great at my job and could control most aspects of the work I did, but I still quit because it didn’t bring me joy in doing it anymore. I don’t want golf to be a job. I’m here to have fun, release stress, and enjoy nature. Accepting the uncertainty in turn allowed me to unconsciously loosen up as a played. And being loose allowed me to have a smoother, more athletic swing than normally wanting to control how I swing and tightening up. I don’t know how often I’ll shoot that low, but I’m inclined to continue accepting the uncertainty and enjoying the game a little more. I know working on my mental game will make a larger impact for me than trying to engineer a better swing.
  4. First and most importantly: I cannot take credit for the words quoted below -- they were posted in the "How'd You Play?" thread by the exceedingly articulate and sage @chisag (and re-posted in here with his permission ). The mental game of golf is something that not only intrigues me, but is something I'm trying to learn more about and incorporate into my own play; his words just seemed to me to really encapsulate and highlight the essentials of what I'm working towards. OK, so... Chisag was responding to a comment from @CarlH that started with... "We had an assistant pro at the Yellowstone CC that used to play on the LPGA tour. I was struggling to break 80 on the course and asked her what I could do to break that barrier. Her reply was pretty simple --- what are you thinking about on hole 15?" ___________________________ "... Changing your behavior is a learned skill. I was lucky because at an early age I played Qb and when I threw an interception I could let it fester or forget it and move on. Festering was counter productive and it did not take me long to learn that, so when I threw a pick I learned from it and moved on. Next possession it was already forgotten and I was concentrating on the play that was just called. Nothing else. Same thing for acting and auditions. Once I finished an audition, I let it go completely because it was out of my control. The more I did it, the easier it got until quite often the next day another actor would ask if I had an audition yesterday and I would reply yes, but don't remember what it was because my mind was on the audition I was about to have right now. "... Golf is exactly the same. As much of a cliche as it sounds, you can only play one stroke at a time and that stroke is the only one that matters. When you do that, thinking you need 5 more pars to break 80 will not be an option because if you are only concentrating in the shot you have right now, you will have no idea what you need to break par. The only time I am aware of my score is when I have all pars because that is hard to ignore, but once I have a bogie, birdie or eagle I lose lost track because I'm only thinking about the shot I am about to have. Nothing else is important. Same thing for hitting a ball in the water and thinking "I need to hit a couple of great shot to save bogie". If you hit it in the water, take your drop and only concentrate on what is the best shot to attempt right now. This will improve your focus and your execution. "... Facing a long putt, entertaining the thought that this is a 3 putt just waiting too happen is the same thing. That's 2 more shots ahead of the shot you are playing. Look at the putt and only focus on your speed and line and hit the very best putt you can. The rest will take care of itself. By thinking positive about the only shot you have control over, you give yourself your best chance of making it a good one. And repeating myself, but the same thing happens if that first putt rolls 6 feet past or comes up 6 feet short. Forget the putt you just made and only concentrate on making the putt you are now facing. By now I hope you can see every single shot is a singular challenge and as a competitor you want to embrace every challenge with your best effort. "... I know some of you are thinking this is pretty much impossible, especially after playing many years, but it really isn't. If you are serious about breaking 100, 90, 80 or 70 play golf and only focus on the shot you have to make right now. I think you might be surprised at your score when the round is over. It is also much more fun and relaxing to hit your the shot to the best of your ability giving it your best effort, then shift your focus to your partners or enjoy your surroundings and only get back to the golf when preparing for your next shot. Remember, this is a learned behavior so if thoughts creep in about future holes or what's needed to break 80, just recognize it and then keep doing the best you can with concentrating on one shot only and you will get better and better at it!" (^ Post #11835 on Page #592 of "How'd You Play?") _____________________________________________
  5. Here's something that has come up in several other mental game and 'how'd you play?' type threads. One of my current mental game techniques has been trying to focus on the positives after a missed shot, and saying to myself "I've got par from there" to help move on to the next shot rather than focus on the negative of the one I just missed. So, in this thread, tell your war stories about how you MADE par (or better) from there.
  6. Every year I participate in a the same few tournaments and it got me thinking - what do you do to prepare for the tournament round(s) ? Do you practice more, play more, practice those shots you know you are going to hit during the round, practice your weakest shots to shore it up for the tournament study the course and come up with a game plan or do you do nothing at all ? Every year, I've approached the same two tournaments the exact same way - I try to go to visit the range a few extra times to get the swing a bit more honed in. I also start looking at the course map/hole layout, to strategize what clubs I want to hit to get to a comfortable wedge distance, and go in with a mindset that I can do what I plan. It somehow goes out the window especially if I start off bad. Ultimately, the results are the same, I place mid-pack for the tournament. So what do you all do ? MDGolfHacker
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