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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?")

_____________________________________________

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I'm guilty of dwelling on past shots and thinking about upcoming shots, but that is because I'm a mental case.  It's one of my habits that I need to change.  My best rounds have been when I was distracted and not paying attention to my score.  There is something to "Stop thinking... Let things happen... and Be the ball."

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I am pretty good at forgetting the bad shot. The hardest thing for me is standing over the same shot I have screwed up previously in the round. Learning to trust yourself on the course is no easy task!

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I am pretty good at forgetting the bad shot. The hardest thing for me is standing over the same shot I have screwed up previously in the round. Learning to trust yourself on the course is no easy task!


I can get past the bad full swing shots and putts. I find it hard to forget the really bad chips/pitches especially when my next shot is basically the same as the one I just hit.
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35 minutes ago, cnosil said:

 


I can get past the bad full swing shots and putts. I find it hard to forget the really bad chips/pitches especially when my next shot is basically the same as the one I just hit.

 

This is the hardest thing for me as well. 

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yeah...there's something about standing over a short chip/pitch right after you hit one 45 degrees right.  😄 😄 

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I chew myself out pretty regularly on the course (mostly non audible 🙂).  I actually find it beneficial because I just remind myself what I did wrong and look forward to the next chance to get it right.  I do a much better job these days at keeping the game in perspective.  I still tend to fold like a cheap lawn chair under clutch pressure putts 😬.

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8 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

I am pretty good at forgetting the bad shot. The hardest thing for me is standing over the same shot I have screwed up previously in the round. Learning to trust yourself on the course is no easy task!

 

... You guys are describing exactly what every QB goes through after throwing an interception. If you worry about getting picked again, you engage in the "Don't" not the "Do". Don't throw a pick instead of Do complete a pass. If you want to concentrate on something, concentrate on the exact same pass you throw for a completion many, many times. Same with a bad chip shot, especially if you are faced with the same or very similar shot again. It is best to just clear your mind and concentrate on the shot you have BUT if you need a mental anchor, conjure up a mental image of a successful chip you have hit. Just remember the brain is a super computer that has the body react to the information it is given. Give it negative information and it is very likely you will get a negative result. Give it positive information and the chances of something positive happening improves exponentially. But it is a learned discipline, so stick with it! 

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7 hours ago, cnosil said:

I can get past the bad full swing shots and putts. I find it hard to forget the really bad chips/pitches especially when my next shot is basically the same as the one I just hit.

 

..was gonna say something very similar..............

 

6 hours ago, CarlH said:

yeah...there's something about standing over a short chip/pitch right after you hit one 45 degrees right.  😄 😄 

..oh, hmmmm ... so I'm not the only one who does that??!!??
(and yeah that's the the mistake that still "gets me" when I do it........)

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1 hour ago, chisag said:

 

... You guys are describing exactly what every QB goes through after throwing an interception. If you worry about getting picked again, you engage in the "Don't" not the "Do". Don't throw a pick instead of Do complete a pass. If you want to concentrate on something, concentrate on the exact same pass you throw for a completion many, many times. Same with a bad chip shot, especially if you are faced with the same or very similar shot again. It is best to just clear your mind and concentrate on the shot you have BUT if you need a mental anchor, conjure up a mental image of a successful chip you have hit. Just remember the brain is a super computer that has the body react to the information it is given. Give it negative information and it is very likely you will get a negative result. Give it positive information and the chances of something positive happening improves exponentially. But it is a learned discipline, so stick with it! 

As my wife says:  "You attract to yourself whatever you give your attention, energy and focus to."  Some words similar to those in the book, "The Secret"  based on The Law of Attraction.  So think about positive outcomes instead of negative ones.

I still struggle with it.

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On 2/7/2020 at 10:29 PM, Kenny B said:

As my wife says:  "You attract to yourself whatever you give your attention, energy and focus to."  Some words similar to those in the book, "The Secret"  based on The Law of Attraction.  So think about positive outcomes instead of negative ones.

I still struggle with it.

Sage words indeed.  I try my hardest to make my last thoughts about the shot I want to hit and where I want to hit it, not where I don't want to go.  If I catch myself with a don't thought, I start over again.

No matter how you've been playing, there's always something to play for.  Even if you're just trying to hole a putt on 18, you can still derive a lot of satisfaction from holing a good putt on the last.  

One thing we teach the kids at TFT that I try to remember (don't always do a good job of it) is to focus on things that you can control, and accept things that are out of your control.  Did I pick a clear target for each shot and commit to it?  Did I execute my preshot routine the same way on each shot?  Was my attitude good throughout the round?  I've found that if I can focus on things that are within my control, I always have a better time when I play, and I'll occasionally suprise myself at how well I can play.

 

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This thread has some wonderful advice!

I’m usually can forget one or two previous bad shots, but I struggle when bad shots get strung together. Then, I lose focus on my current shot and start saying, “don’t chunk it again”, which, surprisingly leads to another chunk. I really like the advice of drawing upon the memory of a good shot I’ve hit, I’m going to try that next time I’m faced with negative thoughts. 

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On 2/7/2020 at 8:47 PM, chisag said:

..if you need a mental anchor, conjure up a mental image of a successful chip you have hit.

🎵Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!🎶

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10 hours ago, HardcoreLooper said:

..If I catch myself with a don't thought, I start over again.

I have to get myself to do more of that "reset" process, vs rushing ahead not fully prepared and committed to the current shot.

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10 hours ago, HardcoreLooper said:

One thing we teach the kids at TFT that I try to remember (don't always do a good job of it) is to focus on things that you can control, and accept things that are out of your control.  Did I pick a clear target for each shot and commit to it?  Did I execute my pre-shot routine the same way on each shot?  Was my attitude good throughout the round?  I've found that if I can focus on things that are within my control, I always have a better time when I play, and I'll occasionally surprise myself at how well I can play.

This is all really GREAT stuff! And, in fact, echoes very closely several of the key points I .. was supposed to have 😉 .. learned at a mental game clinic I attended about a year ago.

Hope the kids are absorbing it all!!

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