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One round changed my mental approach


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I played my first round of the season on Wednesday. Despite working hard on my swing and putting all winter, I went in with modest expectations since it was the first round. I bogied the first hole, made par on the second, then ran off 3 birdies in the next 4 holes. This was the first time I'd ever done anything like that. Typically my game is all about par: don't give much up, but don't get much either.

 

I found that this run of birdies totally changed the way I looked at the round. Usually if I get a good score going, I start thinking about "protecting" it and getting into the clubhouse. Now, as the round winds down, I'm sad that I have fewer chances to make birdies. I'm not suggesting that my course management has become more aggressive (or changed at all), it's just a different way of thinking about what can happen on a hole. I can tell you that it's a much more enjoyable mindset.

 

Has anyone else had one round or one experience that really changed the way they looked at the game?

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haven't had a round that changed my perspective like that (I've had moments in rounds that pointed me that direction, but then I've managed to mess those opportunities up and lose site of the possibilities)

 

I would like to start putting myself in a position to be able to see making birdies and knowing that I can "fix" my round still.

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Back in 2010, I had sort figured that I was about as good as I was going to get. I had was routinely breaking 90 but that was about it, I had birdied every hole on the course but never really put together a really good round. Well, let's be honest i had never had a good round. Then I got some new balls to test from Titleist. I had established a test method and was concentrating hitting the ball well each time. I was writing down the distances it went, how it felt and was not keeping score at the time. But I wrote down where the drive went, if the second shot hit the green, how far from the hole it landed, How long the first putt was, and the second, etc... And then I eagled the 16 hole, a par 4, after holing out from 154 yards. I went back and figured up the score and I realized that if I just parred the last two holes I would shoot a 68. I was estonished, I was so nervous i hit one of my test balls into the water and bogied 17. But parred 18 for a 69. It was at that point I realized that I could be the golfer I wanted to be,

 

Last year I played in several tournaments, and actually won my flight of the club championship, I realized that the key is not to focus on the score but to focus on make each shot the best that you can. You will not alway hit it, but if you make the next one good you can still play a good round.

 

 

Today was the first round of out annual St, Paddy's Day Weekend Golf. I had decided that I was going to be the best player today. We play a point system, 4 for eagle, 3 for birdie, 2 for par, 1 bogey, 0 for anything over. And we establish a quota for everyone to achieve. The big winner today turned out to be a 20 year old who has been in the Army for two years and not played golf we figured he would do well to get 10 points and he got 16 on the last 8 holes. I got 32 and lost, but I still played great. I parred 1 and 2, birdied 3 and 4, eagled 5 and was on the tee box of 6 when one of my partners said, "you realize that the odds of you even making a point on this hole are astronomical after two birdies and an eagle. I thought, "astronomical my @$$, take this mother....." and blasted it right down the middle, 300+ with a 20 mph wind behind me and was 60 yards out thinkiing how I showed him when I chilli dipped it, and I will not say what I thought when I put my third shot in the water and ended up with a double bogey. I still shot 34 on the front and but ended up bogeying the last 6 holes. (Might have been alcohol related) but hole 6 was a total mental error,

 

But to me the secret of scoring well is not making birdies. Birdies and eagles happen after you have had a good drive and good approach shot. They do not happen on the tee box or in the fairway. Get on the green before you start thinking about birdie. Yeah, you have to be near the flag but if you are not on or at least near the green then think about par. And leave with at least a bogey. To me the secret is making pars and not making double bogies. For every double bogey you make you have to have two good holes to make it up, With a bogey at least you can make it up on the next hole.

 

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Last year, I broke my driver at the range. So it had to be sent it for repair.

Played a week without a driver and teed off with a 4 iron. Broke 90 that week like 3 times.

Then the driver came back and guess what? I'm shooting high scores again :lol:

 

So I realized, it's not about distance... it's all about consistency and keeping the ball in play. I never realized that all those OB's off the tee were costing me at least 5 strokes per round.

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I've never had a round change my standard approach to the game, but I do think that making putts early in a round provides a much higher level of confidence and expectation for the rest of the day. Making putts just gets you excited about playing that day.

 

Conversely, miss a few putts early, and it is real easy to think things are going against you. I have to make a real mental effort not to get down on myself when I miss putts or three-putt a green early in the round. Hitting good drives or irons shots won't usually set expectations for me, but putting sure can set the tone for the rest of the round.

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Well I have had times where I have played well and blown up coming into the house. Example was a great round going was at -4 under at one point in the round and the wheels started coming off. I ended up with a -1 under 71 with 4 holes to play. bogy, bogy, par, bogy oh yea that was great right but not really since I blew up and didn't close well.

 

I figure out that I got into the mind set of "if i could par out then i shot 68." Looking back at it now after researching and reading on the mental game of golf that i got into a FUTURE state of mind instead of the CURRENT task at hand. I also have come to know in my person game that I tend to be judgmental of myself during a round when things are going poorly even if it is not my fault.

 

You just have to keep a positive outlook and keep your mind free of PAST thoughts and FUTURE thoughts during a round. Stay in the PRESENT time with the single shot you have, I have always played my best golf when i have no clue what my score is my mind set is only one shot at a time.

 

Here is a blog that I came across in my research on the mental game in trying to improve my own mental outlook from a negative one to a more positive peaceful one.

 

There is a lot of good information on that site, I suggest reading and processing the articles and consider some of the other materials that they offer. I haven't bought anything from them or have any stock in them, jus think it is good information to have.

 

Golf Psych (click through all the Categories links on the right menu)

http://golfpsych.com/blog/

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Another mental block I usually get is during our weekly tournaments.

When I go play with my wife, sometimes I can shoot 10 over.

When I play the tournament, usually end up 20 over.

 

Being calm and chill really makes a huge difference (except that I make stupid bets with my wife every time we play :lol: )

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Not really an epiphany, but a great piece of advice that helped me break 90 a few years ago.

 

Ignore the scorecard, and treat every hole as a par 5.

 

18 holes at par 5 is 90. Mentally, it relieves the pressure on the 3's and 4's. If you can take advantage of just one of those 14 holes, and Par, the remaining 5's... poof! you've shot an 89.

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Not really an epiphany, but a great piece of advice that helped me break 90 a few years ago.

 

Ignore the scorecard, and treat every hole as a par 5.

 

18 holes at par 5 is 90. Mentally, it relieves the pressure on the 3's and 4's. If you can take advantage of just one of those 14 holes, and Par, the remaining 5's... poof! you've shot an 89.

 

I like that!

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I haven't had that round yet, but I have managed to string together a couple decent holes and really feel like everything is in place. Even though it's not all there for me yet, it does feel really good. Even the bad holes that follow don't seem as bad because you know deep down what that great feeling feels like.

 

I think this year I need to really remember what I am doing out there on the course. In the past 2 years I have just been out there having fun, now it's time to actually start getting better at the game. I can't wait until the weather breaks and I can get out again...

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Another mental block I usually get is during our weekly tournaments.

When I go play with my wife, sometimes I can shoot 10 over.

When I play the tournament, usually end up 20 over.

 

Being calm and chill really makes a huge difference (except that I make stupid bets with my wife every time we play :lol: )

 

LOL sometimes that is not a mental issue more an issue with lack in practicing tournament conditions. Some things that happen a lot in a casual round that won't happen in a tournament. I am not by any means saying you are one of these people.

--> no 'gimme putts' you have to hole out every hole

--> play the ball as it lies, sorry no preferred lies in fairways, rough, etc.

--> The maximum number of strokes is normally more then people are used to playing (I play tournaments with max of Double par + 1 stroke)

 

As the old saying goes 'practice like you would play' in other sports. Those things really would add probably an average of 10 strokes to a lot of peoples games. The presure of not normally having to execute that shot will add a mental block.

 

From a mental stand point 'practice like you play'. If all casual rounds are played under tournament rules, then the situation comes up during a tournament it becomes more routine making it easier to remain confident and calm in the situation. I think this is where the saying 'there is golf and then there is tournament golf' might have come from. People are supper relaxed and say things like 'what do you want to take' in a tournament you don't get to pick your score you earn it :)

 

If you can stay in a relaxed mental state that a tournament is 'just another round' assuming you practice like you play makes it a lot easier.

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From those 3 factors you mentioned:

 

My wife and I are always betting and are extremely competitive, so we don't allow gimmes nor better lies.

We don't have the double par + 1 rule, but in Germany we compete mostly with Stableford. I personally like to keep my own stroke play score.

 

But you are right, the key issue during tournament play is "pressure" to improve your handicap. During casual rounds I just don't care if my HCP is adjusted up/down, I just want to win the bet. But during tournaments, my main focus is lowering my HCP and I start counting how many strokes left, how many strokes needed, etc etc etc and it totally kills the roll.

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Yea, I am mostly talking it terms of stroke play. A lot of tournaments in the states (at least around me) here are flighted to a handicap. So I was saying that a score could be artificially lowered by someone not knowing it in comparison to tournaments.

 

What I listed all assist in lowering a handicap and are the most common reasons why someone might bloat up to 10 more strokes in their club championship. Another one is to turn in a score card that was played as match play representing it as stroke play. For example if you lie 5 in the fairway and your opponent is 3 feet of a birdie then you would probably concede the hole and write down 5 instead of a 6 or 7 that it probably would have taken you to get into the cup. But yes the tournament ads additional pressure to play well I agree, however when you play more stroke play like a tournament then it is a little less pressure on you.

 

LOL, I am exactly like you when I play for bets it is most of the time I bet with match play an $ amount per number of holes at the end of the round. So $5 a hole at 4 up you win $20 after 18. Then I just don't turn my score card in for handicap reasons.

 

The proper strategy in Match Play will depend on what your opponent is doing and where you stand in the match more then par. So what is good for you to do in match play is normally not a great thing in stroke play. I have seen some tournaments where they had a match play match and a stoke play match going at one time (you were competing in a field for stroke play, but against one person in a match play match during the same round). That gets a little confusing and I normally default to just playing stoke play and hoping the match play gets strong along behind.

 

Sorry that spun slightly off topic between mental game in general and tournament play mental game and different strategy in golf. From a mental perspective I just saying it helps to 'practice like you play in a tournament'.

 

Sorry please continue the topic on a given round clicking for each person.

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I bet simple things with my wife, i.e. who gets to cook tonight, dishes, laundry, etc.

 

But with other playing partners, we do stroke and match play combined ($5 per stroke, $5 per hole)

In such cases, it's hard to have a set strategy, because both scores count towards $$$ so I just go all-in, which isn't the smartest plan. But the more thinking I do, the more distracted I get and the less golf I play.

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anyways back to the magical round, I have experienced it once before where everything just seemed to 'click' and fall into place. That was until i looked at my score hehe, then mentally I blew it up closing the last 4 holes.

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anyways back to the magical round, I have experienced it once before where everything just seemed to 'click' and fall into place. That was until i looked at my score hehe, then mentally I blew it up closing the last 4 holes.

 

I actually try to avoid thinking about my "magical rounds". It only sets me up for expectations that are too high.

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Well you can learn from a 'magical round' as much as a terrible round. Like i said before golfpsych has articles on various mental aspects of the game. Looking at what you were doing as a reflection on the round after it is completed is always a good way to learn about you weakness and strengths.

 

In the best round you have ever played more then likely your tempo\timing was great that day & your mind was in the proper place of 'in the zone'. Tour players spend a lot of time practicing on how to 'get in the zone' mentally more on a regular basis then just a 'magical round where everything clicks'.

 

If you are a competitive golfer, one that just wants to get better or someone that has near perfect game that still can't seem to break the handicap barrier in the low single digits then these might be worth a read --> http://golfpsych.com/blog/articles/

 

The mental aspect of the game is the hardest to understand, learn and master. It takes being honest with yourself or talking with someone that will be 100% honest with you.

 

For the people that are married out there ask your significant other questions about you personality and you outlook on different aspects in their opinion. Obviously tell them to be honest with you and you won't get mad you just want to become a better person as a male i found that my girl wanted to have that talk and was excited to do so, she jumped all over the thought of changing me.

 

I read this article (http://golfpsych.com/blog/8-champion-personality-traits/) then created my own chart from that to do two things with. Tried rating myself in the categories and I had my significant other also rate me in these categories from her perspective.

 

I then took the average of the two results and that is the score I used in basing on where I needed to improve the most on the course and in life in general. This way you don't get a bias opinion of your score, you might rate yourself differently then someone else that knows you well.

 

I didn't buy the actually comprehensive exam they offer because i felt that having myself giving a score and my 'other half' rating me was going to provide enough information. It probably is not a bad idea to get the exam that will give you the score however if you seem you don't have an easy time giving a number that is in the chart.

 

This might be OT for what the OP had in mind but, an mod can split this into a different topic is they want.

Here is a list of valuable mental game articles that I have found useful in studying the mental game, and mental aspect of personality that effect golf.

 

Golf Psych Blog / Articles (http://golfpsych.com/blog/articles/)

--> Personality Game Section ~ http://golfpsych.com/blog/category/personality-game/

--> Mental Game Section ~ http://golfpsych.com/blog/category/mental-game/

--> Practicing Right Section ~ http://golfpsych.com/blog/category/practicing-right/

 

I have found a lot of these articles to be extremely useful as a learning tool to get over the hump of a handicap, play better in tournaments or just adjust your outlook and life in general. This information originally was in the 'One round changed my mental approach' topic, I felt that the information and possible questions were going to be off topic in that thread.

 

For me this changed how I approached golf after I read it to be honest, this helped me put words into the 'magical round'

http://golfpsych.com/blog/being-present-critical-key-amazing-golf-improvement/

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Callaway MD5 Raw 51-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 55-13 X-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

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