Golf is About Managing your Mind
To play great golf is about managing your mind
. As the infamous Dr. Bob Rotella says, "golf is not a game of perfect". Therefore it is about managing mis-hits, really. Tom Watson always claimed it is a game of moving through the course and dealing with the numerous mis-hits and this determines your scoring ability.
Those who are stuck in the "must be perfect" trance are in for needlessly long days on the course. Even the great Ben Hogan said he only hit, on average, 4 to 5 quality shots per round!
So if one of the greatest ball strikers in the history of the game plays at the highest level of golf and hits only 5 great shots a round, how many do you expect? How many "perfect" shots must you hit to feel like you'll shoot good scores?
I'll bet it is A LOT higher than 5. And this is at the root of your inability to post consistently low scores.
"The perfection of your shots does not determine your score, the way you manage your mind, and therefore your game, has the greatest impact on your ability to post low scores."
Excpectancy, Not Expectations, is THE Key
Golf is about managing your expectations, which directly link to the entire process of managing your mind in golf. I think we all know what the term expectations means. "I want to play great to day", "I want to hit solid shots all day, after all I've been at the range ever day and I should hit loads of shots right where I want them to go."
Of course there are expectations of how we'll perform in a tournament, of playing better and better each time we play, etc.. Anyone who's played higher level golf knows the inhibiting effect expectations have on our performance.
Yet the term "expectancy" is something I haven't heard or read anyone talk about in the area of mental game coaching. It is a critical part of my entire coaching process. Yet expectancy is far different than expectations.
Manage Your Game From the Inside Out
Let's take a brief, yet clear, look at what expectancy is and how it can transform your golf game. Just for a second recall being a little child on Christmas Eve, or whatever big holiday is culturally appropriate for you. Remember the wonderful sense of anticipation?
Of course you do! This feeling is similar in kind to if you've ever went to the airport on your way to going on a long awaited vacation. That feeling of "wow, I wonder what amazing things are going to happen during our stay in Italy!" Ok, do you feel that sense in you now? Really take a moment to get a sense of it.
This is expectancy. Anticipation of how things can be, NOT "expectations" of how things should be. Do you get the difference? Make sure you do...
This is the feeling we want to play golf from. A childlike enthusiasm, with your mind filled with anticipation of what each shot can bring. If you hit it in the water, so what! Smile and say "you just watch this recovery shot..." and do that for every shot. As Hogan said when asked "what's the most important shot in golf?" he replied, "the next one..." Pure genius, isn't it!
The bottom line is you must treat each shot, no matter how it comes off, as a brand new event. Separate from any other shot you've ever hit. This is how you learn to play "in the now", in the moment golf. Playing consistently good golf is about managing your mind.
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