Distractions in golf - How do you deal with them?

Distractions in golf are a part of the game. From the rattling of change in your playing partners pockets to the shadow cast across your line when you're just about to take the putter back.

It's difficult to recall a round where there wasn't at least something to get distracted by. Well, that is if we let it. What kinds of distractions get you a bit rattled? Are there certain scenarios that seem to take your focus off your shot more than others?

It's useful to make a note of these. This way you can apply some techniques I'll show you and remove the negative impact these "distractions" have on your game. The inner game must be developed to as high a degree as possible.

First I want to offer a different perspective. This might fly in the face of conventional wisdom yet it has proven to be an effective shift in mindset. *Just like hockey, where the referees are a part of the game (like it or not), distractions are a fundamental part of the game of golf.*

Distractions disappear first with a change of mindset

Now this might sound strange I realize, but this "reframe" is essential. Once you get it your overall perception of what influence these distractions will have will change forever. So first begin to look at them as a part of the game.

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By seeing them as simple elements inside the game, not as something that is destroying your concentration or ruining your good rounds, a mental toughness will develop in you. I will show you how things that previously distracted you can actually trigger increased focus in your shot or putt.

You see, by placing too much emphasis on removing distractions and "getting everyone quiet", or making sure things are just perfect before you make your swing, you are inadvertently increasing the negative influence these inevitable distractions will have on your performance.

Now let's be clear. There will always be something we can focus on and blame for our poor shot or bad round. It's the easy out. Do you recall the heat Colin Montgomery took several years ago in New York when fans wouldn't quiet down for him and he refused to hit until things were quiet?

I don't support or encourage needless crowd noise or heckling, yet the increased attention he brought to himself caused more distraction than what was already present. It ended up becoming a multi-year issue for him.

How can you manage distractions?

I want you to look at the 3 ares of distractions.

    What you see - This can be the shadow cast by a partner. Someone standing behind you in your peripheral vision (I'll admit this is one of the most challenging to overcome for me). Players moving across your view when standing over your putt. The list is endless of course.

    What you hear - People talking. (Have you noticed that sometimes whispers seem louder than someone talking at normal volume!) A horn going off in your backswing. Someone coughing just as you take the club away. I'll let you add to this list...

    What you feel - This is more about your physiology. A little itch above your left eye you feel like scratching right when you are making your putt. Your blood sugar level. Your mood. Your sense of tiredness. Fatigue. Your attention drifting to how fast your heart is racing.

I've merely expressed a few in each area. You are undoubtedly aware of these and countless others. Which area tends to have the most influence on you? There are mental game strategies you can use to reduce the influence of distractions in golf. It begins with building a solid mental game plan.

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