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Need some mental help

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
Haha I know, I know, all golfers do but I'm having a real problem. I can play one great 9 then the wheels fly completely off. I may play 9 holes 1-2 under then blam-o, bogie fest on the back. If I start terrible, bogies and doubles I turn it around and shoot even on the back.
It's not a particular part of the game that gets out of sorts either. It's poor irons, bad drives, duffer chips, lipped out putts, you name it. Today I shot 9 over on the front and 1 under on the back. 2 days ago I shot 2 under on the front and 8 over on the back. I'm going nuts.
post #2 of 57

The game of golf is 90% mental and 10% physical.  A very popular quote used by all the best in the game, for a reason!

 

I know how you feel.  Putting it all together for 18 holes is tuff.  You are certainly applying pressure to yourself and then tensing up over the swing.  My thought is you need to take note of how you feel/felt while shooting the good 9's - more relaxed, not thinking about score, enjoyable playing partner, light conversation, lower/no expectation for outcome, etc... and then try to apply that mind set for all 18 holes.  Easier said then done.

 

I'm in a similar situation right now with inconsistent scoring and letting certain holes get into my head.  One way you may approach your round is to divide the holes into 3, 6 hole segments.  You can break it down further if you like, but the idea is not to focus on the traditional front vs back.  Break the course down in smaller segments and have scoring goals for each.  The point is the focus.  Once you start looking at the end number, the tension creeps in.  Once you complete a segment, focus on the next, but don't look back and don't look ahead.  My best scores come when I don't know how many over I am until I sit down in the clubhouse.  Outside of this, there are dozens of books written about this topic.  I'm thinking of reading one myself.  I'm a 10 handi and think I should be a 5.  Gotta get my mind right to make that move!

 

Stay relaxed.  Stay focused on one shot at time.  Don't let one bad shot dictate the day.  Don't look ahead.  Don't look behind.  Have fun.  This is my mental check list before each round.  Hope this helps.

post #3 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post

The game of golf is 90% mental and 10% physical.  A very popular quote used by all the best in the game, for a reason!

In an airport so please don't read brevity as anything but me typing on my phone…

But that's nowhere near true. I don't care if you could transplant Tiger's or Jack's brains into the body (keeping the body's swing, etc.) of a crappy golfer - that Frankenstein golfer still isn't breaking 90.
post #4 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post


In an airport so please don't read brevity as anything but me typing on my phone…

But that's nowhere near true. I don't care if you could transplant Tiger's or Jack's brains into the body (keeping the body's swing, etc.) of a crappy golfer - that Frankenstein golfer still isn't breaking 90.

So what do you think you're doing when you give a lesson? Are you teaching the student's body or creating neural pathways in the brain?

post #5 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

So what do you think you're doing when you give a lesson? Are you teaching the student's body or creating neural pathways in the brain?

 

Oh that is a total twist of the original meaning of the word. Everyone knows that mental means the emotions, ability to harness them towards a specific goal, not being complacent. 

 

There a reason why certain football teams, who seemingly have the same talent level might end up 3-4 wins apart, its due to mental. Leadership, buying into a program, a system, an idea, a concept towards a goal. That is mental. It isn't the neural pathways that drive the human body. Those neural pathways would be considered physical anyway since their end result is a physical action. 

post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

So what do you think you're doing when you give a lesson? Are you teaching the student's body or creating neural pathways in the brain?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

Oh that is a total twist of the original meaning of the word. Everyone knows that mental means the emotions, ability to harness them towards a specific goal, not being complacent. 

 

There a reason why certain football teams, who seemingly have the same talent level might end up 3-4 wins apart, its due to mental. Leadership, buying into a program, a system, an idea, a concept towards a goal. That is mental. It isn't the neural pathways that drive the human body. Those neural pathways would be considered physical anyway since their end result is a physical action. 

Agree. Teaching a students body or creating neural pathways are one and the same, it's just semantics.

post #7 of 57

The point being the brain controls the body, therefore, there is some merit to the saying,"golf is 90% mental".

post #8 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

The point being the brain controls the body, therefore, there is some merit to the saying,"golf is 90% mental".

Again, semantics. If you're using the term mental as meaning the psychological aspect of the game then saying golf is 90% mental is simplistic and wishful thinking. OTOH if you're using mental to mean physical (as in mechanics) then…umm…yes…I agree.

 

So in other words I disagree with the statement "golf is 90% mental and 10% physical" but I agree with the statement "golf is 90% mental control over your physical actions and 10% physical control of your body's ability to handle stress and pressure."

:smartass: 

 

Or something like that...

post #9 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

The point being the brain controls the body, therefore, there is some merit to the saying,"golf is 90% mental".

 

Ok just to blow up your logic because I can. :-D

 

Quote:
 

men·tal

1  [men-tl]  Show IPA
adjective
1.
of or pertaining to the mind: mental powers;mental suffering.
2.
of, pertaining to, or affected by a disorder ofthe mind: a mental patient; mental illness.
3.
providing care for persons with disorderedminds, emotions, etc.: a mental hospital.
4.
performed by or existing in the mind: mentalarithmetic; a mental note.
5.
pertaining to intellectuals or intellectualactivity.

 

Where does it say neural pathways and physical activity? 

 

I do say look at number 5. "Pertaining to Intellectuals or intellectualactivity, meaning Mental only means a person's psychology not physical ability. 

post #10 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post


In an airport so please don't read brevity as anything but me typing on my phone…

But that's nowhere near true. I don't care if you could transplant Tiger's or Jack's brains into the body (keeping the body's swing, etc.) of a crappy golfer - that Frankenstein golfer still isn't breaking 90.

Re-read the OP's post.  Clearly he has game.  He is struggling with keeping it together for 18 holes.  If he can shoot 1 under on the front nine, why is he blowing up on the back?  Because the mental pressure of maintaing the level of play is too great.  There is a breakdown in his mental game.  I don't care how good Adam Scott's swing is, if he can't handle the pressure, he will certainly choke under pressure and shank it, duff it, dump it in the water, hit it OB, etc...  

post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

Re-read the OP's post.  Clearly he has game.  He is struggling with keeping it together for 18 holes.  If he can shoot 1 under on the front nine, why is he blowing up on the back?  Because the mental pressure of maintaing the level of play is too great.  There is a breakdown in his mental game.  I don't care how good Adam Scott's swing is, if he can't handle the pressure, he will certainly choke under pressure and shank it, duff it, dump it in the water, hit it OB, etc...  


Hard to tell how much is a swing problem or how much is a mental lapse. Could be either or both.

 

I have more ups and downs than most golfers but in my case it's clearly a swing problem. I get extremely lucky for stretches (sometimes even for multiple rounds) and shoot really good scores but sooner or later reality kicks back in and I come back to real life. When I'm not hitting the ball very well all of the mental focus in the world can't save my round.

post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

Re-read the OP's post.  Clearly he has game.  He is struggling with keeping it together for 18 holes.  If he can shoot 1 under on the front nine, why is he blowing up on the back?  Because the mental pressure of maintaing the level of play is too great.  There is a breakdown in his mental game.  I don't care how good Adam Scott's swing is, if he can't handle the pressure, he will certainly choke under pressure and shank it, duff it, dump it in the water, hit it OB, etc...

I don't know the OP from Adam, and I don't mean to offend, but there is nothing in that post that makes it clear that he has game.  He just said that he sometimes plays nine good holes along with 9 bad holes.  Sometimes he starts good and finishes bad, and sometimes he starts bad and finishes good.  I'd be willing to bet that sometimes (probably even more often) his good and bad holes are interspersed.  Well, join the club.

 

I was fortunate enough to play the last two days, and they were, for me, fairly decent rounds.  (82 both days)  My best nine holes on Sunday, I was +1.  My best 9 holes yesterday, I was -1.

 

I don't "have game."  And I don't have "mental pressures of maintaining a level of play."  What I have are flaws in my swing.

 

My advice to the OP is simple:  Improve your swing;  Find a good coach.  Take a lesson.  Practice what you learn.  Get a little better.  Rinse and repeat.

 

If I miss a 3' putt on the 18th hole to win a tournament because my hands are shaking, that would be choking under pressure.  Just playing good for half the holes in a round and playing bad for half the holes in a round doesn't have anything to do with pressure.  It has to do with me not being a very good golfer.  Period.

post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

I don't know the OP from Adam, and I don't mean to offend, but there is nothing in that post that makes it clear that he has game.  He just said that he sometimes plays nine good holes along with 9 bad holes.  Sometimes he starts good and finishes bad, and sometimes he starts bad and finishes good.  I'd be willing to bet that sometimes (probably even more often) his good and bad holes are interspersed.  Well, join the club.

 

I was fortunate enough to play the last two days, and they were, for me, fairly decent rounds.  (82 both days)  My best nine holes on Sunday, I was +1.  My best 9 holes yesterday, I was -1.

 

I don't "have game."  And I don't have "mental pressures of maintaining a level of play."  What I have are flaws in my swing.

 

My advice to the OP is simple:  Improve your swing;  Find a good coach.  Take a lesson.  Practice what you learn.  Get a little better.  Rinse and repeat.

 

If I miss a 3' putt on the 18th hole to win a tournament because my hands are shaking, that would be choking under pressure.  Just playing good for half the holes in a round and playing bad for half the holes in a round doesn't have anything to do with pressure.  It has to do with me not being a very good golfer.  Period.

I don't fully agree the solution is just a swing fix.  I can recall several occasions playing in high school tournaments where I would open with a 43 and close with a 33.  It wasn't because my swing changed.  It was my state of mind changed.  Same home made swing, different mental approach.  After blowing my round, I relaxed and began to play like I was capable.  If you and or the OP have similar experiences, then how will a better swing prevent you from not mentally cracking?  Sure, even a 15 handicap can occasionally shoot a good score on nine holes.  But I am willing to bet that either the next nine they blew up and shot 50 or they shot 50 on the front nine.  Same swing, but how you handle the pressure and how your swing performs under pressure is everything.

 

As a 8.2 handi, I say you have game.  Anyone capable of shooting under par on nine holes has "some" game.  I'm not saying the OP is ready for Q school, but he probably has sound fundamentals.  I hit the ball great while on the range, but when I get on the course and have to execute the shot, why do I mess up?  Pressure.  The mental aspect of the game is one reason why Pro's play on Sunday for millions.  They know how to bring their range swing to the course and don't let the thousands of spectators and tv camera's affect them.

post #14 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post

I don't fully agree the solution is just a swing fix. I can recall several occasions playing in high school tournaments where I would open with a 43 and close with a 33.  It wasn't because my swing changed.

I don't think Barney was saying that. But if you are prone to make bogeys and pars sometimes the similar ones lump together.

"Scoring" in golf is not 90% mental. Isn't even 9%.

That said we need a few mental game threads. Given how this one started I don't think this is one of them.
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

It wasn't because my swing changed.  It was my state of mind changed.  Same home made swing, different mental approach.

I wasn't suggesting that his swing changed after 9 holes.  It's just a swing that is owned by a 12 handicap.  Mine belongs to an 8.  It doesn't change mid-round.  It typically produces 6-12 pars or birdies, and the rest bogies or worse.  Some days the good holes are clumped together at the beginning, some days at the end, and some days they are scattered.  If I had a better swing (something I'm working on) that would produce more consistent solid shots, then I might average 12-16 pars/better per round, leaving only a couple of bogies or worse on the round.  It's got very little to do with the mental approach.

 

Sure, I might make a dumb mistake here and there or yip a short putt that could be chalked up to stupid brain things in my head, but it's mostly, quite simply, a lack of skill.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

If you and or the OP have similar experiences, then how will a better swing prevent you from not mentally cracking?

I don't need anything to keep myself from mentally cracking, because shooting a few bad holes after a few good holes ISN'T "mentally cracking."  It's "not playing well" or "not being talented."

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

Same swing, but how you handle the pressure and how your swing performs under pressure is everything.

What pressure?  What pressure pops up after 9 holes to people in a random round that causes them to suddenly suck?  Pressure pops up when you are close to doing something you haven't done before, or something difficult.

 

- The last few holes of a tournament you are leading.

- The last few holes of a round that you know is nearing a personal best.

 

Certainly the "mental game" is part of it.  Good strategy, proper warm up, pre-shot routines, all that stuff ... but I'm not buying that "pressure" plays a very big part of causing us to play poorly in most situations.  Simply put, most situations are pressure free!  It's a game, and its for fun.  Where is the pressure?

post #16 of 57
Golfingdad, I think you're totally missing it. I've had the very experience the OP is talking about - more than once. I've played with other golfers that went from hot to not. Afterwards, they admitted the thought of shooting their best score ever got in their heads and that was it. You don't need a tournament to feel pressure. Any weekend game will do.

Iacas, i am speaking metaphorically, but you're way off with less than 9%. I'll take the wisdom and experience of athletes like Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Mike Tyson, Muhammed Ali, George Forman and Wayne Gretzky and many other atheletes including Olympic gold medal winners that stress the high level of importance on their respective mental game. Further, golfers like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have all said golf is 90% mental. Teach what you want, but more accomplished experts on the subject agree golf is 90% mental.
post #17 of 57

Guess, what we are not them

Scratch players are not them, your playing partners are not the greats. I can see that at the HIGHEST level the margin of difference can come down to a mental advantage, but that is at best situational. 

post #18 of 57
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the responses. I should have clearified a little more. This has just started recently, the last 5-6 rounds. I typically shoot from 2-3 under to 2-3 over. I drive the ball where I want most of the time, hit a lot of greens, I get up and down pretty good on average. I average around 30 putts a round. When I play bad, whether it be the front nine or back, I feel disconnected. It's like I'm out of touch, even a little light headed. I may just have to be honest with myself and say my best golf is behind me.....or start practicing a lot more. Thanks again for the responses.
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