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post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post

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.

 

Can golfers feel pressure when they're about to shoot their personal best? Sure. But that doesn't explain why players get hot on the back nine after playing poorly on the front nine, right? How nervous are you really on the first tee?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post

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.

 

I've probably over-estimated the 9%. Look at the PGA Tour. The vast majority of the players probably have nowhere near the mental capacity (golf-related, I mean) of Tiger, Jack, or Hogan… yet they win.

 

Seriously, consider how much 9% would be if it truly contributed to a golfer's score.

 

Plus, those are professional athletes. You simply can't compare them to an 8-handicapper or a 12-handicapper playing in a casual game.

 

And I'm sorry, but I'm not letting you off the hook like that. If golf was 90% mental, why does Tiger Woods spend so much time practicing? Why was Michael Jordan one of the hardest working basketball players? Why does Tiger Woods spend so much time working on his swing? And when he's not doing that, he's working out, or running, or training in other ways.

 

How much time do you think they spend working on their "mental game"? Surely if it was even 50% of what separated them they'd devote time to it, right?

 

The "90%" is stuff that professional athletes say. Again, if you could transplant Tiger's or Jack's or Ben's brain into the body - keeping their swing - of a sucky golfer, he's still not going to break 90. It's just not gonna happen.

 

P.S. Jack, Arnie, Gary, Tiger, and Phil are not more accomplished at teaching the game than I am. Not even close. :-) And it's been pretty well established that what pros say they do is not all that important.

 

P.P.S. Just off the cuff, I asked @david_wedzik - who had Web.com Tour status, has played on the PGA Tour, etc. - what percentage he would ascribe to playing good golf. His answer? 5%.

post #20 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

Can golfers feel pressure when they're about to shoot their personal best? Sure. But that doesn't explain why players get hot on the back nine after playing poorly on the front nine, right? How nervous are you really on the first tee?

 

 

How many amateurs actually warm on the range to get a good swing groove down? I think majority of the time is that they end up just going to the tee box and go, and they slowly adapt to the shot patter they are getting over the course of the round. 

post #21 of 57

I'll leave you with a few quotes from atheletes and about atheletes.  You can choose to believe what you want.  We can agree to disagree on the relevance of the mental game.

 

I feel that hitting specific shots -- playing the ball to a certain place in a certain way -- is 50 percent mental picture, 40 percent setup, and 10 percent swing.
[Jack Nicklaus with Ken Bowden. Golf My Way. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974]
 

IF I COULD BE LIKE MIKE: Jordan's Mental Edge

by Jeff Janssen, M.S.
Peak Performance Consultant
University of Arizona

 

Think of some of the all-time greatest athletes in sport - Joe Montana, Bille Jean King, Muhammed Ali, Cheryl Miller, Hank Aaron, Wilma Rudolph. As you think about these people, reflect on the characteristics they possessed that made them so legendary. While most likely these athletes were physically gifted, I'll bet it was their mental approach to the game that truly made them outstanding. For example, one such superstar we all are familiar with is Michael Jordan. While Jordan was blessed with quickness, jumping ability, and height to help him excel, Michael's biggest strength was his mental game. Jordan held a decisive mental edge over his opponents throughout his entire career. It was his mental toughness that propelled him to numerous individual awards as well as six NBA championships.

 

 

One of the most important components of playing well is controlling your emotions and your mental game.  How much time and energy do you put into this EXTREMELY important element of the game?

How many times have you had a good round going only to make a bunch of bogies near the end the round.  Your good round has once again turned into just another average round.  We have all done this, but why does it happen and what are you going to do to stop it from happening again?

This tends to happen when you start to get out of “The Moment” and start thinking about the end result.  We have all heard about getting into “The Zone” and being super focused.  This is simply focusing all of your thoughts and energy on the shot at hand.  If you are still thinking about how you bogied the first few holes or missed a couple of short putts, you are focusing on the past.  If you are trying to calculate what you could shoot, and you are thinking that this could be your best round ever, you are focusing on the future.  Either way your thoughts are not in the present where they need to be.

It is important to come up with a plan so when your mind starts to get out of the present, you can bring yourself back and get focused on what you are doing.  Having a clear mind before you execute your shot is pivotal if you want to perform your best.  Start with a deep breath and a vision of how you are going to play your next shot.  Take a practice swing with the same feel that you will need for the shot you are about to hit.  Step into the shot and just let it go – totally trust that your body knows what to do .  To keep it simple – Relax, See it, Feel it, Trust it.  by Mark Anderson

 

Of Course, Dr. Bob Rotella is biased...

Having said that, I believe it's impossible to overestimate the importance of the mind in golf. There is no such thing as "muscle memory." Your muscles have no capacity to remember anything. Memory resides in your head. Therefore, no matter how long you practice a golf swing, no matter how skilled you become, your muscles alone can't remember it and execute it when the need arises on the golf course. Your muscles and the rest of your body are controlled by your mind. Unless your mind is functioning well when you play golf, your muscles are going to flounder. If your head is filled with bad thoughts, your scorecard is going to be full of bad strokes.

Read More http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/mental-game/rotella?currentPage=1#ixzz2tnAvwyaT

 

Teach what you want, but Dr. Rotella has the insight on the power of the mind game.  How much time do professional atheletes dedicate to the mind game?  I bet every practice session, they are mentally focusing on what type of shot they want to hit, where they want it to go, how they want to execute the swing, etc...  So they probably unconsiously put as much mental practice in as they do physical.  What's more, every golfer is aware of positive mental picturing before each shot.  Read above, the body will do/try to do what the mind perceives.

 

FWIW, I dont put enough time towards my mental game.  After this thread, I will make a conscious effort to increase/strengthen my mental game and mental awareness and see if my game improves. 

post #22 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

I'll leave you with a few quotes from atheletes and about atheletes.  You can choose to believe what you want.  We can agree to disagree on the relevance of the mental game.

 

I feel that hitting specific shots -- playing the ball to a certain place in a certain way -- is 50 percent mental picture, 40 percent setup, and 10 percent swing.

 

I honestly feel like you're not reading anyone's posts that disagree with you.

 

I'll tell you what:

 

Let's both take a beginner golfer. Twins, to make it simple. I'll never talk to him about the mental game, but I'll instruct the crap out of him. You can take him to as many psychologists as you like, but you only get to spend about an hour a week swinging the club.

 

After a year, they'll play 36 holes of match play.

 

I'll give you 10:1 odds my guy wins. You in for ten thousand dollars?

 

P.S. There's no denying that there's something to having a mental "edge" but an edge is a very thin line. It's not a big disparity; it's not a large amount. It's a thin "edge." It's a small percent.

post #23 of 57

Dr Rotella is still basing it on a specific definition of what the mind controls (I liked his books BTW).  Of course the brain controls all functions of the body and the muscles have no memory storing neurons.  But there are certain "right and left" brain functions.  The term muscle memory really comes from training the body and not having to continually retrain those same movements each time you start out.  You were taught how to cast a fishing rod or ride a bike as a kid.  Do you have to start from scratch each time you try it new?  Of course not.  You have ingrained those movements for casting and balancing on a bike in the part of your brain that does not need conscious activation.  Same with walking and running.

 

I can pick up a guitar and play most chord patterns without thinking about how to place my fingers.  I play songs without thinking about the chord progressions.  I don't have to consciously activate those movements.  On a ukulele, I still have to think of them or see them in a book.

 

For golf, I would like to get to the same level and only focus on target or objective, which is where Pro golfers are.  That is when the mental part of the game really takes over.

post #24 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

I honestly feel like you're not reading anyone's posts that disagree with you.

 

I'll tell you what:

 

Let's both take a beginner golfer. Twins, to make it simple. I'll never talk to him about the mental game, but I'll instruct the crap out of him. You can take him to as many psychologists as you like, but you only get to spend about an hour a week swinging the club.

 

After a year, they'll play 36 holes of match play.

 

I'll give you 10:1 odds my guy wins. You in for ten thousand dollars?

 

P.S. There's no denying that there's something to having a mental "edge" but an edge is a very thin line. It's not a big disparity; it's not a large amount. It's a thin "edge." It's a small percent.

LOL!  I'll take that bet.  In fact, lets make it $20,000!  Your twin will piss his pants on the first hole.  LOL.  

 

Look, you are downplaying something that you probably do instinctively - visualize your shot, perform a pre-shot routine, have a designed shot shape of each hole.  All that is part of the mental game.  You have belief in your swing and that translates to mental toughness. 

 

And then it gets much bigger.  Adam Scott experienced your "thin edge" when he bogied the final 4 holes in the 2012 British Open to loose by one shot.  Jean van de Velde walked on the edge when he tripled bogeyed the 18th at Carnoustie in '99 (he birdied the 18th on Fri and Sat).  And Greg Norman knows a thing or two about mental lapses.  Oh, you must think his swing caused him to shoot 78 on Sunday in '96 to loose The Masters and yet blow another Major Championship.  And lets not even bring up Tiger Woods.  He's only known for his golf swing, not his mental edge.  Yes, iacas, there is SOMETHING to having a mental game.

 

To the OP, based on your last post, you may want to work on your swing.  It sounds like it is failing you before or after you have a flawless nine.  : )  Or, read the short article by Dr. Rotella and see if anything in there can help out. Let us know what works best.

 

cheers

post #25 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

LOL!  I'll take that bet.  In fact, lets make it $20,000!  Your twin will piss his pants on the first hole.  LOL.  

 

Look, you are downplaying something that you probably do instinctively - visualize your shot, perform a pre-shot routine, have a designed shot shape of each hole.  All that is part of the mental game.  You have belief in your swing and that translates to mental toughness. 

 

And then it gets much bigger.  Adam Scott experienced your "thin edge" when he bogied the final 4 holes in the 2012 British Open to loose by one shot.  Jean van de Velde walked on the edge when he tripled bogeyed the 18th at Carnoustie in '99 (he birdied the 18th on Fri and Sat).  And Greg Norman knows a thing or two about mental lapses.  Oh, you must think his swing caused him to shoot 78 on Sunday in '96 to loose The Masters and yet blow another Major Championship.  And lets not even bring up Tiger Woods.  He's only known for his golf swing, not his mental edge.  Yes, iacas, there is SOMETHING to having a mental game.

 

To the OP, based on your last post, you may want to work on your swing.  It sounds like it is failing you before or after you have a flawless nine.  : )  Or, read the short article by Dr. Rotella and see if anything in there can help out. Let us know what works best.

 

cheers

 

Once again you are comparing players who are very close together in ability, so something has to give. 

 

Lets math it up. Lets say both players have EQUAL physical ability, what makes the difference. Mental. If you create a player who is overwhelming dominant physically, or playing ability its tough to beat them. 

 

The reason Tiger was dominating the tour was because he was top 10 in total driver, top 10 in greens in regulation, top 50 in scrambling, and one of the best players. Not because he willed his opponents to defeat. He was able to out last them all because of ABILITY!

post #26 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

Look, you are downplaying something that you probably do instinctively - visualize your shot, perform a pre-shot routine, have a designed shot shape of each hole.  All that is part of the mental game.  You have belief in your swing and that translates to mental toughness.

 

You're missing the point that you can do ALL of those things, better than anyone has ever done in the history of golf, and if your swing sucks, you're still probably gonna hit a crappy shot.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

And then it gets much bigger. Adam Scott experienced your "thin edge" when he bogied the final 4 holes in the 2012 British Open to loose by one shot.

 

Adam Scott has one of the best swings in the game. He finished second in a major championship. He didn't fail to break 90 at a local course. What separates Adam Scott from you, me, or anyone else who doesn't have a PGA Tour card is largely about the quality of the golf swing (putting, chipping, etc. too).

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

Jean van de Velde walked on the edge when he tripled bogeyed the 18th at Carnoustie in '99 (he birdied the 18th on Fri and Sat).

 

No… Jean van de Velde was done in by horrible luck. If his ball misses a thin railing, he's your Champion Golfer of the Year.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

And lets not even bring up Tiger Woods. He's only known for his golf swing, not his mental edge.

 

So when he was struggling in 2010, or 2011… why was that? Was it because he couldn't find the clubface, or because his mind was different somehow?

 

And if Tiger's mental game is so good, why does he ever lose? Because we KNOW his ball striking, putting, etc. are otherworldly (look up Mark Broadie's numbers if you need convincing), so why does he ever lose? He's "mentally not there" 75% of the time? Or is his swing off some weeks a little, or his putting off, or someone else gets hot?

 

You're not reading what's being written.

 

If you take Tiger's "mental edge" (his entire brain) and plop it inside your head, with your swing, you're not gonna be winning majors or even competing on the PGA Tour any time soon. The "mental edge" is paper thin, and it might save a shot here and there, but it's their swings that got the guys to the PGA Tour.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post
 

To the OP, based on your last post, you may want to work on your swing.  It sounds like it is failing you before or after you have a flawless nine.  :)  Or, read the short article by Dr. Rotella and see if anything in there can help out. Let us know what works best.

 

Here's a guy shooting 10 over par (pretend they're all par fours):

 

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 (37/45)

 

Here's another guy doing the same.

 

5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 (45/37)

 

Here's a third guy doing the same.

 

5 3 5 5 4 5 4 6 5 5 4 5 4 3 5 4 6 4 (42/40)

 

And for the fun of it, a fourth guy:

 

5 6 5 5 5 5 5 6 5 5 4 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 (47/35)

 

Did everyone but the third guy somehow have a stretch of nine holes or so where they were mentally different? They all shot the same score. Heck, they could easily all be the same golfer, playing the same course, and sometimes playing well in stretches. Most of the time, the scorecard will look like the third. Sometimes, the first three scenarios can play out.

 

If you flip a coin enough times, there are good odds that it will land heads up ten times in a row somewhere in there.

post #27 of 57
You're both hopeless. Thing is, to each their own. Good luck (if you believe in that sorta thing).
post #28 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by amac View Post

You're both hopeless. Thing is, to each their own. Good luck (if you believe in that sorta thing).

 

Well, that's one way to respond to the points being offered. :-P 

post #29 of 57
My only opinion on the mental game is that it's an easy excuse. It's simpler to say "I had a mental lapse, I'm such an idiot," than to say "I just didn't practice enough; my swing isn't where it should be," or "I'm just not good enough, and was kind of lucky to be near the lead that late in the first place."
post #30 of 57
How do you practice your mental game?

Seems to me, if I work on my swing, that would help me mentally. At least it would give me more confidence in high pressure situations to know I had a swing I could rely on.
post #31 of 57

Can I split the difference and agree with both amac and Iacas?

 

I think the mental game has a huge impact on whether a player "plays up" to his/her potential, especially in pressure situations. For a most recreational players, the mental game variance could be worth as many as 10 strokes, perhaps more. If you accept that premise to be true (and I do, although maybe some won't), attempts to diminish the importance of the mental game seem pretty silly to me. But ultimately, someone's potential is only a function of how sound their swing is. As Erik says, the average recreational player won't be able to compete with the best in the world, even if their mental game is second to none. The reason is that their upper boundary of their performance is much lower than the pro. And that boundary is determined by how solid their swing is.

 

In summation, I think a sound mental game is key to maximizing one's potential and ultimately enjoying the game more. But I think a golfer's swing determines the range that he is capable of performing within. To lower that range, you gotta improve your swing fundamentals.

post #32 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by 14ledo81 View Post

How do you practice your mental game?

Seems to me, if I work on my swing, that would help me mentally. At least it would give me more confidence in high pressure situations to know I had a swing I could rely on.

I agree.

 

The ridiculous argument that transpired is rather due to some peoples definition of mental. Mental is of the mind and whilst we can have a philosophical debate about whether the brain and the mind are one and the same, I'm sure most people at least know their mind is in their brain, not up their khyber.  Personally, I've always taken the saying," golf is 90% mental", to refer to the grey matter between your ears and simply because the brain controls most of your body and stores information for correct muscle sequencing etc , I have no problem with the statement. Why certain individuals are so threatened by this saying is beyond me, it is certainly not any excuse to post in the manner they have. 

post #33 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post

My only opinion on the mental game is that it's an easy excuse. It's simpler to say "I had a mental lapse, I'm such an idiot," than to say "I just didn't practice enough; my swing isn't where it should be," or "I'm just not good enough, and was kind of lucky to be near the lead that late in the first place."

 

I do agree mental does exist. Look at all the times Phil had a meltdown, or a stupid aggressive decision. I put it as, did he out think his ability. So if so its a two way street. His ability wasn't high enough to match his nature. I could say its both. In the end, ABILITY reigns supreme. 

post #34 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

Personally, I've always taken the saying," golf is 90% mental", to refer to the grey matter between your ears and simply because the brain controls most of your body and stores information for correct muscle sequencing etc , I have no problem with the statement. Why certain individuals are so threatened by this saying is beyond me, it is certainly not any excuse to post in the manner they have. 

 

(Virtually) Nobody else takes it that way. That's why.

post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

(Virtually) Nobody else takes it that way. That's why.

Oh, is that a fact?  So Erik, because it's your forum, you speak on behalf of everyone?

post #36 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

Oh, is that a fact? So Erik, because it's your forum, you speak on behalf of everyone?

 

Logman, I never said that I speak on behalf of everyone, let alone gave a reason.

 

http://thesandtrap.com/t/72581/need-some-mental-help#post_952270

http://thesandtrap.com/t/72581/need-some-mental-help#post_952272

http://thesandtrap.com/t/72581/need-some-mental-help#post_952276

http://thesandtrap.com/t/72581/need-some-mental-help#post_952279

http://thesandtrap.com/t/72581/need-some-mental-help#post_952281

 

What you are saying is not what (virtually all) people mean when they say "need some mental help," that they need to work on their "mental game," or anything like that.

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