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Mental Errors - How Bad/Good Are You?


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I remember reading an interview with one of Tiger's swing coaches where he said that with every other player he taught, after each round he would ask things like:

  • What were you thinking when you did x on 15?
  • Why didn't you do y on 6?
  • If you replayed your second on 15, would you do it differently? etc. etc.

But with Tiger, he said he never ever second guessed any of Tiger's course management decisions.

I find that every round I make at least one really dumb mistake -  like 

  • forgetting that on a certain hole a lay up 50 meters short leaves me with an easier third than being pin high 10 metres to the right when punching out and going for the hero shot
  • forgetting that on certain holes a 15 foot uphill putt is easier than a 5 foot sidehill or downhill putt in certain conditions.
  • losing focus on the "easy" shot back onto the fairway and giving it 50% concentration and not getting a good result
  • knowing I've teed it up 5mm too high or low and hitting it anyway

I feel that most rounds I completely waste a couple of shots due to poor focus and bad course management. A good caddy would be a great help!!!

Is this something you think about much? Do you see at as a problem in your rounds? Do you have a technique for making your brain work properly?

I mean.......the ball isn't moving........we don't have to make reflexive, instinctive decisions.

I'm interested in your views/experience! :-)

Edited by Shorty
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10 minutes ago, Shorty said:
  • forgetting that on certain holes a 15 foot uphill putt is easier than a 5 foot sidehill or downhill putt in certain conditions.

Oh my, no, this is almost NEVER going to be true.

15 feet versus 5? C'mon.

My mental game is great. And it hardly ever really matters. The mental game is a tiny part of why we shoot what we shoot.

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(edited)
2 minutes ago, iacas said:

Oh my, no, this is almost NEVER going to be true.

15 feet versus 5? C'mon.

 

We have a couple of crazy slopes and when it's super fast it's either in or 6 feet coming back.

But I'm really talking about just doing dumb sh*t, not having a robust mental game. Like teeing it too high or low and then not bothering to fix it. :-)

Edited by Shorty
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3 minutes ago, Shorty said:

We have a couple of crazy slopes and when it's super fast it's either in or 6 feet coming back.

Then the mental error is the person cutting the holes on a 6.5% slope.

I've seen exactly one time in all of my years playing golf when being 15 feet away is "better" than being 5 feet away. It was a stimp 10 6.5% slope green. Very nearly a hole cut in a literal roll-away position.


Anyway, I almost never make mental mistakes, because proper GamePlanning is really pretty simple. You can teach a golfer proper GamePlanning in an hour, or less. Or by reading the third section of a book written by two dummies from Erie, PA.

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10 minutes ago, iacas said:

Then the mental error is the person cutting the holes on a 6.5% slope.

I couldn't agree more. 

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Here’s a mental error, leaving your driver, 6 and 9 iron in your practice bag and arriving at the course only to find out!

AE1774ED-FB02-425E-AB96-345F8FA35F28.jpeg

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I have lately caught myself after a bad shot, a few times a round, realizing I had been thinking about something other than golf from the time I pulled the club to the time I finished the swing.  That's probably not a good thing, but I also don't know how many good shots happened when I was doing the same.

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What I have to do is focus on one shot at a time. Plan the hole from the flag back. That's the plan, but that's based upon hitting a good tee shot. If I don't put the tee shot where I need to, then it's a new hole. The tee shot is behind me. I have a different shot. I may have to hit a banana ball around a tree which I'll try if I'm hitting the ball well. If I'm not hitting the ball so well, I'll punch out. Best to let the game come to you to avoid putting up big numbers.

This year will be interesting. I've dropped my LW, gone with a OL 56 wedge and added a 7W.

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On 4/9/2021 at 4:19 PM, Shorty said:

I remember reading an interview with one of Tiger's swing coaches where he said that with every other player he taught, after each round he would ask things like:

  • What were you thinking when you did x on 15?
  • Why didn't you do y on 6?
  • If you replayed your second on 15, would you do it differently? etc. etc.

But with Tiger, he said he never ever second guessed any of Tiger's course management decisions.

I find that every round I make at least one really dumb mistake -  like 

  • forgetting that on a certain hole a lay up 50 meters short leaves me with an easier third than being pin high 10 metres to the right when punching out and going for the hero shot
  • forgetting that on certain holes a 15 foot uphill putt is easier than a 5 foot sidehill or downhill putt in certain conditions.
  • losing focus on the "easy" shot back onto the fairway and giving it 50% concentration and not getting a good result
  • knowing I've teed it up 5mm too high or low and hitting it anyway

I feel that most rounds I completely waste a couple of shots due to poor focus and bad course management. A good caddy would be a great help!!!

Is this something you think about much? Do you see at as a problem in your rounds? Do you have a technique for making your brain work properly?

I mean.......the ball isn't moving........we don't have to make reflexive, instinctive decisions.

I'm interested in your views/experience! :-)

I get where you are going with this. 

The only thing I can think of that would really constitute a "Mental Mistake" is there have been times where I'm forced to used a cart and it's cart path only. I assume I have the correct club and then by time I walk across to my ball (Not sure why I never hit it near the cart-path.) I realize I don't have the "right" club. So, 9 times out of 10 I use the club I have rather then hike back for another one. 

Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't I always think "Damned, I'm an idiot." 

Pretty much the rest of the time my mistakes come from this list.

  • Hit it off the hosel.
  • Hit it off the toe.
  • Hit it off the heel.
  • Hit it off the bottom.
  • Hit it off the top of the club, or roof of the driver.
  • Shanked it.
  • Thinned it.
  • Or some other unexpected weirdo swing fault that happens. 

I would bet "mental" mistakes, on average, probably make up about 1 shot a round for me... maybe less. I played yesterday. Shot an 84.... 12 over par. I don't think any of those 12 were due to "mental" mistakes. I would say that all 12 shots came from "didn't hit it good enough" mistakes.

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Most common for me is to simply not line up a shot or and extra second or two to focus before making a swing.  There are lots of distractions during a round that I forget to really play golf.

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8 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I assume I have the correct club and then by time I walk across to my ball (Not sure why I never hit it near the cart-path.) I realize I don't have the "right" club. So, 9 times out of 10 I use the club I have rather then hike back for another one. 

You realize that you can take more than one club with you when you walk across, right? Assess your distance from the cart (a rangefinder or GPS helps), and take the club for that distance and inclination and also take one more and one less, at least.

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15 hours ago, sjduffers said:

You realize that you can take more than one club with you when you walk across, right? Assess your distance from the cart (a rangefinder or GPS helps), and take the club for that distance and inclination and also take one more and one less, at least.

Of course I know I can take more than one. And I usually do. Every now and then this seems to be a mistake I will make. 

Like I said I don't really think I make too many course management decision errors. 

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51 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Of course I know I can take more than one. And I usually do. Every now and then this seems to be a mistake I will make. 

Like I said I don't really think I make too many course management decision errors. 

Have you made the 6 instead of 9 mistake? I have! Wow that 9 iron went far!

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2 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Have you made the 6 instead of 9 mistake? I have! Wow that 9 iron went far!

That's hilarious. I had a set of clubs for a short time without the line drawn under the 6 and the 9. Drove me crazy. 

Nowadays it's impossible for me to make that mistake, my 9 iron is a different style of club AND a different brand. I have a 9 iron players blade and a Super Game improvement 6 iron. 9 iron is dynacraft, 6 iron is Tour Edge. I dare say nobody could confuse them. 

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2 hours ago, boogielicious said:

Have you made the 6 instead of 9 mistake? I have! Wow that 9 iron went far!

I'm pretty notorious for pulling my 50 degree instead of my 60. It's always neat to be 70 yards out and end up flying the green by 30 yards lol I recently upgraded though and made sure to get all different finishes on my wedges this time!

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13 hours ago, boogielicious said:

Have you made the 6 instead of 9 mistake? I have! Wow that 9 iron went far!

Yup. In my case, it was the 6 iron that didn't go anywhere, lol. To make matters worse, I used to have the 6 and 9 iron right next to each other... Not anymore! 

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AS I got older I ended up under-clubbing myself all the time. It has taken me way to long to adjust, but I finally have embraced it and try to hit the right club. Just don't ask me what club I hit because I will probably lie.😎

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