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Tips for the Mental Game when approaching a milestone (100/90/80/etc)?

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Wondering how people handle the mental game of keeping focused when you are approaching a milestone?  I remember the first few times I broke 100 having a lot of 7s and 8s on the last three holes as I knew I was close and started to pucker.  Lately I've been flirting with 90 and am running into the same issue.  I see that I'm putting together a round (44 after 9, for example), and I can't seem to stop myself from thinking about "not blowing it" and, inevitably doing so as a result.  This can't be uncommon so I'd love to hear what some of you guys have done to "break through" as you approach a plateau score.

Thanks

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I have a problem pop up like this on occasion. The issue (in my opinion) is very simple: stop counting. You're focused on the score when you should be focusing on only the next shot. Try to pay as little attention as possible to your score until the round is over. Don't add up after 9. Don't keep checking when you get to 15 and 16 to see how close you are. Just play every hole one shot at a time, write down the score quickly and forget about it. If you don't know you're about to reach a plateau, you won't worry about blowing it. Obviously easier said than done since I still have the problem occasionally. ;)
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Golfingdad pretty much covered it. Some years ago I did a lot of competitive trap shooting (shotguns and clay targets). The matches were 100 targets spread over four 25 target rounds. When you went into the fourth round you couldn't help knowing where your score stood. It was hard not to count those last 25, and critical that you didn't! One shot at a time. Live in the moment and try to disconnect from the score. Rolls off the tongue real smooth. Hard to do, but the winners do it that way.
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Went through this for about two years when I was getting close to breaking 80 for the first time...Would always choke down the stretch doing exactly what we've all done. "Let's see...if I par the next three holes I'll shoot X".  Implemented the strategies outlined above (except I do check score after 9...) and not only did I break 80 I shot 75 and had a realistic chance to shoot par that day. I've bettered that score a few times since then and I actively try not to keep up even with what I'm over/under during a round. The only thing that's important is the next shot.

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That is why a lot of Pros wont look at the scoreboard coming down the stretch. Most people think that way because they don't think they deserve it (a really good score). I think the other way around. I tell myself (mentally) that I deserve the low score. It puts me in a different frame of mind, it frees me to stay in the moment, go with the flow, and play a good game.

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If you are like me, the advice of "don't count" is too hard to follow, I know where I stand no matter what. I think the hardest part is adjusting to the adrenaline. Coming down the stretch and especially on 18, you will hit it a club longer into the green, and your touch around the green will not be the same. If you expect the adrenaline to come and make adjustments for it, you will have an easier time.

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I never look at it like I am keeping score for a "round of golf". Too easy for ups, downs, and anticipation to throw me off track.

I play every hole like it is a totally new game and my goal on every single hole I play is to make par or better. Easy enough after the round is over to remember how many times I was under and how many times I was over for those 18 separate holes.

If I make a bogey or two early it doesn't really matter because I've got another game to play on the next hole.

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If you are like me, the advice of "don't count" is too hard to follow, I know where I stand no matter what. I think the hardest part is adjusting to the adrenaline. Coming down the stretch and especially on 18, you will hit it a club longer into the green, and your touch around the green will not be the same. If you expect the adrenaline to come and make adjustments for it, you will have an easier time.

This is the same for me. It is almost impossible for me to not know where I stand.

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Really just echoing what others have said. Stay in the moment. I do not even like to think about entire holes. I just want to visualize and execute my next shot to the best of my ability. I really try to keep every shot seperate and not let the previous shot have any effect on the current on. Sometimes this is more difficult as I tend to obsess over score. If I recognize that I have fallen into this mindset, I will think about anything else other than golf as I am playing, only stopping to concentrate for a minute or so as I play my shot. I try to write my number on the scorecard as quickly as possible and not look at it otherwise.

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Really just echoing what others have said. Stay in the moment. I do not even like to think about entire holes. I just want to visualize and execute my next shot to the best of my ability. I really try to keep every shot seperate and not let the previous shot have any effect on the current on. Sometimes this is more difficult as I tend to obsess over score. If I recognize that I have fallen into this mindset, I will think about anything else other than golf as I am playing, only stopping to concentrate for a minute or so as I play my shot. I try to write my number on the scorecard as quickly as possible and not look at it otherwise.

Yup. I broke 90 for the first time in a really long time last weekend (88) and I just focused on every single shot on the back nine and tried not to think about the score at all.

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As I mentioned in another similar thread... I don't play ONE 18 hole round, I play 18 SINGLE rounds, each one hole. I keep score but NEVER track the totals. I can tell if I'm having a good day or a bad day. You can tell if you're going to get a milestone - If for 3 of your first 4 holes you take 7's, you can pretty much eliminate breaking 40 on the first 9 anyway. This should release your tensions and you will find yourself playing with a better attitude and you might break it on the back. You may not break 80, but you got half the job done when you played with a different mind set. Even if you take that 7 or 8 on the card, you file it away and that's where he 18 single rounds of one hole each comes in. Next hole is a different animal and you go at it fresh.
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Originally Posted by 14ledo81

This is the same for me. It is almost impossible for me to not know where I stand.

I don't disagree.  When I am playing a really good round, then there is no way for me not to know what my score is because I've had 14 pars and 3 bogeys or whatever.  For that matter, no matter how good or bad I'm playing, I have a knack for knowing my score without knowing my score.  For example when one of my playing partners is keeping the round, at the end, no matter how I played, I will think to myself "that felt like an 86" or whatever, and I'm rarely off by more than one.

However, there is a difference between knowing where you stand and counting up in your head and doing the math to figure what you need for your goal.  It's not easy, which is why a lot of us have trouble with it, but it's doable.

You have to find a way to convince yourself that the only way to do what's needed is to put everything else out of your mind and focus like hell on the shot at hand, and only the shot at hand.

Of course, knowing that's what needs to be done, and doing it are 2 different things altogether.  I have a lot of trouble with this right now too, but I'm working on it. :)

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