How often on the range do you face the same conditions: you haven't made a swing with that club perhaps yet that day, the lie is sidehill/downhill from a slightly burned out lie, you've just walked up and down a hill for 250 yards and spent two minutes looking for your buddy's ball… etc.?
On the range you're just out there hitting the same club over and over, from flat lies, to the same target over and over.
And yet someone who can't break 100 can be better at "course management" than a PGA Tour pro. So even if you want to put that in the "mental" column, it doesn't account for much of anything.
Nah. I'm not giving you that one. How you practice determines how well the "physical" side of things improve.
No, it's not. Controlling distance on long putts is entirely a physical thing - delivering the clubhead to the ball with the proper impact conditions (clubhead speed, AoA, contact location, path, loft, etc.).
And nobody is thinking about their tempo when playing. That's on autopilot at that point. It occurs without thinking.
Oh brother, so you're just gonna attribute everything to the mind because golf is not something we do naturally, like breathing, is that it?
Maybe… just throwing it out there… it's not nearly as mental as you seem to believe it is?
Maybe… just throwing it out there… the player with the superior physical skills almost always wins, and the most the mental aspect can add is a sliver of an advantage?
I'm going to lose almost all the time to a table tennis person rated two hundred points higher. I can know the location of the pitch, the speed, the shape (curve, slider, etc.), and I can be coached to have all the positive mental imagery and confidence in the world… and still not hit the ball as well as an MLB player who is singing along to music on headphones, using a bat that isn't their own, and facing a pitcher they've never seen before.
Muscular tension is a physical thing. It may be a manifestation of a mental thing, but it is itself a physical thing.
Green reading isn't mental. You train the physical to do it. I've taught seven-year-olds to read greens better than far more accomplished golfers in 30 minutes. The training involves paying attention to physical sensations.
One is doing a better job of training the physical.
Seriously, if you want to attribute everything to the mental game because we're sentient human beings and golf is not an instinctual thing, be my guest, but that renders the conversation silly at that point.
Depending on the hole, have 2 to all of you go at the pin with your approach shots. Lets say the pin is guarded by water, then try to get one ball on the green or just off the green in a safe spot. Then you have free reign to try to pin seek. You need birdie opportunities. In most cases you should be able to get up and down from most places around the green.