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Need help with the mental game


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5 minutes ago, Lihu said:

I'm not sure that scoring lower on occasion translates to having potential to shot that low all the time.

Yeah, not really.  However, you remind me of a good motivational thought from Annika Sorenstam.  From this article:

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It’s hard to believe, but today is the 14th anniversary of the day I shot 59 at Moon Valley CC in Phoenix. That’s a long time ago, but the memories are still so clear it feels just like yesterday.

So how did that magical round happen? During my formative junior years on the Swedish National Team, we talked about the VISION 54 approach. It is based on the idea that if you play a course every day, you will eventually birdie every hole; therefore, why couldn’t you do it all in one day? I have always thought it is possible for someone to hit every fairway, every green and one-putt each hole. It was instilled in me from an early age to think positively and believe in your abilities.

 

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I think  you can compensate for poor swing mechanics and score well.  I was once 1 over through 9 holes.  However, the poor swing mechanics just make the game harder and my inconsistency bit me for the back nine where I was 9 over.  I think, for me, it's the swing mechanics not the mental game. 

One thing I think I am getting better at is diagnosing my problems.  For example on a round Monday I hit two shots in a row thin and I knew why and was able to fix it.  Perhaps that's part of the mental game and if it is maybe I'm getting better at the mental game.

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8 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

Do not try to correct the "mistake" on the last swing, just make your normal good swing.  Obviously golfers of all levels are going to hit bad shots, that's the nature of golf, but you have to find a way to banish those from your thought process.  Every shot isn't a catastrophe waiting to happen, its a new opportunity to make your normal good swing.

That's a good one. Overcorrection on a mistake can lead to yo-yoing back and forth between extremes, like steering a car.

Even pros do it when trying to adjust to green speeds, blow by the cup one hole, come up short the next, get frustrated and repeat the cycle.

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12 minutes ago, natureboy said:

That's a good one. Overcorrection on a mistake can lead to yo-yoing back and forth between extremes, like steering a car.

Even pros do it when trying to adjust to green speeds, blow by the cup one hole, come up short the next, get frustrated and repeat the cycle.

 

Okay, everyone in China is just learning to drive. The most experienced drivers have roughly 5 years under their belts. :-D

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20 minutes ago, Lihu said:

 

Okay, everyone in China is just learning to drive. The most experienced drivers have roughly 5 years under their belts. :-D

I wasn't picking on China, just the best short example vid I could find. Over-correction is a big new / teen driver error all over.

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3 hours ago, natureboy said:

I wasn't picking on China, just the best short example vid I could find. Over-correction is a big new / teen driver error all over.

I know, it was just too funny! :-D

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On 3/28/2016 at 11:31 AM, MrQster said:

I strongly believe that I have a very bad mental game, I'd say that I'm the worst mental golfer compared to all my golf buddies and golfers in my club.  

I've been playing golf for 20 years, about 40-50 rounds a year, so it's not like I don't have muscle memory in my swing, but I can't even say what my handicap (or average score) is because of the huge difference in scores from game to game.  

My last 4 rounds of golf were 85, 98, 79, 102.  There wasn't much difference in the slopes and ratings between the courses (shot 85 on the most difficult course and 79 on the easiest).

1 day I can hit my driver long and straight all day, confidently hit a driver straight down the middle on a narrow hole, then the next day my driver alternates between snap-hook and banana slides having to re-tee with a provisional shot hole after hole, penalties after penalties.  1 day hit 13 out of 14 fairways and 1 just of the first cut, next day would have maybe 1 fairway hit with 10 penalties off the tee in hazards or O/B.

With the irons, I can get GIR on almost every hole 1 day, hitting the greens on almost every approach shot, then the next day I struggle on every approach shot regardless of the distance or club I use.

Same thing on the greens, some day I feel every putt was easy and confidently sinking putts after putts, averaging less than 2 putts per hole.  Then the next day I would 3-putt on every hole, missing a bunch of straight-up 2-footers, or can't control the distance, from 15 feet I would be 6 feet short or runs by the hole 8 feet.  # of putts per game ranging from 30 to 50 putts

When I loose confident, I can't hit any club, all I can think of is "don't screw up this shot" and usually ended up hitting fat or thin.  But on the day I have confident, I rarely miss my target landing spot, my best round last year was 2-over-par with 1 eagle and 4 birdies whereas my worst round was 104 - go figure!

It is extremely frustrating.  I think it's all in my head, I just don't know what to do to get rid of the nerve when I loose confident.  I've been nominated as the most inconsistent golfer by my golf buddies year after year because there's usually not a lot of close game, I either beat them badly or they beat me badly, not much in between.

Any tip to get my game a little more consistent would be greatly appreciated.

A very frustrated golfer

Sounds like you don't play enough or practicing the wrong club ratio at the range it's just golf. When I go practice I notice I hit 2-4 tee shots and approach shots great and it's getting better because I practice. Go out there by yourself hit 4 tee balls and 4 approach shots per hole just practice.If for some reason your hitting 3-4 tee balls in play and the same day hitting 7-9 greens then maybe it's a mental issue but I doubt it. You will find your Percentage rate per shot will actually reflect your chances of doing this with one ball in a real round. If you see your self at the range hitting drivers and get 3 crushes and still see some snappers and tops out of ten shots then when you go play it will be no surprise that they may occur.

 

When I'm on fire and hitting just about 7-10 shots on the money on the range and miss a shot on the course I sometimes sum it up to lack of commitment to that particular shot it happens. Most of the time though I hit many good shots that day, play well and give my self some slack on solid pulls 20 yards left because I see them on the range and understand it's just part of my misses and percentages from what I have calculated from practice.

 

I'd like to add that confidence comes from practice and ability if you know you have the ability and have been performing in practice you then should have a good chance of hitting your fair share of good shots on the track. Over aggressiveness and timidness is a mental problem that I see a lot in young players they hit a wild spray off the tee and then the next hole get bothered by it for some reason or another. I'm not that great but score well because I rarely hit shots that will hurt me. I lay up on par 5's with soft 3 irons when a full 6 would achieve the same distance,but I know a topped 3 iron or one that I catch thin will simply roll out to a lay up opportunity vs a full on 6 iron pushed into the trees. I also hit driver past the trouble even when missed. It's ludicrous to try to hit a perfect hybrid for safety when that same clubs missed goes into a fairway bunker it's all about course management.

Edited by Mike Boatright
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For me, my mental game is closely tied to my swing. When my swing goes south, it messes with my mental game. It is at those time that I need to be my own coach and quiet my thoughts and slow things down a touch to get control of my swing... and my thoughts. Not keeping my mental game in check means that things only get worse for me.

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I have sympathy for you @MrQster. I have similar extremes sometimes which as you say, feels very strange considering the length of time you have been playing. If you are like me, it is probably because you desperately want to score low, every time you play, and you don't have the concentration levels to be able to overcome this with a process based approach.

Quick question: Do you play better or worse when you are in a group of people you don't know, or there are people watching you?

 

 

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2 hours ago, Pete said:

I have sympathy for you @MrQster. I have similar extremes sometimes which as you say, feels very strange considering the length of time you have been playing. If you are like me, it is probably because you desperately want to score low, every time you play, and you don't have the concentration levels to be able to overcome this with a process based approach.

Quick question: Do you play better or worse when you are in a group of people you don't know, or there are people watching you?

Thanks Pete, I think you may understand my issue the most, seems like most others don't because I believe most people don't have the extreme mental issues I have and I don't blame them as I have not seen it in any of golfers I know over the last 20 years.

Regarding your question, occasionally I get invited to play in a scramble tournament (vendor's, charity, etc.) where I play with people I don't know and I always play tremendously well, making great shots after great shots that I even surprised myself. Probably because I'm relax and have no expectation.

I can't remember since when I started calling my issue the Yip.  Once I get the Yip, I can't do anything right.

When I start getting the Yip, I can't hit any club straight, bad hooks AND bad slides repeatedly, not just 1 type of mishit, chunking an easy wedge again and again, I can't chip or pitch properly, repeatedly 3-putts .  When I get the Yip, I play like a 25-handicapper, but when I feel confident, I play like a scratch golfer.  

It's not like I want to score low every time, I know we all make mistakes, and I don't care much for having low score.  My biggest fear is getting the Yip and loosing to my opponent.  Even though I don't mind loosing the bet, I really do mind loosing the game and I think mostly because it's more to do with my pride. 

I don't think it's the lack of skills or lack of practice, Inconsistent golfer can not frequently shoots low 80s and high 70s. It's definitely 100% mental game for me.

All I'm trying to do is to find a way to get my out of the Yip when I start getting it.  Unfortunately not many people have this issue and can't comprehend what's it's like to have it.

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2 minutes ago, MrQster said:

I don't think it's the lack of skills or lack of practice, Inconsistent golfer can not frequently shoots low 80s and high 70s. It's definitely 100% mental game for me.

Post a Member Swing thread.

If it's 100% mental game (maybe it is), that would be a first.

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14 minutes ago, MrQster said:

Inconsistent golfer can not frequently shoots low 80s and high 70s. It's definitely 100% mental game for me.

All I'm trying to do is to find a way to get my out of the Yip when I start getting it.  Unfortunately not many people have this issue and can't comprehend what's it's like to have it.

I just played with someone who kind of twirls his club in a circle with what looks like a severe over the top swing and obviously cast. His shots were very high, too high. He hit far, even 300 yards on one shot (a provisional). He was getting lots of pars that day. Yet, he told me he was not that good a golfer. When it came time for a competition he could not play that well to save his life.

His swing was severely flawed, and he didn't have a clue why he plays badly during a competition. He was also convinced that he also has a bad mental game, while in reality it's simply that his swing was far too dependent upon his perfect mental focus to swing reasonably well all the time.

Could you also be in the same boat as him?

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4 hours ago, Lihu said:

I just played with someone who kind of twirls his club in a circle with what looks like a severe over the top swing and obviously cast. His shots were very high, too high. He hit far, even 300 yards on one shot (a provisional). He was getting lots of pars that day. Yet, he told me he was not that good a golfer. When it came time for a competition he could not play that well to save his life.

His swing was severely flawed, and he didn't have a clue why he plays badly during a competition. He was also convinced that he also has a bad mental game, while in reality it's simply that his swing was far too dependent upon his perfect mental focus to swing reasonably well all the time.

Could you also be in the same boat as him?

I don't think I am in the same boat with the golfer you described above.  

I'm not a youngster who tries to hit 300 all the time as I'm in my late 40s.  Late last year I spent an hour with the club pro on the range, and he only adjusted my swing plane slightly, he told me that I have a fairly controlled swing with good tempo so there's not much to fix. When I told him about my Yip issue, he told me it's all in my head and he couldn't fix that.

The different between me and the gentleman you describe above is that I don't play bad in every competition.  In half of my competitions, I would score really well.  But in other times when my YIP started, I would not be able to hit 1 decent shot, playing like a 25-handicapper.

I know it's golf and everyone would make a few mistakes in the round.  But my case is extreme mental issue.  My buddies tease me all the time that they feel like playing with a pro one day and with a beginner the next, I can shoot 79 one round and 105 the next round which is not just a few bad shots, it's just bad all the way around.

When I told my friends I'm going to post my issue on this board, they told me it's no use because no one would understand my Yip problem and I believe them now because I don't think anyone else would experience something close to what I have.

5 hours ago, iacas said:

Post a Member Swing thread.

If it's 100% mental game (maybe it is), that would be a first.

Next time I go out I will record my swing and post it.

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3 hours ago, MrQster said:

I don't think I am in the same boat with the golfer you described above.  

I'm not a youngster who tries to hit 300 all the time as I'm in my late 40s.  Late last year I spent an hour with the club pro on the range, and he only adjusted my swing plane slightly, he told me that I have a fairly controlled swing with good tempo so there's not much to fix. When I told him about my Yip issue, he told me it's all in my head and he couldn't fix that.

The different between me and the gentleman you describe above is that I don't play bad in every competition.  In half of my competitions, I would score really well.  But in other times when my YIP started, I would not be able to hit 1 decent shot, playing like a 25-handicapper.

The person I am referring to is also in his late 40s and has been playing almost 30 years with a home grown and pretty consistent swing. He does the same thing every time except possibly when under pressure. He also doesn't play bad every time either but plays bad enough to stay in one of the higher flight divisions.

 

3 hours ago, MrQster said:

Next time I go out I will record my swing and post it.

Same here, I just wasted a whole bunch of slow motion video of myself because the exposure was really bad and I'm just a silhouette.

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18 hours ago, MrQster said:

Regarding your question, occasionally I get invited to play in a scramble tournament (vendor's, charity, etc.) where I play with people I don't know and I always play tremendously well, making great shots after great shots that I even surprised myself. Probably because I'm relax and have no expectation.

I think you should post a Member Swing thread as the guys suggest as there will no doubt be improvements to be made that will reduce the likelihood of you getting the 'yip'.

If you are like me (sounds likely) you are focused more on hitting the shot you want to when playing with strangers, compared to focusing on results when playing with regular playing partners. I think it is an ego thing where. You want to impress the new players and you think only of hitting a great shot rather then worrying about hitting bad shots or the OB right, water left etc when you really want to win.

I am very nervous teeing off in the club championship because the result is so important to me. But if there were 100 people watching that first tee shot, I would be very confident that I would stripe it down the middle.

Does that sound familiar?

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This thread asks some good questions about what then mental game really is. Nerves over the ball to me seems just part of the actual technique/routine of playing of the shot. If I've had a good warm up and just hit 5 solid 3 woods then stepping up to the first tee is not really a particular mental challenge. We clear our minds of all unhelpful thoughts, maybe keep the one that helps us most and swing away.  

I sometimes struggle with a short game shot if conditions are unusual or its a tricky one. If you flub one or two it feels like a 'mental' issue (bounceback!) but for me it's just essentially just doubts over the technique I'm about to use (lack of warm up or practice is usually the cause). 

If the mental game is anything distinct I see it as the ability to remove from your mindset the external circumstances of your round and crucially how well you played the last few shots. These are the things that inhibit your usual technique and shot playing if you let them.

 

 

 

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MrQster,

Deep breaths when your feeling nervous might help. Tom Watson used to talk about letting his arms hang and shaking his hands around in between shots to stay loose.

IMO you need to focus on what you need to do correctly to execute each shot throughout the round. It's hard to think " don't chunk this shot" or what ever, and be successful.

Develop a pre shot routine for every stroke and stick with it. Tee shots, approach, short game, putts. Pre shot routine for every shot you play including practice.

Maybe take a little pressure off yourself with how you manage the golf course. Play your tee

shots towards wherever you are most comfortable. That might not be the middle of each fairway.

Play your approach to the middle of each green, regardless of where the pin is. If you miss the green, make a conservative effort with your pitch shot landing spot. Take the guess work out and try landing the ball halfway to the hole. Playing conservative golf may free up your mind a little bit so you can focus more on execution.

Finally, realize you will make a triple bogey, or shank a ball, or top another drive. You just have to reset, start over, and focus on routine and execution.

Good luck!

 

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Drawing some parallels to consider.  One of my all-time favorite cliches is this:  No plan is a sure plan to fail.  Reading your post sounded to me like you show up to a course without a plan and just 'wing it.'  On the way to a familiar a course, I'm thinking about where birdies and pars can be had, holes that don't setup well for me and having a plan to limit damage.  The good news is that most of the time, what I envision about the round holds true.  If you don't properly prepare for a round, what happens out there is anybody's guess.

I play guitar and sing and people pay me money.  It's great and I enjoy it immensely.  A month ago, a former band mate (bass player) called me to play a pickup gig with two other long-time playing 'mates.  We collectively put our heads together on material, prioritized the work and set out on two weeks of personal practice to prepare for the show.

The drummer, 2nd guitarist and I were completely prepared.  The bass player (who arranged the show) was ill-prepared and did nothing but make mistake after mistake throughout the show.  Kind of akin to 3-putting, rolling shots in the fairway and hitting 'em OB on every song.

When I hit the stage with my usual band, we are as prepared as we can possibly be. Being adequately prepared allows us to deliver our material (music) and show with 95%+ accuracy every time out. 

Same with golf.  Being prepared with your game and understanding the task at hand, (the course) is your BEST opportunity for consistent success.

Hope this help a bit.

dave

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Note: This thread is 1736 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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