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gregsandiego

How easily are you psyched out of the zone?

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I was practicing at my favorite indoor range today hitting the driver pretty solidly (for me). Then I got an upsetting call (not tragic) that resulted in an argument and I'm angry....

So I go back to the driver and my striking ability is temporarily gone. I'm hitting the ball skyward, something I rarely do.  (topping is my thing). I keep trying and it mostly gets worse. 

It bothers me that I don't have enough muscle memory to counter a temporary mental distraction. Do you guys experience this kind of thing?

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56 minutes ago, gregsandiego said:

It bothers me that I don't have enough muscle memory to counter a temporary mental distraction. Do you guys experience this kind of thing?

As handicap golfer, not having enough muscle memory is actually a good thing. :-)

If you were a scratch and everything went to pot, that would be pretty awful. . .

I don't get that distracted on the driving range, but if I got a call like that I'd probably pack up and go home and sulk for a bit. :-D

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I think it's a pretty good question faced by many.  I sometimes get a little psyched when a notification or even a thought may drift in.  One of my barriers I've trying to move past faster is refocusing by the next hole, for example.  I still have trouble playing all 18 holes and my scores will show.  I seem to have streaky concentration too.  Don't know if they go together.   But I do play well mad!

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I've had that happen to me before. You get tense and your body doesn't feel right. Not a fun feeling at all.

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1 hour ago, jamo said:

I've had that happen to me before. You get tense and your body doesn't feel right. Not a fun feeling at all.

I've was going to say the same thing. Tension kills the swing every time. I know better than to play if I just had it out with the wife or after a bad day at work. 

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It used to take just a phone call, or a text message, but I refuse to not have my phone on the course, so I eventually worked through that. 

The thing that gets me now, and that I'll most likely be eternally working on, is dealing with with shots that aren't as good as I had hoped; that is, a shot that I thought was really awesome (hitting a wedge to what I thought was a near tap-in), but ends up just being good (instead of three feet, ten feet).

I know the solution is to assume the "worst", so to speak, but it's a hard lesson to learn.

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For me, it's sometimes a better question of how I psych myself into the zone.

We kind of went around on the whole mental/physical thing in the unpopular golf opinions thread. I conceded that a bad swing has more to do with poor results than anything mental, but still believe there is a significant effect. In my case, it can be almost anything. Somebody might say something I don't like. The group ahead of us may be playing slow. My ball may find a divot. The course forgot to cut the rough. Somebody didn't fix their ball mark. Maybe I lost a pencil. Stupid stuff. Yet I react.

Stopping the snowball rolling is the key, but it can still get away from me sometimes. When that happens, I can barely see the golf ball, let alone hit it somewhere.

 

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I think a player's "zone" comes and goes with out warning. You practice and play to become the best you can be, and at some point you are playing really, really well with out knowing it.......until your great play reverts back to your average play. I know when I play in my "zone" I dont realize I was doing it till it's over. 

I am at point in my life that after 67 years, not much bothers me. At least not any everyday stuff. I just smile at a lot of things that might make others forget their cool. 

My zone in golf usually revolves around my chipping, and putting. How I get into my golf zone, I have no idea. On those days it just shows up. Also it usually seems to show up when playing as a single, or playing with someone I don't know. 

When playing with my friends, there are usually too many shenanigans going on to get into any zone of great play. Maybe "goofy, fun stuff" can be considered a zone. 

What usually ends my in the zone play is weather, especially lightening. Sometimes something might happen that is not golf related. Maybe a commotion taking place near by can do it. As for golf related stuff,  a string of higher than normal scores per hole will tell me my stretch of great play is over.

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19 hours ago, gregsandiego said:

I was practicing at my favorite indoor range today hitting the driver pretty solidly (for me). Then I got an upsetting call (not tragic) that resulted in an argument and I'm angry....

So I go back to the driver and my striking ability is temporarily gone. I'm hitting the ball skyward, something I rarely do.  (topping is my thing). I keep trying and it mostly gets worse. 

It bothers me that I don't have enough muscle memory to counter a temporary mental distraction. Do you guys experience this kind of thing?

There is a lot of instances were a golfer can just hit ball after ball at the range and end up getting into a good rhythm. It's just being able to put together a halfway decent club face to path control due to rapid fire hitting. It wouldn't be something I would call being in the zone. 

In the end, there is too much variation and timing required, in a poor golf swing, to produce repeatable results under any form of time between shots. 

Yes, emotions an definitely cause a golfer to get out of sorts. It might be the best thing to just walk away from the range at that time. Better to make no swings than make bad swings. 

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17 hours ago, Hatchman said:

I think it's a pretty good question faced by many.  I sometimes get a little psyched when a notification or even a thought may drift in.  One of my barriers I've trying to move past faster is refocusing by the next hole, for example.  I still have trouble playing all 18 holes and my scores will show.  I seem to have streaky concentration too.  Don't know if they go together.   But I do play well mad!

I play OK mad, but not tense. I think they can be separate. OMG I need a shrink.

1 hour ago, saevel25 said:

 

Yes, emotions an definitely cause a golfer to get out of sorts. It might be the best thing to just walk away from the range at that time. Better to make no swings than make bad swings. 

I wish I had or wish I would. Sometimes I'll a crap shot and think - WTF I can hit that and try again. It's a vicious cycle as the next shot normally is worse.

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One thing that gets me out of the zone is certain conversation. 

I like to talk, but when someone asks " would you rather have this car or that car? ", and then they commence to giving a 30 minute explanation of the different options.

Really!!!!!! On Law & Order they don't interrogate someone that harsh.

It like someone reading you an 800 page book that you care nothing about.

When that starts, I'm ready to go home.

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I think that some of this hearkens back to the longstanding tradition of the "needle" in golf competition. The innocent seeming, offhand comment that can put a player off his game! The needle can come from anywhere, not just your playing opponents! That's why I leave my cell phone in the car!

My buddy loves to employ the needle. He is super competitive, and has been since we played basketball in grade school. I have to say that, at times, it has brought out the best in me. Most times I can let his zingers roll off my shoulders. One time I got him good!

He was faced with a 2 1/2 to 3 foot put to square the match and avoid having to buy beer. Pretty straight putt too, up the slope with a little break to the left at the end. My partner remarked to me that it was a pretty easy putt. I replied, just loud enough for him to hear, that he hadn't missed a putt that short in 3 or 4 years! ZING! Sure enough, he ginched it! Left it short and to the left! Man, was he pissed when he had to pay off the tab for our drinking that evening!

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1 hour ago, Buckeyebowman said:

 

He was faced with a 2 1/2 to 3 foot put to square the match and avoid having to buy beer. Pretty straight putt too, up the slope with a little break to the left at the end. My partner remarked to me that it was a pretty easy putt. I replied, just loud enough for him to hear, that he hadn't missed a putt that short in 3 or 4 years! ZING! Sure enough, he ginched it! Left it short and to the left! Man, was he pissed when he had to pay off the tab for our drinking that evening!

I get your point but smack talk doesn't bug me much. Usually partner tells me "don't f*** it up" when I have a par putt. But the pressure is already on in my head anyway.

The tension I'm referring to is usually outside of the game itself. 

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9 hours ago, Jackal66 said:

One thing that gets me out of the zone is certain conversation. 

I like to talk, but when someone asks " would you rather have this car or that car? ", and then they commence to giving a 30 minute explanation of the different options.

Really!!!!!! On Law & Order they don't interrogate someone that harsh.

It like someone reading you an 800 page book that you care nothing about.

When that starts, I'm ready to go home.

Sounds like another topic: weird personalities you meet on the golf course LOL

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Not very easily. I was playing with this total tool in the state open qualifying round last summer, and he was constantly blaming me and the other playing partner for him duffing every other shot like a 30 handicapper. Dude was technically a pro and shot like 98. The other guy was bothered was by him and his game suffered on the back 9. He limped in a round in the low 80s.  I just ignored him and went about my way and played decent. Which seemed to agitate him even more. I shot 76 and I ended up missing the cut by 2 shots that day, but it was nothing to do with the distraction. 

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I shall never forget my feeling as I prepared to hole my last putt at Scioto, in Columbus, Ohio, to win the United States Open in 1926. The thing could not have been over three inches in lenght. Yet, as I stepped up to tap it in, the wildest thought struck me. "What if I should stub my putter into the turf and fail to move the ball?". I very carefully addressed the putt with my putter blade off the turf and half-topped the ball into the hole. Sounds a bit psycho, doesn't it? But golfers can get that way. 

(Bobby Jones on Golf) 

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Ah yes.  The proverbial mental breakdown.  Happens more often than I would like to admit.  Sometimes for no reason at all.

When that happens, I usually try to concentrate on the basics like grip, alignment, stance etc.  But there never seems to be a magic bullet that makes it all better.

Golf is tough.  Any small distraction can ruin your concentration and hence your swing.  It's game of inches -  6 inches to be exact (distance between your ears).

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