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Mulligan87

Mind ruining game!!

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Hi everyone

Just seing if other people suffer with similar problem as I currently have.

Originally coming down from a high handicap had such enjoyment and no worries on the course.

Got down to handicap of 8 and have set myself goals for the future. All of a sudden have this expectation to play good golf and getting frustrated as not playing near what I should be playing. look forward to playing all week and my game has gone to crap over last few months and handicap blown out to 14. 

Taking more time over the shots, really concentrating seems to be having the opposite effect on my game :(

My  current skill level should be around 6~8 handicap but my mind has got in the way.

Without getting a labotomy anyone have any ideas lol?

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I look at it this way: wherever your game is at- that's reality. 

Any "shoulds" are just my imposing wishful thinking and don't necessarily reflect where my swing is in reality.

It could very well be that your 8 handicap play was a brief time where your hand-eye coordination was overcoming poor fundamentals in a swing. The 14 handicap might be where your swing truly is (despite your gut feeling), and that your issue is not primarily a mental game problem.

If I were you, I would get to work with improving fundamentals, which will help even for a 6-8 handicap.  Let the mental stuff sort itself out, which will be easier if you can identify the weakest parts of your swing and make them more sound. 

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5 hours ago, Mulligan87 said:

Hi everyone

Just seing if other people suffer with similar problem as I currently have.

Originally coming down from a high handicap had such enjoyment and no worries on the course.

Got down to handicap of 8 and have set myself goals for the future. All of a sudden have this expectation to play good golf and getting frustrated as not playing near what I should be playing. look forward to playing all week and my game has gone to crap over last few months and handicap blown out to 14. 

Taking more time over the shots, really concentrating seems to be having the opposite effect on my game :(

My  current skill level should be around 6~8 handicap but my mind has got in the way.

Without getting a labotomy anyone have any ideas lol?

I know exactly how you feel, and I'd change my handicap to what it should be right now except I haven't posted in GHIN yet. :-D

Honestly, it doesn't take much to go from an 8 to a 14.

However, 14 is a little bit on the extreme high side of "badness". Yeah, you might shoot an occasional 92 or 93, but generally your handicap shouldn't actually vary that much even though you feel like it did.

It could be any number of things for me that makes me play so bad at the moment. . .

1) Playing less frequently

Was playing every single day, anywhere from 7 holes to 37 holes. The main thing was that I played a lot. Short game was pretty good, and my putting was a bit more confident although not actually better.

I was even able to make swing changes on the course very comfortably because that's where I practiced. Never really went to the range.

 

2) Practicing less frequently and not on the course when I do

I played many practice rounds, about half of them were practice. This helped me relax more on the course. I didn't care what I scored, and sometimes came out with a really good score.

Now, I practice on the range and the practice greens which really don't represent the stuff on the course very well.

3) Attitude?

It seems like this could be the biggest thing? Not sure really.

Sometimes I think I just don't care about my score so much these days?

My feel for the short shots just disappeared almost once I stopped playing. Putting became foreign to me. I don't really know how to read the breaks very well at the moment.

 

4) Loss of focus? A tendency to be careless and not really spend the time I need to make a decent strike.

My swing hasn't really changed for about 3 maybe 4 years, maybe some minor tweaks in setup/path or whatever, but overall the same swing.

The main difference is that now my on the course playing is only 3 rounds a week versus 8 to 10 rounds per week before when I was better. That makes a huge difference for mid-cappers.

 

Just play to your best ability right now and be happy with it. That's pretty much what I'm doing. 12 to 14 is still pretty impressive to bogey golfers, just enjoy that. . . :-D

Edited by Lihu
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5 hours ago, Mulligan87 said:

Hi everyone

Just seing if other people suffer with similar problem as I currently have.

Originally coming down from a high handicap had such enjoyment and no worries on the course.

Got down to handicap of 8 and have set myself goals for the future. All of a sudden have this expectation to play good golf and getting frustrated as not playing near what I should be playing. look forward to playing all week and my game has gone to crap over last few months and handicap blown out to 14. 

Taking more time over the shots, really concentrating seems to be having the opposite effect on my game :(

My  current skill level should be around 6~8 handicap but my mind has got in the way.

Without getting a labotomy anyone have any ideas lol?

A buddy of mine has had this problem for the last year or so.  He had gotten down to a reasonable handicap and then started taking the game more seriously, getting lessons and so on.  He had become a head case. Too much thinking and too little swinging.  

On one hand, by taking lessons, his swing is better now than before but he's so scared to swing through because he doesn't trust it.  At least until recently when he told himself to get his body into it and swing through.  Now he's trending back. 

Setting goals is good.  Expectations are bad.  Saying you should do this or that is bad.  I've shot a 64 (-8) and I'd like to say I should do that every time, but that's unrealistic.  Set the goal, get your swing ready, and go have fun and make sure you finish.

Last but not least, Welcome to TST!

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32 minutes ago, phillyk said:

A buddy of mine has had this problem for the last year or so.  He had gotten down to a reasonable handicap and then started taking the game more seriously, getting lessons and so on.  He had become a head case. Too much thinking and too little swinging.  

On one hand, by taking lessons, his swing is better now than before but he's so scared to swing through because he doesn't trust it.  At least until recently when he told himself to get his body into it and swing through.  Now he's trending back. 

Setting goals is good.  Expectations are bad.  Saying you should do this or that is bad.  I've shot a 64 (-8) and I'd like to say I should do that every time, but that's unrealistic.  Set the goal, get your swing ready, and go have fun and make sure you finish.

Last but not least, Welcome to TST!

I had the same problem personally. I got myself down to a 2.8 a few years ago but never could improve. I had some big swing flaws but I knew where my ball was going and my short game was there so I scored well. Not able to drop that handicap any lower, I set my goals on getting lessons and working my butt off to get to scratch. So that's what I did. I started seeing a teacher and months later, my game was worse than it had ever been. I then moved to another teacher and still no change. I got very frustrated and that's what ultimately led me to give up the goal for a bit.

Over thinking is a big problem with me as I get really OCD about trying to make things perfect. I have now set my goals to get back to single digits and where it goes from there, it goes. I don't plan on letting my handicap dictate my enjoyment like I did the first time.

Edited by TN94z

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I'll probably get flamed for this, but I'm going to do it anyway!

In the words of the immortal Shivas Irons, "You think too much, and you try too hard. Let the nothingness into your shots".

You said it yourself, it's your mental state that's screwing you up. Taking more time than you used to over a shot, to no avail. Excessive expectations. Getting frustrated. All this is your mind getting in the way.

The fact that you got to an 8 indicates that you are physically able to do so. You just have to learn to get out of your own way!

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15 hours ago, Buckeyebowman said:

I'll probably get flamed for this, but I'm going to do it anyway!

In the words of the immortal Shivas Irons, "You think too much, and you try too hard. Let the nothingness into your shots".

You said it yourself, it's your mental state that's screwing you up. Taking more time than you used to over a shot, to no avail. Excessive expectations. Getting frustrated. All this is your mind getting in the way.

The fact that you got to an 8 indicates that you are physically able to do so. You just have to learn to get out of your own way!

No flaming required. It is a good idea. "Be the ball Danny".

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On 4/18/2017 at 2:12 AM, Mulligan87 said:

All of a sudden have this expectation to play good golf and getting frustrated as not playing near what I should be playing. look forward to playing all week and my game has gone to crap over last few months

I used to have this cycle about every year. Still do to some degree. Growing up in Montana there wasn't much for options to keep the swing grooved over winter. Spring would come and my game would steadily get better. Then I'd reach a point, usually late June or early July where expectations started to creep in. Never failed. My best golf was never at the end of the season, but the early-middle. Wasn't until I took some time off from the game and came back that I was able to get over that hump. What worked for me was realizing that the shot after the miss was more important than the miss, saving double bogey is a thing that shouldn't upset a player of my level, and playing frustrated isn't as fun as accepting that golf is hard and I'm going to have bad rounds.

Doesn't work all the time, but the last couple years I've played the best golf at the end of the season rather than two months in!

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I don't overthink the overthinking anymore. I overthink and that's just who I am.

Butttt.....if you are going to overthink, at least make sure you are thinking the right stuff. Get good eyes on you. Get the right stuff, get prioritized, think it and do it.

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Expectations get in the way of a good round. Goals can create such a great future that you constantly judge your current position against them and you lose where the game is. In the moment. I learnt to get better at Concentration and let go of setting goals. I always want to make birdie. I always want to shoot a low score. I always want to drop my handicap. Why make goals around this when you already have them?

Focusing more on learning and enjoyment has transformed my game.

Edited by iacas
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I always went with thought, that all the brain stuff was used when practicing. Once I am playing for a score, I am all about having fun, with a little humility thrown in. There is just no time for swing thoughts when playing.  Course management,  and address position are more than enough to be thinking about. 

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Here's the thing. You still have to think about your shots. Everyone here is saying think less, but that's over the ball. When you're standing behind the ball, do all your thinking there. Be specific with what you want to do. We all tend to get distracted. Get clear on what you want to do with the ball.Then walk in to the ball focusing on clearing your mind. Focus on something else other than golf, like tonight's dinner, or what your girlfriend said to you that was pleasant, but don't think about your swing or results. Hit the ball. Execute the shot. The last step is to accept the result. Golf is imperfect, and you need to understand that you really don't need to hit the ball that well to score. Accept the result, the repeat this process on every one of your shots. 

 

Basically, you,

 

1. Choose a shot

2. play subconsciously

3. accept result

4. repeat until done.

 

Try that for three rounds and let us know.

Another thing is muscle memory. (I know there's no such thing as muscle memory, I've studied the nervous system and how the brain creates motion. But really, it's just a terminology, so I'll continue to use it).

 

You basically need to learn the skills first, then repeat the action until you can do it without thinking. If you were an 8, which I am, then your game is solid. Just go back to what you do best. Strike the ball the way you know how, and forget all the instruction. I'm self taught, so I know how muscle memory works. 

I played piano for a time, and after you get the hang of it, it becomes automatic. You need to stop thinking about HOW to play the game and just go play. If I were to think about how I played piano, I'd not be able to play either. In the beginning you think of how, but once you get past that initial learning stage, it should become automatic. Focus on choosing a shot, and hitting it, and you'll do just fine.

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14 hours ago, Jacktgolf said:

Here's the thing. You still have to think about your shots. Everyone here is saying think less, but that's over the ball. When you're standing behind the ball, do all your thinking there. Be specific with what you want to do. We all tend to get distracted. Get clear on what you want to do with the ball.Then walk in to the ball focusing on clearing your mind.

Basically, you,

1. Choose a shot

2. play subconsciously

3. accept result

4. repeat until done.

This is solid advice.

Thinking less when evaluating a shot is only going to compound the errors. You still have to evaluate the lie, where you can't miss it (short siding yourself), etc....

Develop a sound preshot routine and stick to it. Then when you're over the shot, think of only one swing thought and execute. 

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Here is a simple game plan that will reduce your frustrations. First, start by selecting only one or two mechanical or mental processes to work on at a time. Once you master the process, your golf will improve and you will lower your score.

Pick small process goals initially. After you master small goals, move on to larger ones.

Change takes time because your mind is very good at keeping you where you are. It is almost impossible to change over night, so there is no need to get frustrated. Just acknowledge that it will take time to change and take it one step at a time.

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A different scenario just rolled through my mind. 

Can the game of golf temporarily ruin a golfer's mind? Cause them to generate their own mental melt down?

 Only a temporarily insane person would break/throw a few hundred dollars of clubs, and other equipment.Maybe injure themselves banging on something. 

I guess it would be where the crazed golfer decided on where to place the blame. 

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