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Is Golf More Mental or Physical?


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Golf more mental or physical?  

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  1. 1. In your opinion, is golf more of a physical or mental game?

    • More physical.
      40
    • More mental.
      19


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Clearly it's a lot of both, but I've always wondered that if golf is such a mental game, why do players only seem to practice the physical side.  And how does one even practice the mental side? 

I've known a few players, not that many, who didn't have the most athletic or orthodox swings but were really consistent and knew how to score.  Were they not better golfers than players with long, aesthetic but unreliable swings?   What do these players who learn just enough to hit playable shots know that most golfers don't?  

Comments?  Is the game in your head or in your hands, and how does your approach to improving at this game (or the mythical optimal approach) reflect your answer?

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With all sports, the two are intrinsically intertwined. All sports are mostly physical, unless you're one of those dorks who thinks chess is a sport. However, the mental aspect of the game can absolut

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More physical for sure. Your swing is repeatable even if it is a bad swing. Improving your swing takes dedication and discipline. The only real mental part of the game is knowing your shot zones and tendencies are and game planning for those with your tee and approach shots.

Same for the short game. A repeatable good pitch, chip or putt takes physical practice. The mental part is the read.

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I voted "more physical", probably almost all as was said. I do believe that my mind and body can be out of sync; that I can create thoughts that affect my physical performance; and that visualization does help. -Marv

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Obviously, you physically strike the ball or miss it. That's the goal. 

I guess I'm not even sure what we mean by "mental game". Do we mean basic things like picking the correct club for a given shot or reading a putt? Or do we mean things like a person's resolve, temperament and focus? The first is trivial. Even I can generally sort out which club I should use in a given situation. If its the second, I'm not sure how you'd "practice" it. 

Alternatively, maybe you'd define mental as simply the process of making decisions related to the game of golf. Would physical not simply be a reflection of the mental?

 

 

  

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4 hours ago, Runnin said:

Clearly it's a lot of both, but I've always wondered that if golf is such a mental game, why do players only seem to practice the physical side.  And how does one even practice the mental side? 

I've known a few players, not that many, who didn't have the most athletic or orthodox swings but were really consistent and knew how to score.  Were they not better golfers than players with long, aesthetic but unreliable swings?   What do these players who learn just enough to hit playable shots know that most golfers don't?  

Comments?  Is the game in your head or in your hands, and how does your approach to improving at this game (or the mythical optimal approach) reflect your answer?

Both, but more physical.

To play well you need a strong physical foundation, then I'd say a winning attitude, good swing thoughts and a good and consistent tempo etc.

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I cant put a percentage on it, but I think its a blend of both. Your mind controls your body so... The golf swing isn't a reactionary thing like catching a football or swinging at a pitch in baseball where you're relying on athletic instinct.  The ball is on the ground, just waiting for you to pummel it and nothing happens until you do. Its static thing and you control the starts and stops.  So having a fouced mind is important. We wouldn't ask for silence as we swing if thought processes weren't important. 

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I couldn't even start to imagine how in golf, one can choose between the two as the mental and physical are very intertwined.  I'd lean to mental frankly.  But it comes down to how you interpret what you consider the mental aspect.  If it's strictly just strategy, etc, then it's not a big deal, if it's the concentration and focus aspect also, then it suddenly becomes a major factor.

 

edit:  ack - G-Val just beat me to it

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Golf is physical. I think people have this illusion that it is mental because we're hitting a stationary object. Executing a full swing, pitch, chip, and putting stroke are all physical motions.

A lot of the mental aspects in golf exist in other sports IMO. 

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This has been discussed many times in other posts, but it's pretty much all physical.  You can have the strongest mental player in the world, if he can't swing a club properly, he's not going to be any good.  You have to be able to swing a club consistently, before the mental aspect even means anything. Now when you play for money or tournaments and wilt under pressure, you might consider that mental failure, but you still have to be able to swing the club correctly if you want to play really well.  

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

It’s almost entirely physical.

Dustin Johnson certainly favors this, which I believe as well.

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A little surprised people are so quick to discount the mental side.  No one answered why it is that some people with ugly, limited swings can regularly score better than golfer whose physical game clearly looks better?

Why do good players every hit bad shots?  Why do putters get the yips?  Why can't I manipulate my ball flight at will on the course the way I can on the practice tee.  The physical side of my game clearly knows how to hit every shot I could ever need?

Of course, the physical side is the only side some can claim they understand. 

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1 hour ago, David in FL said:

If you want mental, play chess.  

It takes more mental to swing a golf club correctly each time, than it does to physically pick up a chess piece and move it to another square.  :-P

By most of the simplified arguments here so far, I'd have to conclude that chess is also nearly all physical.

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Well, you have to be mentally aware of your movements just like you have to be sufficiently aware to stay in your lane when driving.

In the least you have to jog up your proprioception required for a golf swing. If the physical body had lights out memory then players would never need to take a practice swing. 

Good players hit bad shots (not that often), when they lose some aspect of the physical awareness of some mechanical aspect. It's like even good vehicles drivers drift from the lane a bit every now and then when attention drifts off (stop texting while driving.. ). In golf the slight drift could be as bad as ball contact at the hosel.  But at the end of the day, physical practice makes deliberate concentration less necessary. Gives a wider margin of error to make a good mechanical move.  

 

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9 minutes ago, Runnin said:

A little surprised people are so quick to discount the mental side.  No one answered why it is that some people with ugly, limited swings can regularly score better than golfer whose physical game clearly looks better?

Why do good players every hit bad shots?  Why do putters get the yips?  Why can't I manipulate my ball flight at will on the course the way I can on the practice tee.  The physical side of my game clearly knows how to hit every shot I could ever need?

Many responses stated that it depends what you consider mental versus physical?

Good players with ugly swings are still able to repeat that ugly swing and very likely have the adequate keys (5SK) for their playing level.

9 minutes ago, Runnin said:

Of course, the physical side is the only side some can claim they understand. 

Not really. If they did, then they'd have the golden egg of golf. . .

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8 minutes ago, Runnin said:

A little surprised people are so quick to discount the mental side.  No one answered why it is that some people with ugly, limited swings can regularly score better than golfer whose physical game clearly looks better?

Why do good players every hit bad shots?  Why do putters get the yips?  Why can't I manipulate my ball flight at will on the course the way I can on the practice tee.  The physical side of my game clearly knows how to hit every shot I could ever need?

Of course, the physical side is the only side some can claim they understand. 

Why does a tennis pro periodically double fault, why does the best place kicker  in the NFL occasionally miss a chip shot, why does a major league pitcher throw it in the dirt?  

Of course, playing any sport requires some concentration, but simply striking a golfball is no more cerebral than throwing a baseball or kicking a soccer ball.  There are those on this site that will attest to my horrible golf swing.  I can play at a reasonable level, not because of any mental acuity, but rather because my physical ability and hand/eye coordination allows me to return the clubface to the golfball with a degree of consistency, in spite of imperfect mechanics.  

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  • iacas changed the title to Is Golf More Mental or Physical?
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