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Is golf more mental or physical?

Golf more mental or physical?  

58 members have voted

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

    • More physical.
      39
    • More mental.
      19


440 posts in this topic Last Reply

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7 minutes ago, phillyk said:

Golf is highly physical.  "Mental" game may matter to those who are of equal physical abilities, because every little bit matters.  But they are who they are because of their physical attributes.

True - I've hit maybe 2 shots in my life purely through the power of math and concentration with no clubs and no physical motion - but those drives did go straight and about 235 yards.  But the ball itself moved and it's made of matter, so I have to call that physical also.

For me golf is mostly in the liver.  And the taste buds.  Drinking a bloody mary is definitely physical 90%, mental 2% and spiritual 8% - on hot days it might require a wedge, but not usually.

Edited by rehmwa

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2 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

For me golf is mostly in the liver.  And the taste buds.  Drinking a bloody mary is definitely physical 90%, mental 2% and spiritual 8% - on hot days it might require a wedge, but not usually.

I may change my recipe for bloody mary's.  I mix mine using 10/70/20, but I also put in a dash of "@#$! it, i'm done w/ this round".  I think bevmo sells it.

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56 minutes ago, Patch said:

Try swinging a club without a brain....the mental side

Completely stupid point worth (unfortunately) less than the time I spent replying.

52 minutes ago, BallMarker said:

A beginner has just as much ability to hit the putt hard enough to get it to the hole.

But what does he lack that the more experience player have?

The physical skills to do so.

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I read about 7 pages of the comments on this interesting topics, but not all (yet), so forgive me if I am duplicating something already said.

I voted that physical is most important to golf and I agree that it is most important by far. But,what good players view as physical, and I don't blame them for viewing this as such, can also largely be a mental issue for less skilled players. Things that are automatic for some, are not yet so for others and they need to think about those first, or they don't have a chance... I won't compare a player to another one, but instead one player (namely me) at different times, yet in similar conditions.

* Can someone tell me why I shot 75 and 111 less than a week apart (the 111 was on a more difficult course but still... it was the highest score in probably 8-10 years for me)? I was the same guy with the same physical abilities, but I made really poor choices, compounded errors with more errors and in the process lost the swing completely: shanks, tops, thins, etc... The silver lining was putting which is and remained my strength, even on that day... 

* Can someone tell me why the first time my name was called on a tee box in an official Norcal (NCGA) tournament, I was shaking so badly, I nearly whiffed my drive which ended in a terrible spot, causing me to re-tee? It's some form of pressure, one I was totally unfamiliar with and which no longer affects me that badly. However, even at the highest level in golf, think Ryder Cup, the first tee shot is the most nerve wracking shot, for most people. You might say pressure is physical (tension, shaking, sweating, etc...), but it is controlled by the mind and by experience, so one can train for it, to some extent: breathing exercises, putting drills that force you to hole out x shots in a row or you start from scratch, playing worst ball with oneself, for example...

* Can someone tell me why in casual rounds and less so in competitive rounds, I sometimes forget my pre-shot routine and don't put myself behind the ball and then step in, but rather just step in and hit a great shot, 10 degrees offline to the left? Lack of focus and/or discipline, which is a mental error, leading to a physical one (being lined up wrong)

* Can someone tell me why, all of sudden, I completely lost any ability I previously had to hit fairway woods (there is another thread in "Instruction and Playing Tips" about this? I think I finally got it back, and while the practical cause is physical, the real root of the problem is mental. Not checking the ball position, hanging back because of it and losing balance (to my heels) in the process. All physical problems that can be overcome by an assertive mind.

Also, what about the power of visualization? Look at Jason Day actively and consciously closing his eyes prior to any swing. Also, do you see in your mind the line a well struck putt is going to take? I do, and unless my read is completely off (it happens once in a while, or the putt flattens at the hole and I didn't read that), for the most part that's what happens.

There is no doubt that our conscious and unconscious mind drives all physical activity and perhaps we qualify everything unconscious as physical and the swing certainly is too fast to consciously drive it in its minute details, but the conscious mind also has a role in controlling the outcome. YMMV.

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I am afraid i'm new so please forgive my lack of experience but from what I have found so far I feel that the mental side is just as impertant as the physical. We are all striving for that perfect swing which will lead to the perfect shot but what happens when we over think things-Surely a relaxed mind state leads to a relaxed body=better shots. plus I have found that after a few bad holes it takes a lot of mental strength and having to dig deep to pull myself back up. no doubt hittng a good shot is down to sound mehanics but at the end of the day the mid controls the body so that needs to be looked after first.

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10 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

* Can someone tell me why I shot 75 and 111 less than a week apart (the 111 was on a more difficult course but still... it was the highest score in probably 8-10 years for me)? I was the same guy with the same physical abilities, but I made really poor choices, compounded errors with more errors and in the process lost the swing completely: shanks, tops, thins, etc... The silver lining was putting which is and remained my strength, even on that day... 

Also, what about the power of visualization? Look at Jason Day actively and consciously closing his eyes prior to any swing. 

Shanks tops and thins werent caused by a weak mental game. They were caused by lack of physical ability to control the clubface at impact CONSISTENTLY. Do you have the physical ability to control it well enough to shoot in the 70s? Yes. Unless your mental intent was to hit a top or thinned shot then the issue was a physical one. There was a flaw in your swing that lead to those series of bad shots.

And regarding Jason Day, no matter how long he spends visualizing, he still has to go up and physically execute the shot. You can visualize for the same exact amount of time as Jason but he is better than you because his physical ability is much greater. There plenty of players that dont visualize as much as he does and they are still very successful. Wesley Bryan had minimal time to visualize his shots during the 1.5 hour round he played and still shot a 69. 

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1 minute ago, Popeye said:

but at the end of the day the mid controls the body so that needs to be looked after first.

Not in the way we swing a golf club, no. You're not "controlling" much. The golf swing is largely an automatic thing. That's why you train and practice and take lessons. Your mind isn't doing much during the swing, and it's certainly not going "okay, left wrist do this, right knee, do this… now hurry up left shoulder and right elbow, and do these things, now right hip and femur, do this, and…".

Your mind isn't doing a ton during the golf swing.

And if it was truly all about your "mind" controlling your body, you could just tell your mind to "hit the ball solidly and far and straight." You can't, because you have to train the physical - the automated - to do that stuff.

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2 minutes ago, Popeye said:

 I feel that the mental side is just as impertant as the physical... but at the end of the day the mid controls the body so that needs to be looked after first.

So if you had the same mental game as any player on the PGA tour then you would be able to beat them? 

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Let me preface this by saying that if you want to get into semantics, anything physical we do is mentally driven-- subconsciously or consciously-- and for the purposes of this debate, that's not what I mean when I talk about the mental aspect. That would be an exercise in futility. That being said...

It's mostly physical, like all sports. They're physical by definition (sports (n): an activity involving physical exertion and skill). In any sport, even those that don't necessarily require obvious athleticism such as bowling or billiards, they're still by far predominantly physical, just in a more narrow application.  

And like all sports, there is a mental aspect to it. Both in terms of strategy and in terms of execution. Execution is where the mental affects the physical. Things like concentration/focus, visualization, nerves, etc. 

The mental aspect, like the physical, will differ from player to player. And it differs from sport to sport. I tend to think any stationary sports, or stationary aspects of sports, involve the most mental skill in that you actually have time to consciously think about what you are going to do-- a penalty kick in soccer, a shot in golf, a free throw in basketball-- and it allows for mental errors to creep in. Whereas in dynamic sports or actions, you tend to be doing things on a reactionary or subconscious level. But regardless, it's still physical ability that dictates the vast majority of how you will perform, barring weird outliers like someone with extreme anxiety issues or something where their physical abilities are overwhelmed by mental issues. 

Edited by iacas
removed a ton of wasted unnecessary space

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3 minutes ago, klineka said:

So if you had the same mental game as any player on the PGA tour then you would be able to beat them? 

let's give some latitude. I'm certain he's not saying that. If your normal miss is caused by over-swinging, then when you remember your swing-thought to shorten your back-swing, you have a better swing and physical game. Some people give credit on a good day to the "remembering your swing thoughts" action more than just the final physical swing...? I've posted like 20 times in this thread, and I still get lost.

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25 minutes ago, klineka said:

Shanks tops and thins werent caused by a weak mental game. They were caused by lack of physical ability to control the clubface at impact CONSISTENTLY. Do you have the physical ability to control it well enough to shoot in the 70s? Yes. Unless your mental intent was to hit a top or thinned shot then the issue was a physical one. There was a flaw in your swing that lead to those series of bad shots.

True all that, but the flaw was in painful display that day, and not so much on a regular day. Why? One factor was not much sleep because it was an earlier tee time that I am used to, coupled with a much longer travel time. I was probably much less dynamic and focused, and made little to no effort to move forward thru the ball, leading to all kinds of mishits, much like I was doing before I took lessons and didn't know any better how things should be done. Another factor which I already mentioned was poor decisions: you don't end up with 5-6 penalty strokes at my level without them! :whistle:

Mental weakness was a large contributing factor that day, in my mind (pun intended!). :beer:

25 minutes ago, klineka said:

And regarding Jason Day, no matter how long he spends visualizing, he still has to go up and physically execute the shot. You can visualize for the same exact amount of time as Jason but he is better than you because his physical ability is much greater. There plenty of players that dont visualize as much as he does and they are still very successful. Wesley Bryan had minimal time to visualize his shots during the 1.5 hour round he played and still shot a 69. 

No argument that I am not Jason Day (or even Wesley Bryan). Duh!  But, players who work on visualization, whether consciously or not, tend to fare better than equal-skilled players who don't. Any sport psychologist will tell you that, including Bob Rotella when it comes to golf.

 

My point (in my post you quoted) is that people have some control over their mental game and can improve it to some extent, whether by getting used to pressure by putting themselves in pressure situations, by visualization, by discipline (e.g. pre-shot routine), by controlling one's temper, etc. Sure, I don't argue that the physical game is by far the most important (I even bolded that part in my post), but there is room to improve the mental game too.

Edited by sjduffers

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2 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

No argument that I am not Jason Day (or even Wesley Bryan). Duh!  But, players who work on visualization, whether consciously or not, tend to fare better than equal-skilled players who don't. Any sport psychologist will tell you that, including Bob Rotella when it comes to golf.

Any sports psychologist will tell you that the things they teach and espouse will help people?

Wow, go figure! What are the odds?!?!

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Just now, iacas said:

Any sports psychologist will tell you that the things they teach and espouse will help people?

Wow, go figure! What are the odds?!?!

Of course, you do have a point there. ;-)  But then, isn't what you do too? :-P

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2 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

Of course, you do have a point there. ;-)  But then, isn't what you do too? :-P

That's what everyone does.

At least I can point to results.

1 minute ago, Popeye said:

did I not read somewhere that many pro players visit psychologists?

Some do. Not the majority. And those who do work on their physical game far more often.

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4 minutes ago, iacas said:

Any sports psychologist will tell you that the things they teach and espouse will help people?

Wow, go figure! What are the odds?!?!

Ockham's razor meets capitalism meets this thread. If people are paying for it, doesn't that mean there's value? Who buys water if they're not thirsty, and what beverage company isn't going to say their product quenches thirst?

Edited by bones75

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Just now, bones75 said:

Ockham's razor meets capitalism meets this thread. If people are paying for it, doesn't that mean there's value? Who buys water if they're not thirsty, and what beverage company isn't going to say their product quenches thirst?

a) not every PGA Tour player pays for sports psychology. Very few do, really. They all work on their physical game.

b) those who do, do so far less frequently than they work on their physical game.

You keep posting things that make the opposite of the point you intend for them to make, man.

Nobody has said, not once, that the mental game is not a factor at all.

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Just now, iacas said:

You keep posting things that make the opposite of the point you intend for them to make, man.

I surrender only in what I see is you being obtuse to my perspective. :-D  The fact is a real market exists, it matters not whether everyone participates in it.  Some people don't use coaches, doesn't mean they are worthless.

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