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Runnin

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


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26 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?

Because you’re defining “ugly” in terms that don’t apply to ballstriking.

Jim Furyk has an ugly swing to some. But the ball doesn’t see the “ugly” stuff you do.

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30 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?

Jim Furyk is able to be one of the best ball strikers because he is able to physically hit shots that have a tighter dispersion than those with better looking swings. It isn't because he is mentally stronger then they are.

30 minutes ago, Runnin said:

Why do good players every hit bad shots? 

Because golf is hard.

30 minutes ago, Runnin said:

Why can't I manipulate my ball flight at will on the course the way I can on the practice tee. 

Because the course isn't the practice area.

30 minutes ago, Runnin said:

The physical side of my game clearly knows how to hit every shot I could ever need?

No it doesn't. It knows only what you trained it to know. A golfer who spends hours just hitting golf balls, with no regard to what they want to achieve, might get into a good groove in controlling the clubface for that half an hour, but they will never be able to take it to the course because the course isn't the range. They are physically unable to do what they want to do because they have not physically trained themselves to improve their swing. It has nothing to do with being unable to mentally think of what they want the ball to do. I am certain they are concentrating hard on the outcome they want. They are not lacking in the mental aspect.

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1 hour ago, David in FL said:

Not even close.  Physical.

If you want mental, play chess.  

LOL. However unlike most other sports, golf has a much more mental effect from playing than physical. Bad football game? Yeah sucks. But that shoulder and knee is what's killing me. Bad round of golf? " What has my life become. Why do I exist."

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It's physical. All sports have a mental side, but you physically play golf. If you are mentally drained after a round maybe you should try something else?

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36 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. 

What does any swing (ugly or not) have to do with mental acuity?  Either you can get the clubface back to square or not, as others have said ball doesn't care.  Everyone hits bad shots, even pro's hit shanks now and then.  But it has nothing to do with the mental game.  Every bad shot, imo, is poor mechanics on that swing, at that time.     

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Before I read everyone else's comments, my dos centavos.

I am a practicing Buddhist meditator. I spent almost a year in a monastery, in robes. I have spent a lot of time focusing my mind, training it, observing it, trying to understand it. I don't know many golfing monks, so I have a unique perspective. I have some bonafides.

My first reaction to this interesting question was it's impossible to know. The swing, the pitch, the putt, happen too fast for the mind to follow. You may tell your left wrist to pronate, but you can't know it as the club connects. So it's physical. But.

I'm finding my biggest problem to be my own personal demon--attention deficit disorder. I am practiced at practicing concentration. If I could concentrate for longer periods, my meditation practice would be far, far stronger. I have that limitation. I know it well. I had ADD long before there was an acronym.

Concentration is the reason some are super-stars, and some never fulfill their potential. Nicklaus, Woods, Ruth, Bird all had the best concentration of all time in their sports. Brady's intensity is off the charts. 

I am unable to concentrate through an entire shot sequence, from forming a mental picture of the shot, to practice swings to get the feel, to grip/setup/alignment/aiming, to finishing high. On the course. Shot after shot. Ninety times in four hours. For someone who has senior-level ADD, fahgeddaboudit. It ain't going to happen.

So, I guess. Mental.

:-D

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More physical than mental, but golf is more mental (control, confidence, etc.) than most other sports.  I am limited by my physical ability to hit the golf ball and can live with that, but I have blown 3 foot putts by be careless and not paying attention. 

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While it's more physical, the mental side is what most players I've seen overlook. Course management, misplaced anger, letting one bad shot lead to another (or more), poor "decision mapping/game planning (LSW)," etc. It's amazing how many shots some people throw away in a round that could easily be avoided. YMMV

i wonder what a poll with one more choice might yield? Physical, mental, equipment.

Edited by Midpack

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

It’s almost entirely physical.

The law of average says at some point we have to agree on something. Well, I agree with you, if we assume that someone can hit a golf ball the same way every single time. They said Ben Hogan had a problem with tournaments. For the final three rounds he had to hit out of his divots from the first round. lol

I don't believe I'll get there, do you? If so, then it would be physical, all the way.

Best wishes, from across the chasm.

:-)

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1 hour ago, GolfLug said:

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.

How often did Michael Jordan think about cheeseburgers, Las Vegas, or sex during a game? How often did he think about these driving around town?

Every star has the physical talent. Only those with superior focus--without the mind wandering--those are the superstars.

How often do you drive across town and wonder whether that last light was red or green?

:-)

1 hour ago, saevel25 said:
2 hours ago, Runnin said:

Why can't I manipulate my ball flight at will on the course the way I can on the practice tee. 

Because the course isn't the practice area.

The ball doesn't know this.

56 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

It's physical. All sports have a mental side, but you physically play golf. If you are mentally drained after a round maybe you should try something else?

Sobering advice.

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I think physical for sure. Even with the physical limitations I incurred due to some severe injuries, I am able to hit the ball long and hard, with some sporadic accuracy. The repetition just simply isn't there yet to achieve the swing I need. Certainly, I just cannot use the Force to will the ball into the hole, it's hard work and practice that brings results. Surely your emotional state has some bearing on your play, but the preponderance is physical. 

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41 minutes ago, Blackjack Don said:

How often did Michael Jordan think about cheeseburgers, Las Vegas, or sex during a game? How often did he think about these driving around town?

I don't think of any of those while hitting a golf shot either. But I can guarantee you that you could have a a competent scratch (let alone a touring professional), roll out of bed, continue day dream of the previous night's largesses and still hit green from 170 yards out twice as many times (let's say out of 10 attempts each) than I would. 

They simply have developed a physically superior game with BUNCH of proper physical practice. Better one is physically, less one needs to think of their bells and whistles chiming and blowing in tune.   

 

41 minutes ago, Blackjack Don said:

How often do you drive across town and wonder whether that last light was red or green?

:-)

Oh BTW, if by this question you are implying that you don't need to be aware of surroundings or traffic signals while driving (i.e., equivalent of 'mental game') then you must be possibly one of those who condone texting while driving. 

Edited by GolfLug

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45 minutes ago, Blackjack Don said:

Before I read everyone else's comments, my dos centavos.

I am a practicing Buddhist meditator. I spent almost a year in a monastery, in robes. I have spent a lot of time focusing my mind, training it, observing it, trying to understand it. I don't know many golfing monks, so I have a unique perspective. I have some bonafides.

My first reaction to this interesting question was it's impossible to know. The swing, the pitch, the putt, happen too fast for the mind to follow. You may tell your left wrist to pronate, but you can't know it as the club connects. So it's physical. But.

I'm finding my biggest problem to be my own personal demon--attention deficit disorder. I am practiced at practicing concentration. If I could concentrate for longer periods, my meditation practice would be far, far stronger. I have that limitation. I know it well. I had ADD long before there was an acronym.

Concentration is the reason some are super-stars, and some never fulfill their potential. Nicklaus, Woods, Ruth, Bird all had the best concentration of all time in their sports. Brady's intensity is off the charts. 

I am unable to concentrate through an entire shot sequence, from forming a mental picture of the shot, to practice swings to get the feel, to grip/setup/alignment/aiming, to finishing high. On the course. Shot after shot. Ninety times in four hours. For someone who has senior-level ADD, fahgeddaboudit. It ain't going to happen.

So, I guess. Mental.

:-D

I think most people confuse pressure with the game being mental.  But even if you think pressure is all mental (I think it is mostly physical and somewhat mental), you still have to have the physical ability to hit a golf ball.  The golfer(s) who can handle the pressure the most, may play better on a given day or when everything is on the line hit a better shot, but that doesn't make golf a mental sport.  

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I don't know if golf is more mental than physical or vice versa.  But I am convinced that a different mental approach/focus can help many problems in the game that many, if not most, instructors view as purely physical/swing related issues.  A correct mental picture/intent can help golfers improve, and combining a mental approach with physical swing training can greatly accelerate improvement.   

 

Take an over the top swing as an example.  With the pure physical approach, the instructor watches the player hit a few balls and dissects the swing into component parts.  The instructor gives a bunch of physical causes:  you take the club too inside or outside, you have too much weight on the front or back foot, you should be supinating your wrist or pronating it, your hips are firing too soon or too late.  The instructor has the player work on a different take away for the first week.  When that gets better, they move onto the next problem and try to fix it.  Two months late, the player is hitting it much better on the range, but still frequently comes over the top on the course.  The more the student focuses on the ball, the more likely a OTT swing will show up.  

 

The other approach:  the instructor watches the student take some practice swings and then hit some balls.  The instructor notices that the student rarely comes over the top for a practice swing but does so on most, but not all swings with a ball.  Okay, she asks, why is the player sometimes coming over the top?  Why is it worse when a ball is present?  The instructor asks what the player is focused on.  The ball of course.  I want to hit the ball, make sure the club head makes good contact.  The instructor then changes the focus of the player from hitting the ball to swinging through the ball to a target.  The instructor explains that OTT is the default when the ball is the target.  She gives some drills to improve focus away from the ball:  the player hits whiffle balls to warm up, the player has to verbally identify the target and intermediary target and rehearse swinging out to the target, the instructor gives the student a mental image of swinging through the ball instead of hitting at the ball.  After a week, the over the top move shows up less often and is not as pronounced.  The instructor continues to have the student work on the mental side of swinging to the target and combines that with swing changes.  

 

In the physical only approach, the physical changes will be harder to adopt because the physical swing is fighting against the students mental image of what is needed and the student's primary focus.  When the mental and physical are aligned, progress will be faster.  Another way to say it:  the mind directs the body. The mind is telling the body to swing one way when the ball is the target and a different way when swinging to the pin.  

  

In any case, an instructor who ignores the student's thoughts is short changing the student by focusing only on the physical.  There's an old saying, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.  If the instructor only deals with physical swing changes, every problem looks like a physical problem.  

 

On the course, which is more important, the physical or the mental?  I don't know, but it is important that the mental image/goal/focus aids the physical side instead of fighting against it.  

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So.....you're sayin' it's physically mental......or mentally physical

or is it feel vs mechanical

or is it a sport or a hobby

all I know is I want to golf that ball with my fairway metal while sporting my cargo shorts and rocking my driving hat while hitting a golf shot and being a great driver of the golf ball while someone mumbles 'shot' after a good golf strike of the golf ball and driving the golf cart and drinking the golf bloody mary

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24 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

So.....you're sayin' it's physically mental......or mentally physical

or is it feel vs mechanical

or is it a sport or a hobby

all I know is I want to golf that ball with my fairway metal while sporting my cargo shorts and rocking my driving hat while hitting a golf shot and being a great driver of the golf ball while someone mumbles 'shot' after a good golf strike of the golf ball and driving the golf cart and drinking the golf bloody mary

Did you take writing lessons directly from Herman Melville, or do you just enjoy torturing us by writing an enticingly short enough sentence that it looks readable while in reality gives us a headache? :-D

I just changed my vote to "mental" because of this. . .:whistle:

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14 minutes ago, Lihu said:

I just changed my vote to "mental" because of this. . .:whistle:

and you are right to do so

so very right

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1 hour ago, alfriday said:

I don't know if golf is more mental than physical or vice versa.  But I am convinced that a different mental approach/focus can help many problems in the game that many, if not most, instructors view as purely physical/swing related issues.  A correct mental picture/intent can help golfers improve, and combining a mental approach with physical swing training can greatly accelerate improvement.   

 

Take an over the top swing as an example.  With the pure physical approach, the instructor watches the player hit a few balls and dissects the swing into component parts.  The instructor gives a bunch of physical causes:  you take the club too inside or outside, you have too much weight on the front or back foot, you should be supinating your wrist or pronating it, your hips are firing too soon or too late.  The instructor has the player work on a different take away for the first week.  When that gets better, they move onto the next problem and try to fix it.  Two months late, the player is hitting it much better on the range, but still frequently comes over the top on the course.  The more the student focuses on the ball, the more likely a OTT swing will show up.  

 

The other approach:  the instructor watches the student take some practice swings and then hit some balls.  The instructor notices that the student rarely comes over the top for a practice swing but does so on most, but not all swings with a ball.  Okay, she asks, why is the player sometimes coming over the top?  Why is it worse when a ball is present?  The instructor asks what the player is focused on.  The ball of course.  I want to hit the ball, make sure the club head makes good contact.  The instructor then changes the focus of the player from hitting the ball to swinging through the ball to a target.  The instructor explains that OTT is the default when the ball is the target.  She gives some drills to improve focus away from the ball:  the player hits whiffle balls to warm up, the player has to verbally identify the target and intermediary target and rehearse swinging out to the target, the instructor gives the student a mental image of swinging through the ball instead of hitting at the ball.  After a week, the over the top move shows up less often and is not as pronounced.  The instructor continues to have the student work on the mental side of swinging to the target and combines that with swing changes.  

 

In the physical only approach, the physical changes will be harder to adopt because the physical swing is fighting against the students mental image of what is needed and the student's primary focus.  When the mental and physical are aligned, progress will be faster.  Another way to say it:  the mind directs the body. The mind is telling the body to swing one way when the ball is the target and a different way when swinging to the pin.  

  

In any case, an instructor who ignores the student's thoughts is short changing the student by focusing only on the physical.  There's an old saying, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.  If the instructor only deals with physical swing changes, every problem looks like a physical problem.  

 

On the course, which is more important, the physical or the mental?  I don't know, but it is important that the mental image/goal/focus aids the physical side instead of fighting against it.  

No good instructor will just give you physical  co-ordinates in the air to map your swing through and send you home... Swing feels and thoughts related to the physical move are highly encouraged. 

 

 

 

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