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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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5 minutes ago, iacas said:

Right, because nobody's ever been proven capable of lying to themselves.

Jon, you could put Tiger's brain or Jack's brain or anyone's brain inside your body and… you're still gonna shoot a really high number. They won't know where to aim either, because your swing produces shots that go all over the place.

And as I said above, if you're an exception and it's 8% for you, or 10% for you, then so be it. But it's not 50%. Your bad shots begat your mental issues. The root cause: physical.

Erik, I understand you don't have time to read through every post, but if you're going to accuse someone of lying to themselves perhaps it might be beneficial.

I never said the mental game for me was 50% nor do I claim it's keeping me from shooting in the 70's. 

As far as exact percentage, who gives a shit? I only know working on improving my focus isn't going to hurt my game. You agreeing or not is of little importance.

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21 minutes ago, johnclayton1982 said:

Those folks who "experience it" are experiencing a physical swing breakdown that, generally due to putting in so much time and caring so much, their brains will not allow them to attribute to being really bad at the physical act of a golf swing.

Yep.

It's a form of self protection. The results happen after the fact, and they inform the prior. Bad golfers probably hit almost as many of their "good" shots after having the same "negative" thoughts as they do after having "good" thoughts.

But those are quickly discarded and the golfer says "see, I can be a good golfer!"

It's only when they hit a bad shot and need to blame something do (many of them) say "oh, it's because I was thinking about the water over there." Never mind that Jordan Spieth can think about ONLY the water and still hit a better golf shot than you.

4 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

Erik, I understand you don't have time to read through every post, but if you're going to accuse someone of lying to themselves perhaps it might be beneficial.

I didn't accuse you of lying to yourself. I said "Right, because nobody's ever been proven capable of lying to themselves." Maybe you are sometimes. I don't know. I'm not inside your head. 

4 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

I never said the mental game for me was 50% nor do I claim it's keeping me from shooting in the 70's. 

And I never said you said either of those things (one is the topic here, though). Take your own advice to read the posts?

4 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

As far as exact percentage, who gives a shit? I only know working on improving my focus isn't going to hurt my game. You agreeing or not is of little importance.

Then why continue to post snarky shit?

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19 minutes ago, johnclayton1982 said:

Those folks who "experience it" are experiencing a physical swing breakdown that, generally due to putting in so much time and caring so much, their brains will not allow them to attribute to being really bad at the physical act of a golf swing.

Golf is unique in this.  In basketball, if you play a lot, you can hustle around and play D and rebound and generally be OK even if your mechanics in all facets of the game are poor.  In Golf, you can work constantly and incredibly hard on your game and still stink.  Our ego doesn't let us believe that, so it makes up a nonsense narrative about issues with the "mental game".

As Bill Parcells said, your are what your record says you are.  There are no asterisks.  In golf, your game is what your scores say you are.  You don't have a "weak mental game".  You are bad and you are (likely) wasting a whole lot of practice time.  Rather than say "I made a huge mistake with this physical approach, lets try something else, it sucks I wasted all that time" you get "its mental!"

It never ceases to amaze me how much some people think they know about others... and how wrong they can be.

Spend some time watching me practice and play or at least read what I think about my mechanics before you post all this knowledge you have about me.

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27 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

Yep. Throw in too many swing thoughts - none of which is the one that might actually help  - and it does nothing but hurt a swing that already "sucks" (my swing not yours).

For those of us who experience it, there's little debate. Yet some folks choose to believe it isn't possible. To each their own.

Consider this as well: Michael Jordan is one of if not the best basketball players of all time. He sucked at baseball. Why?

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8 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

It never ceases to amaze me how much some people think they know about others... and how wrong they can be.

Spend some time watching me practice and play or at least read what I think about my mechanics before you post all this knowledge you have about me.

Jon, very few people are talking about YOU directly.

At most we're talking in generalities. It's pointless to talk about specifics… and meaningless to give anecdotal testimony. Your mind, that you want to blame quite a bit for not letting you shoot in the 90s instead of shooting in the 100s (or whatever) can't be trusted. No one individual's can.

We understand… you're a special, unique flower, and the only person who can talk about you is you. Congratulations. We get that.

I've got a tournament to run today.

Please, everyone, keep beating the horse. If we all can go on a little more, maybe we'll get some really tender horse burgers out of it…?

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2 minutes ago, iacas said:

Jon, very few people are talking about YOU directly.

At most we're talking in generalities. It's pointless to talk about specifics… and meaningless to give anecdotal testimony. Your mind, that you want to blame for not letting you shoot in the 90s instead of shooting in the 100s (or whatever) can't be trusted. No one individual's can.

We understand… you're a special, unique flower. Congratulations.

I've got a tournament to run today.

Please, keep beating the horse. If we all can go on a little more, maybe we'll get some really tender horse burgers out of it…?

"Unique flower"? Can you be any more condescending Erik? Because I disagree with you? Wow. That's just bush league.

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10 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

"Unique flower"? Can you be any more condescending Erik? Because I disagree with you? Wow. That's just bush league.

Would you rather I have called you a unique snowflake? Flowers and snowflakes are unique, as are you. Everyone is. All I was saying.

That's why we can only really discuss the generalities.

I haven't disagreed with you. I don't know what goes on inside your head. I think you may be lying to yourself, yeah, but I can't know that and wouldn't make a definitive statement either way about it.

You have a habit of reading way, way too much into things than is actually there, man.


To all…

beating_a_dead_horse.gif

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7 hours ago, mvmac said:

@Jack Watson. Here's two scenarios for an 18 handicapper:

1. He spends 7 days with Bob Rotella.

2. He spends 7 days with a good instructor like @iacas 

In which scenario is he leaving with a better chance at hitting the ball more solid? If the golfer's impact still sucks it doesn't matter that they can concentrate or think positively, they are still going to hit crappy shots. Which will then negatively effect their "mental game".

I understand you're talking about intent to improve but to me that's not what we're talking about in regards to mental game.


Quick observation from my own experience playing in our club championship the past three days. I had a two shot lead with two holes to play and made a poor strategy mistake on 17, played too conservatively, then hit a bad shot, made double and eventually lost in a playoff. 

I would never consider myself a "mentally strong" player. During the last round I'll admit I got nervous when I got the lead early in the round. I had negative thoughts in my head about screwing up, got ahead of myself and thought about how cool it would have been to win, all that crap. Yet I continued to hit good shots and didn't make any bogeys until 17. 

I'm not saying my mechanics are awesome or anything but I've improved it to the point where it's much more functional "under the gun". I did that through training the physical part of my swing. The physical part was good even when the mental game wasn't. Even the physical screw up trumped the mental screw up.

Yes the mental side plays a role but golf is by far more physical. It's normal for us to ride an emotional rollercoaster when we play golf. We have to rely on our physical training to get us through it.

Good points.  I have to go with Iacas helping the 18 more,  although the 18 might shoot a personal best honeymoon type round after Rotella.  Seen it happen with a friend after reading a Rotella book. I also think there would be a mental component to the effect Iacas would have as well because the 18 would know much more clearly what they are trying to do.  Knowing what you want to do with the club is a big mental part of things and imo that's diff from a mental desire to improve.

I know for myself,  I played a lot of big matches in another sport.  I'd get really nervous shaky hands agitated absolutely unable to let go of my self awareness and just perform.  Sometimes it would get the better of me,  sometimes I'd get in the zone and play great and then at some point I'd 'wake up' and realize I was ahead and that's very tough to then get back into things.  

There were times though when for whatever reason I was able to get so engrossed in the process of what was happening that I just remained there in that zone.  To me playing lesser players was no big deal I didn't need my best then.  

No matter how much I worked there were days when I just had 'it'  and others when I did not.  I think the Nicklaus quote that concentration is a great remedy for anxiety or something really speaks to me because I lived that. 

I got where I did not on talent but on work.  Getting to higher levels I found myself running into very very talented guys and I needed my absolute best against them.  I am not saying altered consciousness is something one can control but you can setup a situation where it's more likely you will lose yourself and surpass your best in competition.  Competition is a huge component to it also I think,  you need that stress.   I often played better from behind.  There's a relief from that in a sense imo.  Playing from ahead can be very tough for certain people.

So this is very very esoteric stuff.  I think at times for a period people at many levels get into a zone for them.  IMO getting 'lost' in the process is a big deal in golf.  Absolutely a lot of it comes from practice practice practice and routine.  You can't separate the physical and mental they are interdependent.  Jmo.

 

 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

Erik, I understand you don't have time to read through every post, but if you're going to accuse someone of lying to themselves perhaps it might be beneficial.

I never said the mental game for me was 50% nor do I claim it's keeping me from shooting in the 70's. 

As far as exact percentage, who gives a shit? I only know working on improving my focus isn't going to hurt my game. You agreeing or not is of little importance.

He's not accusing you personally of lying to yourself. He's accusing all the golfers who continue to shoot bad scores and tell themselves they're better than they actually are.

That's the basis for the main point of contention.

Basically, you shoot what you shoot because of your physical skill level, and not because of your mood. The first thing I admitted to is that I am a terrible golfer, then I work on my swing to improve. It's pretty much as simple as that.

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41 minutes ago, iacas said:

Would you rather I have called you a unique snowflake? Flowers and snowflakes are unique, as are you. Everyone is. All I was saying.

That's why we can only really discuss the generalities.

I haven't disagreed with you. I don't know what goes on inside your head. I think you may be lying to yourself, yeah, but I can't know that and wouldn't make a definitive statement either way about it.

You have a habit of reading way, way too much into things than is actually there, man.


To all…

beating_a_dead_horse.gif

Not enough bat bashing, this:

 

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1 hour ago, JonMA1 said:

It never ceases to amaze me how much some people think they know about others... and how wrong they can be.

Spend some time watching me practice and play or at least read what I think about my mechanics before you post all this knowledge you have about me.

Every single golfer has a probability distribution every single time they step up to the ball.  This probability distribution narrows in band among more consistent players and widens among less consistent players, but it is a probability distribution.  You are a band of potential results which get less and less likely in terms of proximity to the hole as you get closer and closer and less and less likely likely in terms of proximity to the hole as you get further away.  You are about as likely to hit a driver from 400 yards away into the hole as you are to hit it 200 yards behind you.  Its a bell curve, with your skill being at the median (the most often and likely outcome).  Every time you swing, random factors influence that swing that happen too fast for you to control consciously, and a point on the probability distribution is hit.

If you flip 100 coins in a row, you'll hit 5 heads in a row.  If you hit 100 golf shots in a row, you'll hit 5 shots in a row that are on the "great" side of your probability distribution.  Its variance.  This is all an illusion because you are incapable of telling yourself the narrative that all you can do is move your median point of result better and better and accept you will hit shots worse and better than that median in relatively equal proportion.  Hitting 5 below your standard in a row is like flipping 5 tails in a row.  You don't like it, so you "need to work on your mental game".  Golf is unique in this because we have nowhere to hide. We have no teammates.  We don't even have hustling hard and being a backboard like tennis.  We have "that shot sucked" or a nonsense narrative that preserves the players' ego.  Most choose the second option.

You arn't "in the zone" when you hit 10 greens as a 15 cap any more than you are "in the zone" when you flip 5 heads in a row.  You just happened to hit a certain cluster of results that are atypical.  Its not some amazing mental game phenomenon.  Its chance.

I don't need to "know about your game" or "watch you play" to know that you have a probability distribution clustered around your average shot like every other golfer and that sometimes you go above that and sometimes you go below that and then ascribe storylines to explain it when its really just variance around your ability.

This is basically you:

Caveman 1: Crops die. I didn't sacrifice goat yesterday.  I sacrifice goat next year. Crops live.

Caveman 2: Uh, they might have died because there was no water.  Why don't we build an irrigation canal?

Caveman 1: No, I didn't sacrifice goat.  Crops die. I sacrifice goat.  They live next year.

Caveman 2: Uh, OK, but you should go work on your swing I mean water them.

Edited by johnclayton1982
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@johnclayton1982 No one is dismissing the overwhelming need to improve mechanics or is in denial of what the lack of talent means on the course. My only argument is with the opinion that the mental game is insignificant (in my game) or that it deserves no attention. If you disagree I'm fine with it:beer:

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the whole thread is getting rude - maybe it's a good one to lock

 

who'd've thought this idiotic topic would bring out the belligerant in people?

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7 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

@johnclayton1982 No one is dismissing the overwhelming need to improve mechanics or is in denial of what the lack of talent means on the course. My only argument is with the opinion that the mental game is insignificant (in my game) or that it deserves no attention. If you disagree I'm fine with it:beer:

I think its kinda like Gary Player said.  The more I practice the luckier I get.  The more I practice the better my mental game gets.

Locking seems silly.  We're disagreeing about the role (or even, on a more basic level, the existence) of the mental game in golf over the internet.

Its like the old joke.  Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and a phenomenal ball striker who shoots 85 because of his bad mental game are all in a race. Who wins?

None of them, because they are all figments of your imagination. 

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52 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

@johnclayton1982 No one is dismissing the overwhelming need to improve mechanics or is in denial of what the lack of talent means on the course. My only argument is with the opinion that the mental game is insignificant (in my game) or that it deserves no attention. If you disagree I'm fine with it:beer:

If the argument is whether you should work on your swing or your mental game (I suppose controlling your mood or whatever somehow?), I'd vote for improving your swing to improve your game.

If it's about improving your mood while playing golf, then what you suggest is a great idea! Do that first.

 

41 minutes ago, johnclayton1982 said:

I think its kinda like Gary Player said.  The more I practice the luckier I get.  The more I practice the better my mental game gets.

Many golfers I know say and know this as a fact. Of course, most people I know also know how to do good practice.

 

41 minutes ago, johnclayton1982 said:

Locking seems silly.  We're disagreeing about the role (or even, on a more basic level, the existence) of the mental game in golf over the internet.

I agree. . .

 

 

 

 

. . .okay, I admit that I have a bet that this thread will get to 500 posts if left on it's own. :-D

 

 

41 minutes ago, johnclayton1982 said:

Its like the old joke.  Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and a phenomenal ball striker who shoots 85 because of his bad mental game are all in a race. Who wins?

None of them, because they are all figments of your imagination. 

I have to laugh at this, and, yet, at the same time cry a lot. . .

Yes, they are figments of your imagination. Those 600 balls a week you hit are not going to improve your game without learning to practice correctly.

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@johnclayton1982

There is tons and tons of documented proof of what I am saying. I didn't make it up from thin air.

Alpha and theta brain waves are real.  I understand your skepticism as you seem to have no way to relate to the topic.

Guess what though?

Science overwhelmingly supports my position here.

I didn't come to this idea by chance.  I lived it.

Athletes in a zone are in an altered form of consciousness which can actually be measured in terms of brain activity.  It's not mind over matter or simple probability.

So in this case I can say you are incorrect in your assertions.

You are not disagreeing with one person but pretty much the entire scientific community here.

When you spend 25 years at something and got started with solid fundamentals at first you learn things from that.  

Edited by Jack Watson
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I haven't had a chance to read much of this thread but I would say it can be both. At times the physical can far outweigh the mental and in other cases it's the other way around.

Anybody who says it's all or mostly physical has never had the putting or chipping yips. I had them bad in my junior playing days (state and high school tournaments) and it's crippling and can far outweigh whatever physical ability a golfer may have. Think back to Ernie's yips at Augusta a couple of years ago. That is when the mental side of the game far outweighs the physical side.

Golf is unlike other sports that are based on reaction AND repetition. The golf swing is about repetition and muscle memory but it lacks the reaction component since the ball isn't moving- this is where the mental demons or strengths of a golfer are allowed to live and thrive.

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