• Announcements

    • iacas

      Introducing TST "Clubs!"   08/28/2017

      No, we're not getting into the equipment business, but we do have "clubs" here on TST now. Groups. Check them out here:
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


Recommended Posts

Just now, GolfLug said:

I hope you are not personally offended. I am sure you know this but I was only referring to a general 'you' since we are mainly talking generalities. 

Sure. No problem.

These things come in ranges. I'm certainly better off than many people. Part of my point is that while many people don't have these sort of issues, some of us do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Sign up (or log in) today! It's free (and you won't see this ad anymore)!

Sign up (or log in) today! It's free (and you won't see this ad anymore)!

2 hours ago, jsgolfer said:

I used to attribute any bad hole or score as a mental failure on my part.  And it has a lot to do with being on this blog that I don't anymore, it wasn't that I was failing mentally, it was that I was trying things physically which I had never really practiced.  

Is that not a mental mistake?

Now, I draw the ball exclusively, but there were times in the past where I would try and work the ball left to right if the hole was a dogleg right or the pin was on the left or the right.  At times it would work and I would play well and other times no so much.  Now I just hit my stock shot pretty much all of the time (unless I have to hit a fade to go around a tree or such).   For the most part I take half the course out of play (aim right and bring it back to the left) and my scores (especially in tournaments) are not as varied anymore.  I just play to my strengths (draw) now versus trying to do things physically I should have never tried.    

I found this online, which was called 4 mental tips to improve confidence.

4 Strategies to Improve your Confidence:

1. Note your strengths and don’t be afraid to improve your weaknesses – When you talk and think about the things you do well, your confidence grows and your mood improves.  

2. Set attainable goals for yourself – Set short term goals that you can achieve. As you accomplish these smaller goals, you will feel better about your prospects of achieving more in the future.

3. Practice like it matters – More meaningful repetitions in practice will improve your physical skills and increase your belief that you can replicate these skills in competition.

4. Stop measuring your success based on the success of others – Comparing yourself to others is a sure-fire way to lower confidence. Keep the focus on yourself and look to improve your skills each day.

Although they say these are mental skills to improve confidence, everything here is pretty much doing physical stuff to improve your confidence. Sorry for the long rant.

Those are mental things to me. 

 I like to use the divide and conquer method to give my confidence a boost.

1.  Making good contact
2.  Direction
3.  Distance
4.  Shot shaping

Making good contact and direction are key for me because tee shots are where I have the most trouble.  If I can make decent contact and get it started on line, more time than not I can keep it in play.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

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 absolutely devastate the physical. One thing that always annoys me about sports media is the term mental errors. You simply cannot make a physical error unless you're Dave Draveky and your arm ally falls off. All errors are due to lapses in concentration or lapses in application. So while your unique physical skills may make you a superior athlete the guys who tend to rise above even higher have an outstanding mental approach. Be it concentration, thinking faster than others, having better game instincts etc. 

You may disagree with me, but those are my observations after a lifetime of playing competitive sports and being bested by people who had lesser physical on many occassions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

27 minutes ago, dzclarkcpa said:

Have read several of the comments on this post, but not all, so forgive me if I repeat something.

Would seem to me that first, we need to define what "mental" means. To me it means course management and thinking your way around a golf course. May not mean that to anyone else, but that is what I think about when I voted that golf was more mental. But I think @iacas said it best when he said without physical ability, the mental side doesn't mean much (sorry if I completely butchered what you were trying to say).

So for me, I am where I am physical. I play to somewhere between a 6 to a 10 handicap. I can shoot rounds around par and I can shoot round in the 90's. For me, I have the ability (sometimes) to hit the shots I need, but I need to improve on my mental game. To me that means planning where I hit a shot, taking big numbers out of the equation and actually thinking through recovery shots. For me, this is most important because I have neither the time nor the desire to spend hours on a driving range tweaking my swing. I am going to play with what I have, so for me, finding a way to salvage 3 shots a round is important.

Physical is most important to some, mental is more important to others. Just depends where you are on the curve.

I'm not sure this is really possible? I agree that thinking through where you make a shot and recovery shots is a good idea, but there is only so much you can do at your current ball striking ability.

For instance, I tried to hit a low trajectory shot 8 feet above the ground at 25 feet with 150 yards to the green, but because I only practice that shot on the range like 5 times a year I invariably hit the tree and lost a stroke. I don't see how I could have "pulled off" that shot any better than I did? I'd lose at least a stroke tapping it out from under the tree. So, if not for a plus handicap looking for the ball in a golf cart I could have lost stroke and distance plus the shot I took for a triple. It's not like it was a crazy stupid shot either, even though it felt like it in hindsight. Could have been easily been a double or even a triple. It's just that my current ball striking ability is not quite bulletproof enough to pull off that punch shot.

A golfer's ability to pull off a shot is directly proportional to their ability to strike the ball.

16 minutes ago, Runnin said:

Those are mental things to me. 

 I like to use the divide and conquer method to give my confidence a boost.

1.  Making good contact
2.  Direction
3.  Distance
4.  Shot shaping

Making good contact and direction are key for me because tee shots are where I have the most trouble.  If I can make decent contact and get it started on line, more time than not I can keep it in play.   

These things are physical. . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

18 minutes ago, satchmodog said:

You simply cannot make a physical error unless you're Dave Draveky and your arm ally falls off. All errors are due to lapses in concentration or lapses in application.

No. A million times, no.

19 minutes ago, satchmodog said:

You may disagree with me, but those are my observations after a lifetime of playing competitive sports and being bested by people who had lesser physical on many occasions.

IMO people are quick to blame the mental game as reasons why they lost, when in reality… they're just not willing to admit they were beaten by a superior player.

Too many people put far, far too much importance on the mental game.

Like that guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

@rehmwa, this maybe a fake out/trick thread but the message still should not be lost. 'Mental game' does NOT take practice. It SORTS itself out as you swing better. It is not some bridge that needs to be built indepentdantly to gap physical potential and physical execution as one poster said. It is just flat out bull. 

Triggers, etc are fine but that does not make the game of golf any more mental than other game/sports.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

51 minutes ago, Lihu said:

I'm not sure this is really possible? I agree that thinking through where you make a shot and recovery shots is a good idea, but there is only so much you can do at your current ball striking ability.

For instance, I tried to hit a low trajectory shot 8 feet above the ground at 25 feet with 150 yards to the green, but because I only practice that shot on the range like 5 times a year I invariably hit the tree and lost a stroke. I don't see how I could have "pulled off" that shot any better than I did? I'd lose at least a stroke tapping it out from under the tree. So, if not for a plus handicap looking for the ball in a golf cart I could have lost stroke and distance plus the shot I took for a triple. It's not like it was a crazy stupid shot either, even though it felt like it in hindsight. Could have been easily been a double or even a triple. It's just that my current ball striking ability is not quite bulletproof enough to pull off that punch shot.

A golfer's ability to pull off a shot is directly proportional to their ability to strike the ball.

These things are physical. . .

For me (and again, I speak for exactly one person, ME!), exactly what you describe is mental and not physical. Because you have not practiced it, because you do not at that specific point in time possess the skill set necessary to pull off the shot, you made a mental error. Yes, you are correct in that if you had tapped out from under the tree into an open area on the fairway, you would have lost a shot, but you would have only lost a single shot, not the potential shot, plus stroke plus distance had you not had someone find your ball for you. 

The scenario you describe is exactly what I consider mental. I often try shots that I am not comfortable with physically. Why, because it is impossible to be 100% confident over a shot that I have never had nor practiced because I never dreamed up a scenario on the range. Happens on the PGA tour some I have to believe. But by taking a stronger mental approach, I can minimize the damage and lose fewer stokes. I can see how some would consider that physical because it involves a  shot, I happen to call it mental.

Edited by dzclarkcpa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

7 minutes ago, dzclarkcpa said:

The scenario you describe is exactly what I consider mental. I often try shots that I am not comfortable with physically. Why, because it is impossible to be 100% confident over a shot that I have never had nor practiced because I never dreamed up a scenario on the range. Happens on the PGA tour some I have to believe. But by taking a stronger mental approach, I can minimize the damage and lose fewer stokes. I can see how some would consider that physical because it involves a  shot, I happen to call it mental.

I'm not 100% confident over any shot I make, but the better my swing the higher my chances are of pulling it off. Any shot could go wrong, which is why I'm in the "physical" camp.

To some it's "mental", but to me it really seems to be "physical".

Edited by Lihu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

21 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

@rehmwa, this maybe a fake out/trick thread but the message still should not be lost. 'Mental game' does NOT take practice. It SORTS itself out as you swing better. It is not some bridge that needs to be built indepentdantly to gap physical potential and physical execution as one poster said. It is just flat out bull. 

Triggers, etc are fine but that does not make the game of golf any more mental than other game/sports.

I disagree with this one. I do think the mental game takes practice, or at least for me it does.

However, you are correct in that it does change (changing your word from sorts itself) as you get better. I think it primarily changes because of the ability to do what you plan to do changes. 

The mental game of a 20 handicap player should be different, and is different, from that of a tour pro. Can a 20 handicap be better mentally than a touring pro, I don't know, but I doubt it would look like it because even if the 20 was thinking better, the likelihood that the shot would come out as planned is smaller. 

I do agree that it is not something that should be built independently, but rather something that should be improved in conjunction with improvement in physical ability.

3 minutes ago, Lihu said:

I'm not 100% confident over any shot I make, but the better my swing the higher my chances are of pulling it off. Any shot could go wrong, which is why I'm in the "physical" camp.

To some it's "mental, but to me it really seems to be "physical".

No doubt that the better the swing, the better the result. 

Upon reflection, I guess the better answer to the poll is that physical. A better physical player will nearly always beat a less skilled player. But with 2 players of nearly equal ability, I think the stronger mental player would win more often if they played often. So when I say mental being more important, I am thinking about my game. For me, I am physically what I am, so for ME, its more important now to focus on mental game.

See, there you have it, someone changed an opinion based on reading a forum!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

This thread is so fun.

I still think there’s a lot of semantics here and less disagreement than it appears. A strong mental game won’t get you to scratch w/ a bunk swing, and it won't get you on tour w/o a good physical game... I think we all agree on that.

But when I read "mental game", I’m thinking about keeping your judgement and swing in tact when you need it the most (often under pressure).  It is this mental game that I certainly see applying to 1-4 strokes in a round... like the small difference in hitting 13 vs 12 fairways… so in that way I can side with @iacas that it’s a “sliver” of a difference.  But on the other hand, assuming you’re playing a well-fit flight (or tour), it is also the difference between 1st and 10th place in a tournament, or qualifying/making cuts to keep your status.  Keeping a 1-stroke lead w/ 3 holes to play, or draining a 5-footer for the win may only be a “marginal” difference in your golf game at large (or progressing your index), but it just seems to me that mental toughness is often critical in winning a match/hole/tourney or losing it. In that respect, I can't fully discount the mental game at large.

If you play only casual rounds this really doesn’t apply as much.

And I still believe that there are a bunch of head cases where people have all the physical elements for the game, but can’t do well in their college-buddies-annual-championship rounds, or break out on the web.com, or get their tour card, or their first victory, or their first major....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, dzclarkcpa said:

I do agree that it is not something that should be built independently, but rather something that should be improved in conjunction with improvement in physical ability

I would say 99% physical, for everyone. Even the pros, who aren't the most introspective lot, instinctively know this. How much of their practice time is spent practicing the mental game? I would guess close to zero. Sure, they may have a sports psychologist, but the truth is that they spend almost all their time physically practicing shots that they will need on the golf course.

I do, however, think that you should practice your mental game if you:

1. Are always angry on the golf course because you think you are better than you really are. This takes away the enjoyment for others stuck playing with you, and probably isn't helping you physically execute anything.

2. Are waiting for the green to clear on a 450 yd par 4 after hitting a 150 yd. slice drive into the rough. This takes the enjoyment away for everyone behind you. You're not that good (see #1).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

38 minutes ago, GolfLug said:

@rehmwa, this maybe a fake out/trick thread but the message still should not be lost. 'Mental game' does NOT take practice. It SORTS itself out as you swing better.

I'll have to disagree.  It sorts itself out as you practice.  Just like the mechanics also do the same.  The pros in almost every sport pay a lot for mental coaching.  I suspect they realize what they need

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

35 minutes ago, iacas said:

IMO people are quick to blame the mental game as reasons why they lost, when in reality… they're just not willing to admit they were beaten by a superior player.

This^^^  :beer:

It's almost like the guy who strips one drive 300 yds and now he drives the ball 300 yds, even though his other 13 are all over the place but he can't understand how he can't hit it 300 yards every time he plays.  Because his swing isn't good enough, the mental game isn't going to help him hit the ball consistently well.

So for those who think it's more mental, how do you decide which shot was because you weren't focused mentally?  Only your bad shots?  Do you ever hit good shots when you're not focused, or can you hit a bad shot when you're focused.   If not then how do you lose focus between shots, holes, waiting to tee off, etc.  And then how do you decide when you have focus during a round and when you don't?  

@iacas in his post from the I'd be a scratch golfer with a better mental game is spot on.

@mvmac has probably the best quote "Yeah thinking happy thoughts is going to change those path and face issues."  

Remember - "Golf is Hard"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

3 minutes ago, chspeed said:

1. Are always angry on the golf course because you think you are better than you really are. This takes away the enjoyment for others stuck playing with you, and probably isn't helping you physically execute anything.

I would also like to add that stating something like "You're not good enough to. . ." to the person having the tantrum is probably not a good idea either. Lest that frustration might find a new direction. . . :-D

 

3 minutes ago, chspeed said:

2. Are waiting for the green to clear on a 450 yd par 4 after hitting a 150 yd. slice drive into the rough. This takes the enjoyment away for everyone behind you. You're not that good (see #1).

Agree, and the golfers who are consistently waiting for their second shot 200 yards from the tee box on a 400+ yard hole are also a bit overly optimistic. . .I would hold back on the bold section in your statement though. . . :whistle:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

6 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

I'll have to disagree.  It sorts itself out as you practice.  Just like the mechanics also do the same.  The pros in almost every sport pay a lot for mental coaching.  I suspect they realize what they need

Kool-aid/deer antler spray... lol!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

1 minute ago, jsgolfer said:

So for those who think it's more mental, how do you decide which shot was because you weren't focused mentally?  Only your bad shots? 

"mental game" is often a scapegoat for poor ability, I totally agree. I know a guy that blames not getting enough sleep... it's just weird. And it is possible my friends are all chokers, but as I said before, we miss more $100 2-footers than casual 2-footers.  And I'm confident that the same applies to swings not just putts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I voted mental. With out the mental side's input,  the physical side does not have a clue on what to do. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

How often does a round boil down to the last few holes?  Mental game may often most only apply to the last few strokes (swings or putts) of an entire round or multi-day tournament. In that sense those few strokes will hardly ever have an impact on your index. But those are really important strokes! So even though a good mental game may lower your index by 0.05, it may increase your winnings by 1000%.

Edited by bones75

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.