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Golf's Mental Game Aspect


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8 hours ago, Lihu said:

In reading your arguments, it seems like all the people you play with never hit trees, never hit OB, never slice or hook shots, never overshoot greens, etc.

The luck of the bounce as you put it can be as many as 3 strokes on any hole. 

No,  I just don't think there's a stroke a hole difference in rounds based on lucky bounces.  I've been there and I have watched people enough at that level to know that sometimes they play much better than others.  

At higher levels of competition you often see relative unknowns play 3 rounds at or near the lead.  Their physical skills are the same that final round but often the score balloons and they fail to even contend.

Why is that?  Unlucky bounces?

 

 

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I keep wavering back and forth over whether to comment on this thread or not because I've said what I had to say in similar threads in the past. This just seems like one of those topics where people b

Here is an image that I will use to explore a little bit of my perspective on this. What you see below is a Shot Zone overlaid with a green and the nearby hazards. The size of the green and the S

Recent Rory McIlroy quote:

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15 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

No,  I just don't think there's a stroke a hole difference in rounds based on lucky bounces.  I've been there and I have watched people enough at that level to know that sometimes they play much better than others.  

At higher levels of competition you often see relative unknowns play 3 rounds at or near the lead.  Their physical skills are the same that final round but often the score balloons and they fail to even contend.

Why is that?  Unlucky bounces?

Ah, I thought you meant "lucky bounce" in a non-literal manner. So, I agree if the hole is wide open, it's generally easy to find stuff and lucky bounces is all you worry about.

However, not everyone plays wide open parkland courses. Even my home courses that are considered parkland style, balls can easily be lost. For example, if I hit a tree 50 yards away with a 200+ yard club, many times I just can't find the ball. There's potentially a 100+ yard radius, lost, OB or lateral.

Then there are the holes where "I'm not going into that muck just to see if that's my ball" type of stuff. Stroke and distance because you couldn't confirm your ball in the lateral. . .

I also play a lot of courses where habitat areas are considered OB, although some turned out to be Lateral as I found out too late in one case. . .

Most of the cases, I just hit a tree, so that's a stroke. . .

So, my earlier response was taken as a non-literal meaning of "lucky bounce".

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54 minutes ago, klineka said:

You are correct that Spieth and DJ have substantial physical skills, but they are not identical day to day like you claimed. Putts dont just "happen to go in" more for the player with the stronger mental game. The ball doesnt know the mental game of the person using the club that struck the ball. People who have a greater physical skill at putting make more putts than people who arent as good at putting. 

That's not what I meant - I meant that when you hit a 15 foot putt, it has a certain chance of going on. Based on just normal random variance, some days you will hole more putts than others. That is nothing to do with mental game. 

54 minutes ago, klineka said:

Spieth is not a better long putter than basically anyone. What data are you using to back that up? According to the PGA tour statistics, Spieth ranked 4th in percentage of putts made greater than 20 feet, and only 14th on putts greater than 25 feet. That is hardly close to being "A better long putter than basically anyone" Spieth isnt as good at long putts as people think.

I was basing that on my memory - happy to admit I was wrong about that. He seems to hole a lot of long putts when it matters.

54 minutes ago, klineka said:

You stated that Spieth has a mental edge on Dustin Johnson, why? What is your reasoning? Because you perceive Spieth to be the best long distance putter? (Which I clearly showed isnt true)

Dustin Johnson has the physical edge on Spieth, backed up by stats. Johnson hits it further, gains more strokes off the tee, etc. Best example of this was at the Northern Trust on the playoff hole. DJ won because he had greater physical ability than Spieth did. 

It is my opinion that Spieth has a mental edge on DJ. It's based on the fact that Spieth has won more majors than DJ despite DJ having the "physical edge". Spieth gains more strokes approaching the green than DJ. He's ranked one in 2017 for approach shots. DJ is top in all around strokes gained (by a hair over Spieth) in 2017. I do note that Spieth is better than DJ average over the past 3 years. I think it's questionable who has greater physical ability between them. Clearly DJ is ahead of him as far as driving distance goes, but physical ability goes beyond just length.

54 minutes ago, klineka said:

For your personal example, you state that your poor shot is often a miss to the right. OB 20 yds left of the fairway, why would you aim right edge of the fairway when your most common miss is to the right? Why not aim middle of the fairway, still 30-40 yards away from the OB, then your good shot is middle of the fairway and your normal shot is in the semi. I strongly recommend you buy a copy of the book Lowest Score Wins, which was written by the owner of this site. It is heavily focused on game planning and shot zone mapping. 

Because my head is messed up. I thought I explained that. I could aim at the middle of the fairway, but I get anxious when I do that because I don't know where it's going. It's something that I need to work on. I have read LSW - great advice in it and I'm working on building the concepts into my game, but it's difficult to get past the hot feeling in my head and my arms when I feel like I'm taking too much of a risk. Objectively I know that I'm not, but emotionally it feels like I am. Once I get into the round and I feel like I know where it's going, I'm much better. I played a couple of rounds at a tournament recently where the 6th hole had OB tight on the left side and trees right. Lots of people were hitting it in the trees (I know this because the previous hole runs parallel to it from that side and I saw them all). I knew where it was going and was comfortable aiming it middle of the fairway about 25-30 yards from the OB stakes. Both rounds that's where it finished up too. 

Incidentally, the tour pros aim away from the middle of the fairway too if there's a penalty hazard on one side that's close. Take TPC Sawgrass. If you look at the scatter plot of where their drives wind up on 14, it heavily favors the right rough over the left bunker. I haven't seen the scatter plot, but I'm sure from memory on 18 that half of them probably miss that drive in the right rough. 

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34 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

No,  I just don't think there's a stroke a hole difference in rounds based on lucky bounces.  I've been there and I have watched people enough at that level to know that sometimes they play much better than others.  

At higher levels of competition you often see relative unknowns play 3 rounds at or near the lead.  Their physical skills are the same that final round but often the score balloons and they fail to even contend.

Why is that?  Unlucky bounces?

No one said that mental game has no effect.  Certainly, if you are in contention to win a tournament or major, emotions run high.  It's a million bucks and more.  People start looking ahead and they lose track of themselves.  So instead of say 5%, it could be like 10%, IDK I don't really like putting a number to it.

No one can possibly hit great shot after great shot all the time.  I take physical ability to mean consistency shot to shot and round to round, and how small or smartly planned the misses are.  Every pro golfer in the world will have a miss here and there, no one is immune to that.  How big that miss or how well they recover can mean those 1 or 2 strokes, and if they happen one or two times more, it adds up.  Misses are not necessarily mental, it's just variance in your physical ability.

Everyone here knows that rounds can sometimes come down to a stroke against your buddies.  I definitely will try to get into people's heads at men's league, because it may give me that extra stroke I need to win.  Mental game can give you that edge, sure.  But, you were able to shoot the score you did because of physical ability.

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41 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

No,  I just don't think there's a stroke a hole difference in rounds based on lucky bounces.  I've been there and I have watched people enough at that level to know that sometimes they play much better than others.

Erik never said it was mostly due to luck. He even said "little bit of luck good or bad"

21 hours ago, iacas said:

and a bogey golfer isn't going to break par on a PGA Tour course any time soon… his scores are also typically 85-100 owing, mostly, to variations in physical performance that day (as well as the mental game and, well, a little bit of luck good or bad).

Of course a golfer who shoots 90 isn't going to base all his variance on luck. It's based on physical ability. A golfer who averages 90 will have a much wider range of scoring, good or bad, than someone who shoots in the low 70's.

Lets put this in terms of USGA Handicap. A 15-20 handicap golfer is nearly 2.5x more likely to shoot 5 strokes under his handicap differential than a 0-5 handicap golfer.

Better golfers are more consistent and shoot better scores. This is because of their physical ability to hit the ball more consistently. They have less variance in their swing path, and less variance in their clubface control in relation to that swing path.

 

 

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The ability to score well on the golf course is predominantly physical. My physical ability to hit a golf ball is better than a 20 handicap, period.

The mental game with me plays a small part when it comes to things like concentration (focus), shot selection, nerves, etc just like Erik stated. Concentration is a big one for me. I play my best when I am hyper-focused. I believe this is why I tend to play better when there is something on the line. It can be hard for me to focus completely when I am playing a casual round, especially if its with players of lesser ability. Nerves can play a role as well as to how I score. In a big tournament or a higher end money match I have gotten nervous and I believe it has affected my shot making ability. Shot selection is a lesser one, I am a pretty smart player, but I do occasionally do stupid things like not picking the correct club or picking the longer club and not swinging at it. 

Overall, golf is a sport that makes you develop a repeatable swing using muscle memory which is physical. Without the physical ability you have nothing.

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11 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

So obviously,  starting anew we realize that the score you post is a result of the physical things you did in reality (how many shots to get little ball in hole 18 or more times.)

I start here.  A bogey golfers scores change almost a stroke a hole from good day to worst according to above.  Why?

Because their physical ability doesn't allow them to shoot better.  No normal bogey golfer is going from shooting 85 to 75 on mental ability alone.  Come on you can't really believe that.  

11 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

The physical ability is what it is.  Imo if the physical side is so influential how can the scores vary that much?  The argument was put forth before that its luck of the bounce.  Those six shots headed dead ob ALL ricocheted off trees and into the fairway and those five approaches that hit the path ALL ricocheted towards the green and those four putts ALL lipped in instead of out in 85?

Hence, that's why they shoot their score, their physical ability is inadequate.  I must have missed the  luck of the bounce quote, everyone gets bad and good bounces, just depends on how you hit your next shot.  You make it sound like every bad shot is because of a mental error.  I've played with some really mentally tough 18 handicappers.  They aren't the longest or most accurate of drivers of the ball but are OK from inside 100 yards and are better than average chippers and putters.  But unless they stick every short shot and make every putt, they couldn't shoot 80 on their best day, they just don't have the ability and they still mishit shots, frequently.  

11 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

I have played this game and others a long time.  I have played long enough to know true physical skill improvement is almost always incremental...So imo,  that range of scores viewed from the 'almost all physical' perspective requires changing physical abilities day to day not solely luck of the bounce.  I have problems believing it's luck of the bounce.  That's fifteen strokes a round.  Are we saying that's mostly luck?  We all know golf has a luck element there but fifteen a round?  I don't think so. 

I've too have played this game a long time and it is hard to hit a golf ball well and on target all of the time.  Minor variances in your swing can present large variances in your score especially if you're a high handicapper.  And then toss in lies you get on the golf course, of which few are flat and few are in the fairway and then any miscue can add up to a higher score (this could be shut face, open face, hit it fat, thin, standing too close to ball, standing too far away, ball too far forward in stance, too far back in stance, open stance, closed stance and everything in between and even have several of this issues on every swing).  And these can all be off by just a little and depending on your physical ability to hit the ball, all kinds of errant shots can be made.  And no amount mental game can correct that.  

12 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

I think the opening that I see here under these parameters is concentration.  How can we improve it and thus improve our mental 'game'?

Imo you improve it by practice and conditioning exactly like practicing to improve the physical swing.  You work on this while working on the swing or playing.  For now I will say the focal point is very important.  That's a choice.  Two aspects here,  one is the chosen focal point and two is the level of concentration.  The focal point is pretty much black and white.  IMO the interesting part is the level of concentration because that's something that continues far deeper than most people have any inkling about.  Also,  imo the focal point chosen has effects on the level you can get to,  so for a given activity choose wisely.  The level changes day to day and is not a thing you decide how deep to take it,  imo sometimes it's better and sometimes not so much.  There's things you can do...  My points here are made partially from golf and are personal but mostly from things I was far better at...Competition is huge here also.  IMO if you want to seek your limits and are not competing you CANNOT get there.  Again,  that's personal experience.

What is the chosen focal point for you?  And if the focal point only sometimes works, then what good is it.  When you rely on it and it doesn't work, what do you do? 

I must not be doing something right, because I don't think of any of these things you describe and I play pretty well.  I don't visualize a shot because my ball flight is generally the same.  I choose a club, aim down my sight line and swing the club.  And it's not always correct, I mishit balls all the time, not the clubs fault, hence why I have the handicap I have.  I mean I did this twice yesterday while we were playing in our year long fourball tournament (we won and onto the semi's).  Had two down hill lies, each from inside of 100 yards, I hit them both just a little fat and came up well short and made bogey after being so close.  We those because I was a mental midget or did i just take a poor swing.  We were up 3 both times I hit the bad shot, so it certainly wasn't because I was nervous.  Bad shots happen, again that's why I'm a 6 HC.  

 

12 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

Shot selection/strategy is a psr thing and there's a mental component but that's about self knowledge and being honest with yourself.

Some people should not hit a 218 carry wind hurting period.  

Shot selection and club selection are just decisions and should have no bearing mentally on your swing.  What's mental about choosing a club.  You're not always going to be correct, no matter what club you use.  If you hit a poor shot, it's not the club, it's the swinger of the golf ball.  And better swingers hit the ball better, simple as that.  Again, no amount of mental capacity will make you hit the ball better.  I'll agree that people need to have a self realization on when to try shots, a shot you have 1 in a 100 chance of making, lay up.  Who hasn't chosen the wrong club, is every mistake you make a mental error?  

12 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

Also iI think in order to espouse ones own mental game in a given sport they ought to be able to go scoreboard and say look at these results in competition.  It should be many and should show a trend in which you play at or better than your ability in competition regularly.

Competition is essential to growth in all of this.  Something must be on the line and it's best if others are depending on you.  IMO the highest level of ones self can only truly be found in the heat of competition.  I have proved that to myself just not in golf.  I play for some money or whatever but it's nothing like true competition.  In golf I am a rec golfer.  I know that I found levels I was capable of that I never would have found without competition in another sport and look at most real pro golfers on tour.  They literally NEED that stress to find out what they are really capable of.  They love the opportunity and challenge in that...

 

This is about the only thing I kind of agree with you on this topic, playing in competition helps you become a better player, but only marginally.   Especially when you don't play your home course.  Physical ability still trumps mental ability by a long shot though.  If two players are pretty close in physical ability, then maybe the mental player will have an advantage but again not all of the time.  And I've seen strong mental players hit bad shots and score bad.  Saw our previous club champion need a double bogey on the last hole to win the Sr. Club Championship this year.  He proceeds to make a 9 on the last hole.  Watching this unfold you would've thought he was a mental midget, hit bad shot after bad shot.  The next day, he plays in the Virginia State Am, qualifies for the round of 32 and wins two matches (one against the number 1 seed).  So which was he, mental midget one day and then ice in his veins the next?  Or did he just play some bad shots on that last hole, as he had played well under his handicap the first day when he shot 67.  Who knows, good players hit bad shots, bad players hit good shots, but the good player will hit better shots more often, regardless of their mental thoughts.  

19 hours ago, iacas said:

 

I'm going to be of little to no help, btw, in the "how to improve your mental game." Beyond this, anyway:

  • Have realistic expectations. If you feel bad you didn't stick your 123-yard wedge to 3' or that you didn't make the 20' putt, you'll feel bad about yourself. That's not great.
  • Realize that golf is just a game.
  • Figure out what amount of focus works for you, and go with it.
  • Develop a routine. The only thing you control is the process - everything else is fate, luck, etc.
  • Learn to gameplan properly, and then accept the results. This takes very little time.

Thiss^^^

For me, I play as good as I can every time.  No more or no less, sometimes better, sometimes worse.  We all get disappointed with bad swing results but in the end, golf is hard.  

 

 

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5 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

No,  I just don't think there's a stroke a hole difference in rounds based on lucky bounces.  I've been there and I have watched people enough at that level to know that sometimes they play much better than others.  

At higher levels of competition you often see relative unknowns play 3 rounds at or near the lead.  Their physical skills are the same that final round but often the score balloons and they fail to even contend.

Why is that?  Unlucky bounces?

 

 

Jack - I think the key here is to think about what is actually involved in a golf swing. With a driver, the clubhead is moving somewhere around 25 feet at impact, somewhere in the 90 to 110 mph range and with the face closing at perhaps 2-3 thousand degrees per second. If you're off by an inch or by 3 degrees at impact, your ball is going to be winding up 50+ yards offline. The best players in the world have the physical skills to return the club to the ball within fractions of a degree and in exactly the right spot time after time. Bogey golfers don't, although when you think about it, they get pretty close. They probably return the club within a range of +/- 3 degrees of square (square meaning where it needs to be to wind up in the middle of the fairway). There will be some days where, purely by chance, that is closer to 0 degrees more often than other days. Mentally there is not really any difference and physically there is not really any difference, but score wise there sure is. At the pro level, the same is true, although with tighter tolerances. 

I don't think it's quite right to call that "luck", but it is pretty close to it and it has nothing to do with what happens to the ball when it hits the ground, or the trees. Every game has variance and every game has its good days and bad days and those are as much based on chance as anything else. 

I do agree that the mental side of it comes into play and especially on Sunday in contention. You tighten up a little bit and that messes with your swing. They're still going to shoot a score that's better than 99% of golfers out there though. That's because their physical skill set is so much better than most.

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22 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

If you're off by an inch or by 3 degrees at impact, your ball is going to be winding up 50+ yards offline. The best players in the world have the physical skills to return the club to the ball within fractions of a degree and in exactly the right spot time after time. Bogey golfers don't, although when you think about it, they get pretty close. They probably return the club within a range of +/- 3 degrees of square (square meaning where it needs to be to wind up in the middle of the fairway). There will be some days where, purely by chance, that is closer to 0 degrees more often than other days. Mentally there is not really any difference and physically there is not really any difference, but score wise there sure is. At the pro level, the same is true, although with tighter tolerances. 

Physically there is a difference between 0 degrees square and 3 degrees open or closed. Maybe not a large enough difference that you would be able to see with the naked eye or might not be a large enough of a difference to be able to tell without swing tracking software, but the physical difference is there.

The fact that there are physical differences in each individual swing is precisely the reason why we arent able to drive the ball dead straight where we want to every time, because there was a physical difference in how the club met the ball. That is simply not correct to state that there is not really any physical difference between a straight shot and a shot 50 yards offline. 

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8 minutes ago, klineka said:

Physically there is a difference between 0 degrees square and 3 degrees open or closed. Maybe not a large enough difference that you would be able to see with the naked eye or might not be a large enough of a difference to be able to tell without swing tracking software, but the physical difference is there.

The fact that there are physical differences in each individual swing is precisely the reason why we arent able to drive the ball dead straight where we want to every time, because there was a physical difference in how the club met the ball. That is simply not correct to state that there is not really any physical difference between a straight shot and a shot 50 yards offline. 

Out of curiosity, what point do you think I was trying to make and what do you think I meant by saying "physically there is not really any difference"?

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2 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

Out of curiosity, what point do you think I was trying to make?

I'm not going to guess or assume what point you are trying to make. I am reading what you wrote and replying accordingly. You made a statement that was not true. Regardless of what point you were trying to make, stating that there is not really any physical difference between a square club at impact and a club 3 degrees open or closed is not a true statement. There is a physical difference between a square clubface at impact and an open or closed clubface at impact.

Is the difference very large? No. But the physical difference still exists.

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42 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

With a driver, the clubhead is moving somewhere around 25 feet at impact

Some driving days I feel like that.... :-D

(I know what you meant, but it's a funny visual)

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13 minutes ago, klineka said:

I'm not going to guess or assume what point you are trying to make. I am reading what you wrote and replying accordingly. You made a statement that was not true. Regardless of what point you were trying to make, stating that there is not really any physical difference between a square club at impact and a club 3 degrees open or closed is not a true statement. There is a physical difference between a square clubface at impact and an open or closed clubface at impact.

Is the difference very large? No. But the physical difference still exists.

Okay - I said "not really any difference" to suggest that in the swing motion itself, there is very little physical difference between the two swings. It's like saying "there is not really any difference in the distance from New York to Los Angeles and the distance from Washington DC to Los Angeles". They are both about the same. They're not exactly the same, but for my purpose they might as well be. 

The physical motion made to hit two golf balls, one which happens to have a square face and one which happens to have a face 3 degrees open is not discernible. The result is for sure. My point was that a player can have two very different sets of results from one day to the next without noticeably changing their swing physically. The difference is clearly physical, but it's marginal and physical ability is not changing from one day to the next. Physical skill includes narrowing that variation. But even the most skilled players don't hit every shot straight. That is really the point I was making. I was trying to draw a contrast between physical differences that are actual variations in skill from physical differences that are just random variation from one swing to the next. It was answering the question of why one player plays well one day and poorly the next. It's just chance, but it's not lucky bounces. Does that make sense?

If I said identical or no different, I would agree that I had misspoken, but I didn't say that.

6 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

Some driving days I feel like that.... :-D

(I know what you meant, but it's a funny visual)

Oops! haha - I meant by impact not at impact!

 

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26 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

Okay - I said "not really any difference" to suggest that in the swing motion itself, there is very little physical difference between the two swings. It's like saying "there is not really any difference in the distance from New York to Los Angeles and the distance from Washington DC to Los Angeles". They are both about the same. They're not exactly the same, but for my purpose they might as well be. 

The physical motion made to hit two golf balls, one which happens to have a square face and one which happens to have a face 3 degrees open is not discernible. The result is for sure. My point was that a player can have two very different sets of results from one day to the next without noticeably changing their swing physically. The difference is clearly physical, but it's marginal and physical ability is not changing from one day to the next. Physical skill includes narrowing that variation. But even the most skilled players don't hit every shot straight. That is really the point I was making. I was trying to draw a contrast between physical differences that are actual variations in skill from physical differences that are just random variation from one swing to the next. It was answering the question of why one player plays well one day and poorly the next. It's just chance, but it's not lucky bounces. Does that make sense?

If I said identical or no different, I would agree that I had misspoken, but I didn't say that.

Oops! haha - I meant by impact not at impact!

 

I didnt realize you were talking about physical differences in the two swings. Based on what you wrote, I interpreted that as you were talking about the physical difference of the actual clubhead itself and trying to state that there isnt a physical difference between a club face square and a clubface 3 degrees open. I do agree that the physical motion to hit two golf balls one with a square face and one with an open face are very very similar but can produce very different results.

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18 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

I start here.  A bogey golfers scores change almost a stroke a hole from good day to worst according to above.  Why?

The physical ability is what it is.  Imo if the physical side is so influential how can the scores vary that much?

Here's the thing @Jack Watson… you lose almost all credibility IMO when you say things like this.

The physical does vary a little from day to day. When you average 93 scoring +/- 7 strokes is a pretty typical, and can completely be explained by physical differences.

18 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

The argument was put forth before that its luck of the bounce.  Those six shots headed dead ob ALL ricocheted off trees and into the fairway and those five approaches that hit the path ALL ricocheted towards the green and those four putts ALL lipped in instead of out in 85?

No. And I don't think anyone put forth the idea that it's all "luck of the bounce."

18 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

So imo,  that range of scores viewed from the 'almost all physical' perspective requires changing physical abilities day to day not solely luck of the bounce.

Attributing those to slight physical differences is entirely possible. Plausible, even. You average 83 and yet you probably don't hit a bunch of super identical shots on the range even.

18 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

Some people should not hit a 218 carry wind hurting period.

Nobody said everyone should.

18 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

It should be many and should show a trend in which you play at or better than your ability in competition regularly.

Not sure what you mean here… How can you play better than your ability?

10 hours ago, Ty_Webb said:

For a guy like Dustin Johnson, his physical game is what it is. It doesn't really change day to day.=

It does.

Some days, feeling exactly the same way and thinking exactly the same way, he hits the ball better than other days.

9 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

No,  I just don't think there's a stroke a hole difference in rounds based on lucky bounces.

Nobody's said that.

9 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

At higher levels of competition you often see relative unknowns play 3 rounds at or near the lead.  Their physical skills are the same that final round but often the score balloons and they fail to even contend.

Why is that?  Unlucky bounces?

Could just be reversion to the mean.

Sometimes you flip a quarter and get heads six times in a row.

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6 hours ago, jsgolfer said:

lone.  Come on you can't really believe that.  

No,  nor did I posit that.

6 hours ago, jsgolfer said:

I've too have played this game a long time and it is hard to hit a golf ball well and on target all of the time.  Minor variances in your swing can present large variances in your score especially if you're a high handicapper.  And then toss in lies you get on the golf course, of which few are flat and few are in the fairway and then any miscue can add up to a higher score (this could be shut face, open face, hit it fat, thin, standing too close to ball, standing too far away, ball too far forward in stance, too far back in stance, open stance, closed stance and everything in between and even have several of this issues on every swing).  And these can all be off by just a little and depending on your physical ability to hit the ball, all kinds of errant shots can be made.  And no amount mental game can correct that.  

Didn't answer the q.

6 hours ago, jsgolfer said:

What is the chosen focal point for you?  And if the focal point only sometimes works, then what good is it.  When you rely on it and it doesn't work, what do you do? 

I think that's a personal question.  I will say I prefer external focus to internal.  I have found in internal focus that it slows me down.  I experience internal focus as an unnecessary split in conscious energy.  I do not deny that some have success with internal but I found in other sports it limits my ability ceiling.

As an example,  we were doing timed sprints and my times were slow.  Everyone was shocked.  The coach had me go a few more times and kinda shook his head.

Finally he says "go again but this time Satoru will race you". Satorus times were fastest on the team.  I tied and the time matched Satorus closely.  How do you explain that?  The only difference was I was trying to beat someone.

@iacas

Norman shot 63 first round and 78 final round that's the same stroke differential as the bogey golfer.  Is that a 'slight'  physical difference?

The six quarters thing is dumb luck.

 

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3 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Norman shot 63 first round and 78 final round that's the same stroke differential as the bogey golfer.  Is that a 'slight'  physical difference?

Possibly.

Reversion to the mean.

3 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

The six quarters thing is dumb luck.

And sometimes you hit a string of shots slightly above your average level, and other times you hit a string of shots slightly below your average level.

I'm done with you man… You've lost all credibility.

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Iacas, glad you kept the idea of this thread alive, even though the old one had been beaten to death!

Let me say this. I played the best golf of my life when I lived on the range and knew my swing inside and out! I hit balls 5-6 days a week, and nothing got by me. I could tell when any aspect of my setup was off by 1/4 inch!

That was on the range. The range is pretty much entirely physical. Swing thoughts! Then I'd go out and play, and things would change. I had to think about playing the course in order to score. Shot thoughts!

I've seen plenty of guys who looked like they had terrific swings, could hit the ball a long way, and couldn't score worth a crap! They didn't know how to think while playing. When they got in trouble, they'd go for any "hero shot" they could imagine! And usually wind up in worse trouble.

Thing is, the one time in a hundred that they managed to pull off the miracle would justify the 99 times they didn't! Pros and better amateurs don't think like that. They know what their physical swing are capable of, and don't try to fool themselves.

I'll have more to say on the mental game later, but right now I'm hungry, and want to make something to eat. See you later.

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