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Golf's Mental Game Aspect


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48 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

Well, say it happens twice in a round of golf (I'd actually think that was high - I normally learn my lesson after I do it once). Even if it's once, there are two bites of the cherry. I'm less likely to make the 6 footer and if I don't, I'm less likely to make the 4 foot putt back over the 1 foot putt I would have had. PGA Tour averages from Mark Broadie are 1.357 putts from 6 feet and 1.147 from 4 feet. 1.001 from 1 foot, so let's say my averages are the same (they'll be higher but higher favours me here). Instead of 1.357 putts if I step away and realign myself, I have let's say 50% chance of holing it instead of 65% chance and about a 15% chance of missing the return, instead of 0%. So I've gone from 1.357 putts to 0.5 x 1 + 0.5 x (1+1.147) = 1.57, which is right around 0.2 strokes.

Now that's one example. I'll also have several times where I'm undecided on my target off the tee. I have a tendency to be too conservative. If there's a lake on the right, I'll aim my drive at the left edge of the fairway. That means half the time I'm in the rough and half the time I'm in the fairway, but very rarely in the water. Some of those in the rough will likely be in tree trouble, so recovery shots. A better target would be one that introduces a small risk of putting it in the water, but improves the results of all those shots in the left side of my pattern. I know this, but I can't make myself aim it nearer to where I should. An actual example that happened in a tournament on Thursday last week. 8th hole. It's 436 yards. Trees either side of the fairway and the practice ground (OB) is on the right. It's about 25 yards from the right edge of the fairway to the OB and the fairway is about 35 yards wide. I had been driving it pretty well and pretty straight that day, but rather than aiming it down the middle of the fairway (which still would give me over 40 yards leeway to the OB), I aimed it left edge of the fairway (i.e. 60 yards leeway). I hit it pretty much dead where I aimed it and I got lucky that I was in the fairway by about a yard. I had an overhanging tree that blocked me from going at the flag, but the flag was not the right target anyway, so I got away with it. But as I noted before, the result doesn't matter. What matters is that my lack of confidence cost me fractions of a stroke. Same round, 11th hole. Highway down the right, so again OB right. I aim it again at the left edge (overly cautious given my shot pattern) and this time hit it in the left rough, maybe 3-4 yards left of where I aimed it - that should have been in the fairway if I took the right target. Hole is 450 and I had 196 in uphill from the rough. Looking again at Broadie's PGA Tour averages, 200 yards in the rough is 0.23 shots worse than in the fairway. That's 100% a mental mistake. One I got away with and one I didn't. 12th hole, same round again. Follows the same line, again with OB right. This time I tried aiming it down the middle and my last thought was "uh oh, OB right" and I hit a horrible smothery pulled hook into a tree. I missed four fairways that day. Two by a yard or two, both from aiming away from OB and hitting it within about 5 yards of where I was aiming it, one by trying to cut too much off a corner and this one. I wound up 340 out (par 5) in the rough, with trees in the way (about 4.02 strokes, per Broadie) instead of about 240 out if I'd hit it where I should have (about 3.25 shots). That's another mental mistake and this time about 0.75 shots. The hole after that was a shortish par 4. I hit a really good drive and left myself 66 yards in to an elevated green. I've been struggling a bit with my partial wedge shots of late and my last thought this time was don't duff it. I hit it about 40 yards. Now that one I think a big chunk of that was physical. It cost me 0.7 strokes per Broadie, of which I'd say 0.6 was physical and 0.1 mental.

I actually wound up scoring pretty well in that round. I shot +2, 72. No birdies. Two bogeys. One bogey was the short par four and the other was a three putt on a ridiculously long par five. I made no birdies. I don't really mind that though. I didn't putt all that badly, the putts just didn't happen to go in and my approach shots all wound up on the wrong side of my shot pattern all day. Fact is though that on three shots, making poor mental mistakes cost me over a shot in expectation. Had I not made them, I may well have shot 72 still, or 73 or possibly 69 if I got very lucky and all three shots that cost me had wound up benefiting me. For the mental mistakes I made in an actual round of golf on Thursday last week, I lost 1 shot. For that to be only 5% of the difference between me and someone else, they'd have to shoot 52. There ain't nobody doing that.

This is a great post.  Should just end it with a mic drop.  

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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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12 minutes ago, golfonly said:

This is a great post.  Should just end it with a mic drop.  

It isn't, for reasons noted above.

Not the least of which is a poor understanding of how Shot Zones, percentages and probabilities, etc. work.

 

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3 minutes ago, golfonly said:

This is a great post.  Should just end it with a mic drop.  

What is great about it?

It's one person using their own personal examples as their main form of support to argue a position about a topic that applies to all golfers.

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

It isn't, for reasons noted above.

Not the least of which is a poor understanding of how Shot Zones, percentages and probabilities, etc. work.

I disagree with your reasons above, but choose not to engage with you as the rules for debate are not equitable.  

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5 minutes ago, golfonly said:

I disagree with your reasons above, but choose not to engage with you as the rules for debate are not equitable.  

They're equitable. You continued to post off topic stuff about your avatar, and those posts were removed by a moderator (not me). Follow the rules. Ty still posts here, despite me disagreeing with him - and pointing it out - for what feels like decades. People aren't punished at all for disagreeing - they're punished when they are either jerks or they don't listen to moderators.

And the post is poor because he's failing to understand probabilities and percentages and so on. He's also failing to consider short-term vs. long-term gains and decision-making.

Again:

Not every ball in the water or the bunker is a "mental game" mistake, just as not every ball in the rough that he hit was a "mental game" mistake. He could very well have aimed further right - his "better" line according to him - and plopped a tee shot OB, even though it's within his Shot Zone. And guess what? He'd be right on here blaming his mental game again.

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19 minutes ago, iacas said:

It isn't, for reasons noted above.

Not the least of which is a poor understanding of how Shot Zones, percentages and probabilities, etc. work.

 

Also a mental game issue. What’s your point?

i will ask though how I’m supposed to provide anything other than personal stories here. That’s all any of us have. You’re apparently allowed to cite some time you hit a good shot despite a poor mental process but I’m not allowed to provide the contrary? 

How is me hitting driver within five yards of my target and that being in the rough because I was too conservative anything other than a mental mistake?

if you actually read what I write on the downhill putt example I hit it four feet past because I felt like I had to hit it firm to keep its line up. 

The point of the 300 yard carry wasn’t because I was actually citing that as an example. It was intended to contrast with the point afterwards. Namely that if someone hits it in the water because they’re only capable of hitting it over the water 70% of the time, that’s a mental mistake even though it was their physical ineptitude that actually put it in the water. They shouldn’t have been aiming it there. 

You say I’m an outlier, but how do you know? You don’t. You don’t know where molinari was aiming his shot on 12. Nor Koepka. Wasn’t it four of them in the last few groups that went in the water? Was that all four of them in the 5%? That seems unlikely to me. More likely they were aiming in the wrong place. 

Also, I invite you to find a single example of me saying a good shot was a result of a good mental process. There is no way of knowing that. There is no way of knowing a poor shot is because of a poor mental process (when it’s someone else), but when four of the best in the world are in contention and hit it in the water then it’s unlikely they’re all happening to hit it in the 5% of their shot zone that’s in the water. 

I also know what my shot zones are and how to use them. The point I’m trying to get across is I’m worried about the 1 in 50 shot that moves my target away from optimal. But you feel free to continue assuming what I’m thinking and doing on the course. 

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2 hours ago, Ty_Webb said:

 

I wonder - of the several players who hit it in the water on 12 at Augusta last month, how many had an overly aggressive target? Where did Tiger aim it? Do you think he aimed it more conservatively than they did? He's the best iron player, likely of all time. He hit that shot 30 off feet left of the flag. No way was he aiming that anywhere close to the hole. Molinari was aiming that a whole lot more at the flag than Tiger was. Pretty big mental mistake there. Koepka rinsed it too and finished one back. I wonder how he feels about his choice of target there. Funny that the best players in the world make mental mistakes on a Sunday afternoon under the utmost pressure. Sure there was an element of physical mishap to those shots as well, but I attribute the lost shots almost entirely to a mental mistake.

This is a great example.  Molinari took a risk after Koepka had made a similar mistake that essentially cost him the Masters.  Tiger he had always planned to hit where he did because of the flag location.  His understanding of the course and mental approach allowed him to pick up 2 quick strokes.  

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2 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

Also a mental game issue.

It isn't. Did you read the post?

2 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

i will ask though how I’m supposed to provide anything other than personal stories here. That’s all any of us have.

That's not true.

I've caddied for players. I've coached players. I've talked with Tour players, Tour coaches, etc. I have experience outside of "me me me me me me me me" and you probably do too, but it's all you ever want to talk about.

2 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

You’re apparently allowed to cite some time you hit a good shot despite a poor mental process but I’m not allowed to provide the contrary?

Again, that's an example meant to illustrate that the opposite (bad mental process, still a good shot) happens, which you never account for.

2 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

How is me hitting driver within five yards of my target and that being in the rough because I was too conservative anything other than a mental mistake?

You haven't been paying attention if you have to ask that kind of question.

For starters, you don't even know that it was actually a mistake. You're basing your entire opinion on the outcomes of ONE shot.

That's not how that shit works.

2 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

if you actually read what I write on the downhill putt example I hit it four feet past because I felt like I had to hit it firm to keep its line up.

Again, the outcome of ONE shot. You've probably, in the time you've been playing golf, made some putts you otherwise would have missed after changing your mind over the ball.

2 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

Namely that if someone hits it in the water because they’re only capable of hitting it over the water 70% of the time, that’s a mental mistake even though it was their physical ineptitude that actually put it in the water.

Nope. I could imagine a number of scenarios in which them going for it with even a 20% chance of success was the right decision.

2 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

You say I’m an outlier, but how do you know? You don’t. You don’t know where molinari was aiming his shot on 12. Nor Koepka. Wasn’t it four of them in the last few groups that went in the water? Was that all four of them in the 5%? That seems unlikely to me. More likely they were aiming in the wrong place. 

I'm suggesting that you are based on my opinion, which is based on the research, statistics, conversations, experience, etc. I've had, on top of the idea that you don't seem to understand how probability or percentages work.

1 minute ago, golfonly said:

This is a great example.  Molinari took a risk after Koepka had made a similar mistake that essentially cost him the Masters.  Tiger he had always planned to hit where he did because of the flag location.  His understanding of the course and mental approach allowed him to pick up 2 quick strokes.  

And again, if Molinari sticks it and Tiger three-putts, @Ty_Webb is on here talking about Francesco's mental fortitude and Tiger's chickening out or poor mental prep before he three-putted or something.

Francesco could have very well made an entirely physical mistake. But you don't know.


I'm locking this topic temporarily because, while before when nothing new was being added (by anyone), I could tolerate it a bit, but now you're not even reading what's being written. I generally like to continue to engage in discussions - virtually no topics here are locked (and this one won't be for long), but this has gotten to be tedious. I'm not convincing you, and you're not even seemingly reading what I'm writing, so I'm done for now, and it's locked.

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  • 6 months later...

 when i play by myself i get pars mostly, some bogeys and rarely a double if i go 3 off tee. 

however when i play with others, I get a lot of double bogeys, maybe a triple bogey, some bogeys and some pars...

anyone got any tips or drills to fix this?

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5 minutes ago, JackG said:

 when i play by myself i get pars mostly, some bogeys and rarely a double if i go 3 off tee. 

however when i play with others, I get a lot of double bogeys, maybe a triple bogey, some bogeys and some pars...

anyone got any tips or drills to fix this?

You're not alone.   The fix:  play more often with others and/or find competition.   The added stress of playing with others is real and is only overcome by going after it head on.  

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  • 5 months later...
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On an NLU podcast, Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott were on talking about their "Be a Player" book.

They talked about how they'll have Tour players show up at their schools and how "they're often beginners, just like the golfers who can't break 90, who are there in the same class."

If a Tour player can get to the Tour without having any "mental game," this backs up all I've been saying: it's a sliver of what makes them so good. Most of it, almost all of it, is their actual physical ability to hit a golf ball, putt a golf ball, chip a golf ball, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Without ever having any involvement with a player of their caliber, I'd argue that the pros had the mental game working properly when they are at their best, they just might not have known it or realized what exactly they're doing.

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  • 10 months later...
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On 5/6/2020 at 10:44 PM, iacas said:

On an NLU podcast, Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott were on talking about their "Be a Player" book.

They talked about how they'll have Tour players show up at their schools and how "they're often beginners, just like the golfers who can't break 90, who are there in the same class."

If a Tour player can get to the Tour without having any "mental game," this backs up all I've been saying: it's a sliver of what makes them so good. Most of it, almost all of it, is their actual physical ability to hit a golf ball, putt a golf ball, chip a golf ball, etc.

I was reminded of this today, and thought I had posted it.

And so I checked, and I had.

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  • 1 month later...
(edited)

I have shot 89 in my last two rounds of golf. In both rounds I were 11 over after 16 holes (or 7 under with my 18 handicap) and on the verge of winning our group of 24-player handicap tournament for the first time. In both rounds I managed to have 6 over in the last 2 holes and ended up third and fourth. I think I screwed up because of my weak mental game and lack of focus. With the last few holes left and it seems like the tournament were mine to lose, my friends started saying things like "you are winning, be careful" or "you've got this tournament". I don't know how but I started to make major mistakes physically and mentally after that. I have blown up like this in the last few holes many times in the past. The worst thing is that I started to think about Jean Vander Velve on the 18th hole at the Bristish Open. I wish I can unsee the "worst meltdowns in history of golf" video on Youtube. I am trying a new preshot routine to keep myself in the present. I also started to practice meditation before going sleep to help with focus. What else can help with my problem?

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35 minutes ago, khalespace said:

I my friends started saying things like "you are winning, be careful" or "you've got this tournament". 

Well, recognize the gamemanship for what it is, they're trying to throw you off your game.  When you practice, try to recreate the feelings you had, then hit the ball.  Some people use anger at folks trying to game you to channel one's focus.  You can't control the outcome, just the next shot...  I hope there wasn't $ riding on it!

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Right. Like any time I hit one of my famous shanks…I always make sure they know it’s contagious. 

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2 hours ago, khalespace said:

What else can help with my problem?

It’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but you just gotta do it. If you start thinking about negative thoughts, change your thoughts. Control your mind. I also have concentration issues on the course. The only way to fix that is to make myself focus. You need to find effective techniques to command your state of mind.

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