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Golf's Mental Game Aspect

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2 hours ago, Jack Watson said:

No,  nor did I posit that.

Didn't answer the q.

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 hours ago, Buckeyebowman said:

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!

Transitioning from the range to the course is hard. By it's very nature, the courses are harder to hit on. They were designed to challenge you.

For a year and a half I rarely went to the range, and all my swings were on the course. So, I played the course like I practiced on the course. If you do that, then you would not have any shot "thoughts". It's just a shot you setup for and make it.

 

3 hours ago, Buckeyebowman said:

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.

If they play poorly on the course, which most of us do, then their swings were not terrific.

 

3 hours ago, Buckeyebowman said:

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 think the argument is whether or not better players need to think at all while playing golf?

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11 hours ago, iacas said:

It does.

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

Okay - here is my thought process. Maybe you can tell me which step you disagree with me on (note that I'm not sure that we do disagree, rather that there may be an issue of semantics going on)

Feeling exactly the same way and thinking exactly the same way there will be some variation in result. That's a natural result of humans being imperfect. It's impossible to always return the club exactly the same way. Thus two days, with no difference in physical *ability*, you can get a different result, just because of the random variance that occurs in your swing. For a guy like DJ, that variance might mean being 5 yards off at 320 yards carry. The difference in his swing will be virtually imperceptible to all except a high speed camera or radar system. This is what I mean when I say that he is "really the same physically" - I mean really as a qualifier so as to note that there is a physical difference in impact conditions that effects a different result, but that his physical skill is unchanged. This is why I don't say that his physical swing is identical, because it clearly isn't. If it was the result would be exactly the same. He may still shoot different scores under this scenario because of differences in conditions and imperfections on green surfaces and the like. One day his ball is lying well in the rough and the next it's in a stinker of a spot.

Out of curiosity, while I've got you, I have days where I come out and it feels easy. My swing feels good and the ball generally goes where I want it to. These days don't occur as often as I would like, but I take what I get. I have other days where I feel like I have two left arms. No matter what I do, I can barely get the ball on the golf course. Those are the things that tend to cause the variation in my scoring. Would you classify that difference as physical or mental?

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52 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

No matter what I do, I can barely get the ball on the golf course. Those are the things that tend to cause the variation in my scoring. Would you classify that difference as physical or mental?

Definitely physical. When my back seized up on me, I went on some muscle relaxers. I played a few rounds towards the end of my prescription. I topped the first 5 shots I hit. My mind, or intent, wanted to hit the ball solidly. My body was so out of whack from the muscles relaxers I could hardly make contact. This is an extreme condition, but my physical ability to play golf was changed due to that prescription I was taking. It didn't matter much of what my intent was. It took a while to finally find the ball again.

There could be days were things do not feel good or what you feel or think doesn't match what your expectations are. It might take some time to figure out what feel, thought, image produces a workable result. That result could be counter to what you intend.

The best round I ever shot was me feeling, imagining myself, hitting a push cut and the swing produced a push draw. It's something I accepted because the strike was good and the flight was consistent. Sometimes our intent doesn't line up with what our bodies will produce.

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5 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

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You're the last person who should get to say anything remotely resembling that.

If anything we give too much leeway to people here who behave like twats simply so that we can say unequivocally that we don't moderate simply based on disagreement. Ever.

Since you chose to make this public, my response is public too, for a time. Since this has zero to do with the topic, they'll be deleted in a bit.

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Mental seldom affects my play, but my play affects my mental state for sure. I never got too down when I lost a fight. I wasn't in awe how my spinning back fist just didn't connect the way it did when I was practicing it on a bag. I never missed a tackle and thought, 'that's odd, my technique felt just fine.' Golf is hard. "Feel ain't real" is more prominent a fact in golf than any other sport I can think of. My golf can suffer because of a physical error in my swing. It's not because I'm down, mad, irritated or happy as a clam. It's difficult to swing a club in an unnatural manner and have to do it with precision. Perhaps some humans have a better developed proprioception when it comes to skills such as a golf swing. But the execution is still a physical one. I have mediocre confidence with my driver. Other than that, I generally stand over the ball with a bit of anxiety due the fear I will shank it. But that lack of confidence comes from my self awareness that I have faults in my swing. Some people deny their lack of ability and simply try to pass it off as some philosophical bs about 'being happy where they are.' It's like the kid who says 'hitting a baseball at 80mph is easy.' Then as he wiffs 2 in a row and barely catches the third for a weak foul ball says, ' I'm pretty happy with that, like I said..it's easy'. I'm not sure why, but for me I can definitely say that I've never felt more gratification than a well struck ball, nor felt as much frustration from a poorly struck ball in golf than any other sport I've played. But it doesn't mean golf is any more of a mental sport as far as performing it.

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On 10/4/2017 at 9:56 AM, iacas said:

To discuss just how much the mental game affects golfers generally, as well as individually (please be clear about this distinction when you're posting).

Yes I would say the mental game accounts for 5%-ish of a golfer's performance. 


I was playing with a 6 handicapper the other day and we were hitting a 190 yard shot over water. He pushed it well right. When we were walking up to the green he was talking about how uncomfortable he felt over the shot, thinking about all the ways he was worrying about missing it. I hit it on the green but I kind of went with more of a flighted swing because I also felt a bit uncomfortable with the shot. It occurred to me if a tour pro was playing with us he wouldn't be dealing with any of that doubt (or would have much less of it). The difference isn't that they are mentally "stronger", it's that they have far superior physical abilities. The doubts that were in my head or the 6 handicapper's head don't come into play for the tour players because their swing doesn't produce the variance of shots that ours do.

I'm not saying pros don't get nervous at times but the physical parts of their game certainly helps their mental game because most of the time they hit the ball solid and have a reliable pattern.

On 10/4/2017 at 9:56 AM, iacas said:

To discuss methods and means of improving your mental game.

For me there's a few levels to it.

- First I try to practice shots on the range that I'm going to play on the course. Like a par 3 for example and I try to get into that mindset like I'm playing the hole during a round. I do my rehearsal, practice swings, waggle and hit the shot. Let's say I do this 10 times, and "hit the green" 7 or 8 times, I know that when I go to play the hole the odds are in my favor to hit the green.

- For myself on the course if I get nervous or uncomfortable with a shot I tend to make "steer job" swings. Lately I've been doing a pretty good job of when this happens to just feel like I'm repeating my practice swing. Just make the swing and let the ball get in the way type of thing. If I hit it offline or not solid, fine, but at least I'm not going to "p**** out" on the swing.

Fred Couples says he does something similar, if he has a shot he doesn't like/feels awkward with, he just imagines he's making a swing on the range or on a  hole he does like and just tries to make that swing. Obviously I'm not talking about shot shape, more along the lines of "committing" to just making a good swing.

- What's also has been working for me in competition is picking a spot a few feet in front of the ball, where I want to ball to start, with the goal being to hit the ball solid over that spot. It's just a silly, simple thing but it helps me get more process oriented rather than results oriented. 

8 hours ago, Ty_Webb said:

Out of curiosity, while I've got you, I have days where I come out and it feels easy. My swing feels good and the ball generally goes where I want it to. These days don't occur as often as I would like, but I take what I get. I have other days where I feel like I have two left arms. No matter what I do, I can barely get the ball on the golf course. Those are the things that tend to cause the variation in my scoring. Would you classify that difference as physical or mental?

That would fall under physical.

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41 minutes ago, mvmac said:

 


The doubts that were in my head or the 6 handicapper's head don't come into play for the tour players because their swing doesn't produce the variance of shots that ours do.

Unless you are Spieth at Augusta National #12 . He might be thinking the water for years to come :-P

That is a good take on it.

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11 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Unless you are Spieth at Augusta National #12 . He might be thinking the water for years to come :-P

That is a good take on it.

I think he means the occurrence of negative variation, which is much less than amateur's,  not so much the degree of awfulness. 

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27 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

I think he means the occurrence of negative variation, which is much less than amateur's,  not so much the degree of awfulness. 

No, I get his point. I was just taking a shot at Spieth because I could :roll:

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Played a quick 9 nine today and purposely tried to avoid some of the things I listed as mental causes in my first post. I didn't put a lot of thought into shots, didn't let my expectations get very high (which kept the disappointment and anger down) and tried to just play my swing and accept the results.

While I shot my first eagle ever on the second hole (which really has little to do with any of this) and followed that up with a nice par on the next, the rest of the round included some horrible golf.

I can't attribute any of the poor shots today to anything but a lack of skill - physical issues.

FWIW.

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4 hours ago, mvmac said:

That would fall under physical.

Why? It's a feeling. I'm not sure why a feeling should be physical and not mental. If it was a sore neck or something like that then I agree that's physical, but if my swing just doesn't feel right, that could be tension caused by nervousness, which would be more like a mental thing no?

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On 10/5/2017 at 4:18 PM, Ty_Webb said:

 

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.

 

This reverts to Iacas' post about how bad and good swings look alike. But there is a discernible difference since one has to consider the result. If no one did, there would be no golf pros, just us chops!

And a 3 degree difference in face angle is pretty extreme. You could have dialed that back to about 1/2 of a degree! That will still have an effect. A half of a degree doesn't sound like much at impact, but when you carry that out to 250-300 yards, the difference is substantial!

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I now drive farther than ever, and still scored terrible. I attribute it to working on my "stupid" game :-D

seriously, my physical game sucked. :-P

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So,  in the other thread I think someone mentioned Gallwey,  I've read two of his books.  I thought inner game of tennis was a groundbreaking work.  Inner game of golf was meh.  I give it about a 5.8 on a 1-10.  Imo the tennis one is the one to read because everything else for Gallwey was an adaptation of his tennis concepts applied in other areas.  You can make more money with many books as opposed to one.  I did find this interview where the topic is coaching.  Many great thoughts here.  

 

Alpha and theta brain waves are associated with the subconscious or  edge of conscious/subconscious or as Gallwey terms it simply self 2.  Some researchers have espoused that the 'zone' involves this type of brain activity.  Ultimately yes absolutely a physical thing measurable by instrumentation.

so let's assume I am wrong and most here are correct in terms of percent.  @mvmac said he gives the mental a 5 percent influence on the strokes taken.

Do some math,  for the touring pro that could be 12 under or even par in a tournament.  That's a lot of money.

 

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5 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Do some math,  for the touring pro that could be 12 under or even par in a tournament.  That's a lot of money.

Lousy math. You can’t shoot zero, so that’s not how percentages work here. Credibility still AWOL.

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