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4 minutes ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

Overrated. Not even close. 

You dont shoot 100+ because your mental game is weak, you shoot 100+ because your physical skills are lacking.

People place way too much emphasis on the mental game.

Any PGA tour player could have his worst mental day of his entire life while I have my best mental day of my entire life and he would still beat me every single time

The mental game just isn't that important to the majority of golfers, PGA tour players included. 

There's a reason less and less PGA tour players are using mental coaches today

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15 minutes ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

Generally speaking it is Overrated by a lot. People don't want to attribute the wide range of results from a bad golf swing as something that is with in the norm of their playing ability. They rather blame it on a poor mental game like being mentally stronger will suddenly make them a scratch golfer. They rather look at a small samples size, like shooting a few over par for 9 holes, and claim that this should be the norm. In the end, they will continue to have a wide range of results (good or bad compared to their average) because their physical ability to deliver the club consistently well is bad. No manner of mental training will help them achieve a higher level of golf. They could become the Buddha himself and not significantly improve their golf game.

 

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

 

 

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

Remember, it's generally speaking, not for you or any one individual golfer.

Overrated. People use it as a crutch when they play poorly. But the reality is their success is based on their physical ability to make good contact with a good swing. We all have bad days and like to blame it on the brain, but our good days may just be a bit lucky too. 

Sometimes I feel I could focus more. But that is also something that I can practice to improve. 

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56 minutes ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

OVERRATED! I used to think the mental game was so important. I read Fearless Golf by Dr. Gio Valiente, while some of the stuff was valuable I didn't come away with much that was going to help me improve as a player. The most mentally strong person on the planet will not break 100 if they don't have the swing to do so. Golf, like other sports, is a physical game. No amount of mental prowess will allow me to hit it any straighter or farther.

Overcoming nervousness would be the one area where the mental game comes into play, but I  believe physical practice is the best way to overcome the issues that come with nerves. A repeatable swing will hold up under nerves, I don't think I need a psychiatrist to help me overcome the butterflies. 

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

In my opinion this one is totally over-rated. Especially by average Joe golfer. I’d like to give 2 examples to illustrate my point. First Tiger Woods misses a putt on the 18th hole at the Valspar Inv this year. It would have gotten him into a playoff. I’m watching this with a bunch of golfers who all started shouting “OH, He choked!” and similar things. I’m like “What? He missed a 35-foot putt by 10 inches. That’s not a choke.” But they weren’t having it. “Nope, he choked.”

 

Which is not to say sometimes the mental game isn’t important. Just not as often as people claim. Here’s my other example. Lorena Ochoa hooked her 3 wood into the water on her first ever LPGA play-off hole vs Anika Sorenstam in the 2005 Safeway Int. Anika went on to make a birdie, Lorena scrambled to make par. Afterward, Lorena talked about how the pressure got to her and she got tense and hooked her 3 wood into the water. So, I guess sometimes the mental game is important.


Having said that I think Lorena was hard on herself. She still had enough skill to par the hole after nocking her tee-shot into the drink. Just because Anika made a birdie she took second.  


So yeah, there’s a mental component to the game, but it’s nowhere as big as people seem to make it out to be.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

Generally overrated. And typically overused. Mercilessly.

But to be fair to believers, lot of high profile golfers of yester-years (and few of today) have perpetuated the belief. Also, I suspect lot of game planning/management 'fell' under mental game from their perspective. For example 'play within yourself' was (and is) always a good advise and sort of fell under mental aspect but today we know this falls under at least in great part knowing ones shot zones and playing to it. 

If I were to really be pressed for it, my mental game action list boils to two things:

- be consistent with swing thoughts throughout the round (I tend to drift away as round goes on).

- It's ok to be nervous. If you care enough you will be.  

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

Overrated.  That's why people recommend lessons, not a shrink.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

Massively over-rated. Over 50% think that there are 2+ shots different between a guy who shoots 70 and a guy who shoots 80 purely attributable to the mental game. Hell no! And one out of five of you think that half (or more!) of the shots separating those two guys are directly attributable to the "mental game."

Double hell no!

This myth does more to screw with golfers than a lot of others. It's a convenient excuse, and golfers are always looking for something to retroactively blame for a shot. Yet they often won't recognize that they will hit a good shot after a poor mental process, and a bad shot after a good mental process. They also don't seem to understand that, mentally, not much is different from the 80s guy to the 70s guy. The latter guy just hits the ball a bit more solidly, has a tighter pattern, hits it a bit farther, has a better short game, putts better, and gets the ball closer to the hole with every club in the bag. That's where the vast, vast majority of those 10 shots come from.

P.S. At the time of the post, the poll has about a day left, but votes are:

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

Remember, it's generally speaking, not for you or any one individual golfer.

Vastly, VASTLY overrated. 

You hear all to often a golfer saying that if they just had a better mental game they'd be breaking 90/80/70. Then you watch them play golf and they may start out strong but then flub a pitch shot short of the green or slice a tee shot into a hazard. Or they may start out poorly and play strong for the rest of the round. This inconsistency in the level of their performance is not due to a "bad/inconsistent mental game", but due to an inconsistent golf swing. 

The most important part of the mental game is planning your way around the course (which was discussed pretty heavily for par 5's with the last topic), and once you've done that the rest of the game of golf is a matter of how good/consistent your swing and fundamentals are. If you start shaking like a leaf when you're 2 strokes under your goal score with 3 holes to play that is a sign you're letting your nerves get the better of you, but if that's not the case then the culprit is your swing and fundamentals rather than your mental game.

A mid-handicap golfer (15ish) can usually stand to gain several strokes per round based on better course management, but there will be no noticeable effect from them beefing up their "mental game" under pressure. Solid fundamentals and a repeatable swing will, however, help them and magically their mental game will seemingly improve because there aren't the same flaws in their swing and fundamentals that can rear their ugly heads at inopportune moments.

TLDR: If you're capable of handling a stressful situation at work or in your personal life, your mental game is just fine. You're just convinced it's your mental game because the flaws in your swing and fundamentals caused a mistake at an inopportune time.

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I vote overrated too. I used to worry a lot about "consistency", but I've come around. A bad golf swing needs complex timing to work. So it's nearly impossible to ever be "consistent" with a bad swing. I see that now. 

 

Edited by Kalnoky

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

I'm in the vastly overrated corner as well.

I have a bad Mental Game so I practice making mental decisions at 50% speed until I can get it right. 😀 

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

 

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

Underrated and overrated

Generally speaken is a bit difficult. Its overrated for the top pro’s. They are allways under pressure, they learned to cope. Its also overrated for average players who play 3 times a week in their little social members competition. They just play their cozy matches with gimmies and all. Little pressure, mental game not an issue.

But the guy that needs a bogey on the last hole to brake 90/80 for the first time in his life? The 10 handicapper that needs to make par from 110 yards in to an island green to halve the hole in a tight match? The guy that plays in a real strokeplay event for the first time in his life? For them the mental game is underrated. 

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50 minutes ago, Kalnoky said:

I vote overrated too. I used to worry a lot about "consistency", but I've come around. A bad golf swing needs complex timing to work. So it's nearly impossible to ever be "consistent" with a bad swing. I see that now. 

Please follow the rules and quote the topic.

19 minutes ago, MacDutch said:

But the guy that needs a bogey on the last hole to brake 90/80 for the first time in his life? The 10 handicapper that needs to make par from 110 yards in to an island green to halve the hole in a tight match? The guy that plays in a real strokeplay event for the first time in his life? For them the mental game is underrated. 

I disagree there too.

And that’s one tiny use case.

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

 

 

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

 

Way underrated. I've seen too many guys hit a bad shot on a 4 and turn a 5 into an 8 with a bad decision. Physical ability can only overcome a poor choice so many times.

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36 minutes ago, MacDutch said:

But the guy that needs a bogey on the last hole to brake 90/80 for the first time in his life? The 10 handicapper that needs to make par from 110 yards in to an island green to halve the hole in a tight match? The guy that plays in a real strokeplay event for the first time in his life? For them the mental game is underrated. 

The 10 handicapper that needs to make par on the island green would be MUCH better served by having a fundamentally solid swing. If he had the swing of the average tour pro he'd be hitting that green 76% of the time regardless of the lie, and would have a par 3 average score of 3.07 (lower on an "easy" par 3 as short as that one is - even on the 17th at Sawgrass the average score is 3.05 and pros hit the green 84% of the time off the tee: https://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/tpc-sawgrass-17th-hole-statistical-breakdown).

That 10 handicapper does not, however, have the swing of a PGA Tour pro and is far more likely to miss the green. If they miss the green it's not because they choked, it's because they have a poor swing (by comparison to a tour pro). No amount of thinking or mental fortitude will increase your chances of your ball moving from the teebox onto the green, the only thing that can do that is your golf swing. If your golf swing isn't repeatable it's not helpful to blame the bad shots on your "mental game" instead of realizing that the swing itself isn't repeatable.

Funny enough, first tee jitters (or pressure situations) hardly affect you at all if you have a solid and repeatable golf swing. Even for tour pros, for every time someone chokes under pressure and hits a bad shot that they blame on their mental game there are dozens of untelevised and equally bad shots from other pros throughout the week. That 10 handicapper saying he dunked the tee shot on the island green because of the mental game is laughable, because if you stuck him out there and had him hit 100 golf balls he'd probably dunk half of them without any pressure at all: http://www.thegrint.com/range/2013/03/golf-tips-gir/ (10-15 handicap golfers only hit 27% of all greens in regulation, so we can be generous and say this 10 handicapper is twice as likely to hit the island green because it's a wedge shot and off the tee).

 

 

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Underrated -  using a broad definition of mental game to include Course Management, Shot Selection, and Attitude/Concentration.  Of course the amount of impact it has varies greatly by handicap - Might be 5-10 strokes for a high handicapper and much less for a scratch player.  Of course, there's a story about Tom Kite playing with top college golfers and pointing out to them losing concentration for a stroke a round means 4 strokes a tournament and in the tour world that's the difference between making it or not making it.

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Amateur level overrated

pro level, including top level college players underrated. 

 

Amateurs are way behind skill wise so of course the mental toughness/ focus isn’t that big of a factor, hell most of us talk or have music going during our shots, or can hold a business conversation while playing. A pro hears the smallest sound or sees a little movement and has to step back and refocus. There are numerous examples in different sports where mentally the top level athlete checked out or had a mental block and couldn’t perform.  I can think of 4 number 1 ranked golfers right now that had a mental block that they had to overcome and a couple never overcame it. Plus baseball players, UFC fighters. It’s not just course management or making the right shot decision it’s being able to calm your nerves and deal with the adrenaline. Ive seen two professional athletes struggle to literally place a ball on a tee in a long drive competition in mesquite due to nerves. To say the mental game is overrated is just not accurate.  

Edited by CaseyD

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20 minutes ago, CaseyD said:

pro level, including top level college players underrated. 

I disagree. It still over-rated. It's used as a crutch to try to explain why a golfer fails. Everyone expects PGA tour players to be perfect, but their mistakes are still with in their ability range. It isn't due to mental errors. A PGA Tour player shanks a ball is not a mental error. 

24 minutes ago, CaseyD said:

There are numerous examples in different sports where mentally the top level athlete checked out or had a mental block and couldn’t perform.

Those are few and far between. Do a a few number of players fall off the map, sure. Heck, it could be they physically could only excel at a high level for a short period of time. 

25 minutes ago, CaseyD said:

Ive seen two professional athletes struggle to literally place a ball on a tee in a long drive competition in mesquite due to nerves. To say the mental game is overrated is just not accurate.  

I have never seen that on the PGA Tour. How many Long Drive competitors have there been? Just saying, the thing you are viewing is extremely rare. 

 

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