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Overrated/Underrated (Golf) Topic

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That’s fine we can disagree no hard feelings    Just keep this in mind, there is a reason that pretty much every major college offers sports psychology.  And lots of major athletes in lots of sports pay lots of money for sessions with them.  And I don’t think many amateurs are standing in line for an appointment  

 

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@gbogey, @CaseyD, please follow the rules and quote the topic before replying.

1 hour 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

There aren't, and those guys are outliers. Steve Blass was decades ago, for example. Chuck Knoblauch.

1 hour ago, CaseyD said:

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.

Which they've learned to do at about the same rate as everyone else, and which is not all that hard to do. People everywhere have to learn to deal with those things. Surgeons. Teachers. Electrical line workers. Lawyers. Mothers and fathers. Those things aren't unique to sports, and again, they're not a big point of separation between players at the PGA Tour level.

1 hour ago, CaseyD said:

To say the mental game is overrated is just not accurate.  

The mental game is vastly over-rated. Did you see the results of my Twitter poll? 5+ shots from 20% of the people? 2-5+ for about 50%?

Over-rated.

2 hours ago, gbogey said:

Underrated -  using a broad definition of mental game to include Course Management, Shot Selection, and Attitude/Concentration.

Nah.

Again, if I drag Dustin Johnson out of bed, hung over (assume he drinks), and he's pissed off and angry, and I give him a random 7-iron and point him toward a hole 190 yards away and tell him he has five seconds to hit a shot or I will murder Paulina and best buddy Brooks, he's gonna hit a better shot than you 99 times out of 100.

9 minutes ago, CaseyD said:

That’s fine we can disagree no hard feelings    Just keep this in mind, there is a reason that pretty much every major college offers sports psychology.  And lots of major athletes in lots of sports pay lots of money for sessions with them.  And I don’t think many amateurs are standing in line for an appointment

Actually, virtually none of the top players in the world these days use sports psychologists, and many that do use them for life stuff, like how to deal with travel and being away from their families and stuff.

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9 minutes ago, CaseyD said:

Just keep this in mind, there is a reason that pretty much every major college offers sports psychology. \

To scam athletes out of money. 

 

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20 minutes ago, iacas said:

Actually, virtually none of the top players in the world these days use sports psychologists, and many that do use them for life stuff, like how to deal with travel and being away from their families and stuff.

Yeah, I can't think of a single school that actually has a sports psychologist. All large colleges have general purpose psychologists and some have psychiatrists, but that's more because they're trying to keep suicide numbers down (you wouldn't believe how packed those places get around midterms and finals, it's line-out-the-door insane and the only reason I noticed them in the first place).

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I'm going to say generally underrated, but not as much as some might think. And how does one define the mental game? Some get into the "woogie, woogie" mysticism of stuff like Golf in the Kingdom, which is an entertaining read, but won't do much for your golf game. Others define it differently, like "thinking your way around the course", strategizing and planning how you will play the round. 

I would define it with elements of both. For instance, when I think about how much time and money I spent to get better at it when I was finally "taken up" by the game, where did that impetus come from? It came from my mind! To become proficient at the game requires physical skills. You must learn and practice these religiously. Where did my urge to do this come from? It came from my mind! 

And once I acquired the physical skills to send the ball where I wanted it to go, my mind revealed just how flexible it is. When playing to post a score, I would enter what I've described before as kind of a "mindless" state. I realize now, that what I was attempting to do was refer to an intense state of concentration. When playing, nothing existed but myself, my clubs, the ball, and the course. Kind of like the old Scots axiom of the proper mindset to play. "Look at nae mare ground in front of ye than will cover yer grave!" 

To play this game well you really have to want it! The "wanting it" comes from your mind! 

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1 minute ago, Buckeyebowman said:

To play this game well you really have to want it! The "wanting it" comes from your mind! 

Thats not true. Like @iacas mentioned previously, you could pull a half asleep, hungover PGA tour player out of bed and they would still be able to play the game well, even though in that moment, they didnt "want it."

Their physical skills would take over and they could still perform well even though mentally they wouldnt want to be out there.

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8 minutes ago, Buckeyebowman said:

I would define it with elements of both. For instance, when I think about how much time and money I spent to get better at it when I was finally "taken up" by the game, where did that impetus come from? It came from my mind! To become proficient at the game requires physical skills. You must learn and practice these religiously. Where did my urge to do this come from? It came from my mind! 

All the mental fortitude in the world will not make the up the difference between someone who is gifted at golf versus someone who is not.

No matter how hard I train, how much more mentally strong I am than Usain Bolt, I will never beat him in the 100m race. 

I feel your way of thinking about is a cop-out just to give some credence to the mental aspect. 

11 minutes ago, Buckeyebowman said:

To play this game well you really have to want it! The "wanting it" comes from your mind! 

I could play a round where I don't care and post a better score versus when I am really trying. I have half assed shot a low 70 score before and then grinded out a low 80. I have focused just as hard when shooting a low 80 and shot under par before. It isn't the mental game. 

Since there is no consistency in defining mental game or its actual benefit, then there isn't much correlation to shooting good scores with regards to the mental game. 

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21 hours ago, iacas said:

 

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

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

A strong mental game wont help 8 index player beat a scratch player using gross scores, and certainly a “hungover PGA player” can hit better shots than you or I.  In that example, overrated. 

However, put that same 8 index with a strong mental game against the scratch in a net event - and I think the mental element certainly matters and cannot be overlooked. In this example, not overrated.

Third example; Four golfers of equal skills, but one with strong mental element. In that situation, if you dont bet on him, its being underrated. 

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2 hours ago, Buckeyebowman said:

And once I acquired the physical skills to send the ball where I wanted it to go, my mind revealed just how flexible it is. When playing to post a score, I would enter what I've described before as kind of a "mindless" state. I realize now, that what I was attempting to do was refer to an intense state of concentration. When playing, nothing existed but myself, my clubs, the ball, and the course. Kind of like the old Scots axiom of the proper mindset to play. "Look at nae mare ground in front of ye than will cover yer grave!" 

To play this game well you really have to want it! The "wanting it" comes from your mind! 

That's very poetic, but unfortunately it doesn't quite work out that way. Best round of golf I ever played in high school happened the morning after prom in the 2nd of a two day tournament when I only had about 3 hours of sleep and was in overall rough shape. The only thing I really wanted that day was to lay in bed for another 5 or 6 hours, and I was literally falling asleep on the par 5 tee boxes when we would be waiting on the groups ahead of us to go for the green. There's no question my "mental game" was in absolute shambles and yet it was the first time I ever broke 70 in a tournament round.

30 minutes ago, BushwoodCC said:

Third example; Four golfers of equal skills, but one with strong mental element. In that situation, if you dont bet on him, its being underrated. 

If you don't bet on him it's no different than betting on any of the other golfers. They have the same skills and handicap for a reason: it's because they play golf to the same level regardless of what is or isn't in their heads. Mental fortitude, so long as you're got enough to avoid having a panic attack/other physical reaction such as shaking and vomiting, has little to no effect on the final score.

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7 hours ago, BushwoodCC said:

A strong mental game wont help 8 index player beat a scratch player using gross scores, and certainly a “hungover PGA player” can hit better shots than you or I.  In that example, overrated. 

However, put that same 8 index with a strong mental game against the scratch in a net event - and I think the mental element certainly matters and cannot be overlooked. In this example, not overrated.

Third example; Four golfers of equal skills, but one with strong mental element. In that situation, if you dont bet on him, its being underrated. 

How are you defining "strong mental element'? Are we defining mental game differently? I see 'mental game' as players letting game situation/nerves get the better of them. Most if not all gifted athletes say the same thing, that they are nervous until the start of the event, then training takes over. This is the same with me in golf or bike racing or rugby or any sport I have played. Once I hit the first driver off the tee, I relax.

If the scratch and 8 play on equal footing in a net event, the HC system equalizes the scoring. This is why it was invented. But the scratch player should win a bit more often because of their ability to hit the ball far and hit greens and minimize costly mistakes. We can't just use a one-up example. It has to be a lot of data.

It is overrated and players use it as an excuse I feel.

Off topic:

Every time I see your user name I think of Judge Smales saying "b-b-b-buy Bushwood!?, and it make me chuckle.:-)

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8 hours ago, BushwoodCC said:

Third example; Four golfers of equal skills, but one with strong mental element. In that situation, if you dont bet on him, its being underrated. 

What if the guy with the strong mental game just feels off that day of the match?

Again, you can be strong mentally, that doesn't mean that you will always win the match. Golfers of the same ability will shoot close to the same scores because of their golfing ability. A strong mental game wouldn't suddenly make that guy shoot better that day.

 

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8 hours ago, BushwoodCC said:

A strong mental game wont help 8 index player beat a scratch player using gross scores, and certainly a “hungover PGA player” can hit better shots than you or I.  In that example, overrated.

You start off so well, there…

8 hours ago, BushwoodCC said:

However, put that same 8 index with a strong mental game against the scratch in a net event - and I think the mental element certainly matters and cannot be overlooked. In this example, not overrated.

That doesn't make any sense, and statistically, the 8 index loses more often than he wins. To go any smaller than that is to reduce your sample size to a one-off level, and that's pointless. The whole point of the handicap system is to make the matches almost even, 50/50. Yet partly because of the 0.96 "bonus for excellence," the 8 still loses most of the time.

8 hours ago, BushwoodCC said:

Third example; Four golfers of equal skills, but one with strong mental element. In that situation, if you dont bet on him, its being underrated. 

If they have equal skills, they have equal skills, and over time they'll all win about 25% of the time. The scores they shoot include the "mental element," however small.

Again, related to average golfers:

  • People like to make excuses. If you have the same mental process as two shots ago when you hit a good shot, but you hit a bad one, you'll often blame "your mental game."
  • People love to look for or find "patterns." This feeds into the first thing quite a bit. People are bad at understanding a bit of randomness.
  • People overlook the great or good shots they hit after a poor "mental process." It happens. Even when they recognize them, it's more of a "got away with that one," not a full-scale blame session. Blame weighs heavier than relief.

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21 hours ago, iacas said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

 

Depends what is meant by mental game, if it's decision making/game planning I'd say underrated. If it's "focus" I'd say vastly overrated.

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2 minutes ago, JxQx said:

Depends what is meant by mental game, if it's decision making/game planning I'd say underrated. If it's "focus" I'd say vastly overrated.

I don't include GamePlanning, no.

That's the kind of stuff you can literally script. I can teach someone GamePlanning in 45 minutes and they can basically be nearly perfect at it the rest of their lives. A caddie can do it for their player, and the player can completely outsource GamePlanning if they want. There's not emotion or pressure or nerves, really, in GamePlanning.

If you continue (not you, general "you") down the road of calling even basic, emotion-less decisions "mental game" then you're going down a road where whether you eat a banana or a peanut butter sandwich is "mental game" and whether that affected your play. That too is a somewhat emotionless, basic decision you're making while on the golf course.

Yes occasionally a player can "choke" and make a horrible GamePlanning decision, and that would be mental game in my book, fueled by emotions… but 99.99% of the GamePlanning anyone does is pretty uneventful, boring stuff. It's just that the decisions an 18 makes don't often result in the shot they've planned as often as the scratch golfer.

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7 minutes ago, JxQx said:

Underrated or Overrated #2 - The Mental Game

Overrated.

Simply put. If you can't do it physically the rest of it doesn't matter.

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I may be wrong here, but I think a lot of folks are missing the point of the over-rated, under-rated thing. 

I don't think anyone is saying there is NO mental component to playing golf. There has to be some. But golf, like any other sports, is going to be settled in the vast majority of cases, by who has the most talent and who has developed said talent the best through practice/training/what ever. 

But there is no way... NO WAY golf could possibly be as much of mental game as the masses try to make it out to be. I've heard things like "Golf is all in your head", "Golf is 90% mental", etc.... Come on it HAS to be over-rated if for no other reason than it is impossible to be as much of mental game as so many people seem to want to make it. 

For what ever reason if a golfer misses a putt "Oh, he choked". Or if a golfer hits one in the water "If I could only get out of my own way." You don't hear that in any other sports. If Seph Curry misses a 3-pointer, nobody says "Oh, he choked" or "If he could only get out of his own way." No he misses somewhere around half the 3-pointers he shoots. But if a golfer misses half of his 8 foot putts, when he misses one there's always somebody to say "Oh, he choked." 

To me it's just crazy. Sure there's some mental component to playing golf. Just like there is a mental component to playing any other sport. But in my humble opinion, it is impossible for the mental game to as important as people make it out to be. So, therefor it HAS to be over-rated. 

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6 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

But there is no way... NO WAY golf could possibly be as much of mental game as the masses try to make it out to be.

Yep.

Again:

NO WAY it's 2+ let alone 5+. Yet those categories have roughly 1/4 of the votes each. 50% of the people think that of a ten-shot difference between two classes of players, 2+ come from the mental game.

NO WAY, as you said.

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5 minutes ago, iacas said:

Yep.

Again:

NO WAY it's 2+ let alone 5+. Yet those categories have roughly 1/4 of the votes each. 50% of the people think that of a ten-shot difference between two classes of players, 2+ come from the mental game.

NO WAY, as you said.

I think it has to be less than a shot. A 70's golfer is simply better than an 80's golfer. The only way I could possibly see it being more is if you were to say a 70's golfer used his/her brain to build a better practice schedule/training regimen etc... But you and I both know that isn't what you mean by mental game. 

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