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Found 11 results

  1. In the other topic (now locked), the question was posed: is golf more mental or more physical. I think it's safe to say that if you throw away the "well, the brain controls everything you do, so it's 100% mental" side of the argument, it's pretty clear that your physical skills affect your score the most: Dustin Johnson on his worst mental day will basically always beat a 20-handicapper having the worst mental game day of his life. Golf, like every other sport, is ultimately a measurement of how well you perform, and the bulk of that performance is physical. Things got contested when we branched out from that original question to begin to discuss how much the mental game plays a role. I'm on record as saying it's pretty small: Dustin Johnson is going to shoot a pretty narrow range of scores if you normalize his physical performance somewhat, 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). So, the purpose of this topic is two-fold: 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). To discuss methods and means of improving your mental game. I'm not a psychologist. I have also always had a pretty good mental game - I enjoy pressure, feel I perform well under it, and have the ability to put golf in its place - it's just a game, and doesn't change at all how much my family loves me, how beautiful a sunset is, or even really how I view myself. I also disagree with Bob Rotella: I can think "don't go in the water to the right" and then not hit it there. I feel he's wrong about your brain not being able to process "do" and "don't" as different (though it may be a matter of semantics: I think "okay, the water right is bad, so miss it left if anything.") So I can't help much with the second part. And I'm on record as saying it's pretty minimal on the first part, as I noted above. If I had to put a number on it, generally speaking, 5% of your performance that day is mental. (And I don't mean as a percentage of strokes, because you can't shoot "0," and the math just doesn't work: a shot you hit slightly fat because you were nervous about the hole location might hit a firm spot in the fairway and bounce up to four feet, while the shot you flush catches a gust of wind you couldn't feel and buries in a bunker.). Individually, of course there are going to be outliers. And, because it's going to be necessary, I'm going to define the mental game as such: Shot selection, game planning, strategy (though this is pretty simple, and even non-golfers can make these decisions), and you can be taught this in 45 minutes and do it almost perfectly for the rest of your life. Ability to focus or "get out of your way." (i.e. some people perform best when they aren't hyper-focused, some do). This can also include visualizing shots, not having too many swing thoughts, etc. Nerves, even though they may manifest as shaking hands, sweaty hands, accelerated heart rates, etc. Things that aren't included: Green reading, feeling the wind, how you're feeling that day, or any of the inputs needed to make a decision. "Desire" to practice or improve the physical components, or anything of this ilk. "The brain controls everything, so it's all mental." The effect swing thoughts have on your swing. I play with one swing thought almost every time I play (at most, two, but never on the same swing) because they lead to a change my physical swing. It's a fine line to draw, but let's try to draw it. Knowledge of the rules of golf or any other tangential, fringe-related things. I reserve the right to add to these lists if someone comes up with something that's pretty clearly not in the mold of what I'm striving to get after here… And yeah, I think that's completely fair. I expect most of the "individual" comments to be about yourself, since none of us can really possibly know what someone else is thinking. Anecdotal, personal evidence is just that, though: a sample size of one, and with a very biased reporter. (This includes me, and maybe I downplay the mental aspect because I have never struggled with it…?) I'm also likely, speaking for my side of things, to hold onto the idea that a lot of the root cause of some mental issues is physical. If you regularly top or thin your 3W, and you face a 218-yard carry over a pond with a quartering wind into you and out of the right, and you proceed to mis-hit your 3W… then the root cause I'd suggest is physical: you don't have the skills to pull that shot off, and so of course you're nervous, anxious, etc. Yes, there's a small component to tricking yourself into being confident, and that can likely slightly improve performance… but you're still gonna hit the ball poorly overall compared to someone who is much better physically. I said in the other topic that people will often lie to themselves, too. I think that quite often, people can have a poor mental game on a shot, but if the shot turns out well, they discard that shot. Only the "bad" ones stick out, and even then, they sometimes place more blame than is actually due on the mental game. Maybe they had the same mental "state" as a previous good shot, but made a slightly different swing and so they blame their mental state in retrospect as a means of protecting their ego (which IMO, for sports, is largely based on the physical). Please: Remember to be clear about whether you're speaking generally or individually. Be civil. This is still just a discussion about a silly sport we all enjoy playing (usually). Attack ideas or opinions all you want. Not people. So long as bullet #2 is still obeyed. Have fun. Update (2018-12-07) - Further updated thoughts here:
  2. "Focus on the process. Once you do the part that you can control, you can't care about the result." I've heard this phrase said a few times lately. The intent is to get you to focus all of your energy on the "stuff you can control" and to give up control over the stuff you can't control - everything that happens after you hit the ball, the play of others in the field, whether your ball gets a good bounce or a bad bounce, whether your 20-footer goes in the hole or lips out… that stuff. The stuff that we control only very indirectly, by setting things in motion. Though I've downplayed the mental game in the past (and will continue to do so), and though there's some truth to this saying… A number of people recently have taken it far too literally, and if that's how they take it, I think this saying is one of the biggest loads of crap. If you don't care about the result, why the hell are you playing? Why ever practice if you don't care about the result? Winning doesn't feel good, and losing doesn't feel bad, if you don't care about the result. You should care about the result. Hell, that's the only thing you really should care about, because if you care about the result that's what makes some of the other things - like the "process" - important to achieving a better result more often. This is a short "Swing Thoughts" post, but an important one. If what you're doing isn't going to affect the result… why are you doing it? Why should you care about it? Maybe you shouldn't. Care about the result. Care intensely about the result. Don't let it define you - how well you play golf says almost nothing about you as a human being, a father, a husband, a woman, or whatever. But within the context of golf… care about the result, and the things that lead to better results more often.
  3. My shoulder isn't 100% and it's going to rain, but f*** it I'm going golfing tomorrow.

    1. nevets88

      nevets88

      Go for it!

  4. Hi everyone Just seing if other people suffer with similar problem as I currently have. Originally coming down from a high handicap had such enjoyment and no worries on the course. Got down to handicap of 8 and have set myself goals for the future. All of a sudden have this expectation to play good golf and getting frustrated as not playing near what I should be playing. look forward to playing all week and my game has gone to crap over last few months and handicap blown out to 14. Taking more time over the shots, really concentrating seems to be having the opposite effect on my game :( My current skill level should be around 6~8 handicap but my mind has got in the way. Without getting a labotomy anyone have any ideas lol?
  5. This topic exists for those of you looking to turn your 76s into 73s because of a mental lapse or two along the way, or for those of you who choke in competitions, or those of you looking to gain just a bit more of the small edge that a great mental game can provide on top of your physical skills. I probably won't have much to contribute to this topic. I feel I play better under pressure. I don't even get too nervous. But, since nobody took this ball and ran with it in the other topic, here's a topic specifically about improving your mental game, so that the 5% or whatever it contributes to your performance is not so often in the negative direction, and can be applied positively. Even if you're an extreme outlier with the yips or something, this topic/discussion is for you.
  6. CarlSpackler

    Mentally Yours

    There is a lot of discussions on here about the impact of the mental game. Opinions range from it being the most important thing about golf to it having no importance whatsoever. Bobby Jones said, “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course... the space between your ears.” Ben Crenshaw said, “I'm about five inches from being an outstanding golfer. That's the distance my left ear is from my right.” The movie Tin Cup is primarily about a psychologist who helps a driving range pro get his head straight to compete in the US Open. He does until he blows up at the end. There are numerous books about the mental game that promise to have you shooting better scores and many people swear by them. All of this seems like compelling evidence that working on your mental game can help you shoot lower scores, but can it? Golf is a strange game. It costs you 2 strokes to advance the ball 350 yards onto a small patch of closely cut grass where it costs you another 2 to advance the ball another 30 feet doing this thing called “putting”. It seems an odd scoring system where a 3’ shot costs the same as a 280 yard shot. There are boundaries and hazards placed throughout the course that can cost you additional strokes, as well as other potential rules infractions like causing your ball to move. It’s quite mind boggling and takes near perfection to regularly score par. Even a novice player can occasionally attain a score of par which undoubtedly will plant a seed in their mind that they are getting better at the game, but reality often sinks in very soon. Aside from playing the game of golf, you have practice sessions where you learn how to swing the club and hit the ball. There are different clubs with varying lofts and shaft lengths designed to make the ball go higher or lower and different lengths. Then you have a flat putter that is designed to make the ball roll across the ground on the green and into the hole. It’s possible that the ball will go into the hole from off the green, but that is a rare occurrence even for the most accomplished players. Conventional wisdom has taught us that putting is the most important skill to scoring since you use your putter on a majority of shots assuming that you reach the green in regulation. Harvey Penick used to say that the driver was the most important club because a good drive builds confidence. I tend to think that they are all important, but there is a lot of conflicting information out there. Given that playing golf is a physical activity of swinging a club whether it’s a driver, wedge, or putter, how could anyone possibly think that your mind plays a significant role in moving the ball? Unless someone is telekinetic, their mind does nothing to move the ball, and the game is all about moving the ball closer to the hole. I played with a guy a month or so ago who kept saying out loud, “You suck!” before almost every shot. Dr. Bob Rotella is a proponent of the mental game who insists that playing with confidence is key to scoring to the best of your physical ability. Although that guy’s assessment of his swing was correct, he certainly wasn’t doing himself any favors with the constant reminders. The bottom line is that a bad swing full of compensations will produce inconsistent results, and no level of confidence will improve your swing. That takes education, preferably by a good instructor and dedicated practice. So again, why is the “mental game” such a big topic in golf? I have read several books on managing the mental game. Even Dr. Rotella says that a player cannot become a winner simply by changing their thinking. Here is the way I look at this subject. Your physical ability to swing a club sets your potential score. Having a solid mental game cannot improve your potential, but it can help you shoot closer to it on a more consistent basis. One of the main benefits of a sound mental game is the reduction of tension. If I am not hitting the ball well, it is usually because I am tensed up for some reason. There are all sorts of things that can create tension whether it’s dealing with tough situations in life or perhaps a stressful situation on the course like hitting into an island green. Learning how to control your emotions on the course will not guarantee that you hit that green, but it will help you hit it more often. It will also help you deal with the situation better if you fail. How many times have you seen someone miss a tough shot like this and throw a tantrum? All too often I’m afraid. One of the key aspects of a sound mental game is focusing on the shot at hand and not the result. Whether you are facing a bogey or a birdie putt, each stroke counts as one. My best scores have happened when I played in a calm state where I didn’t have a care in the world. If only I could bottle that and sell it.
  7. Alright guys, I'm sure this question has been asked before and I apologize if it has. The famous saying "best range player in the club" is the name of my game. On the range I'm a +3 handicap. In reality I'm an 8.4 and trending higher bc of this big problem. I can't bring my range swing to the course. Im going through a swing change to get rid of the over the top pull and I can exicute it perfect on the range (this has been going on for about 3 months). As soon as I get to the course I go back to that over the top swing that I'm oh so terribly comfortable with. I'm not looking for tips on my swing but some mental tips so I can transfer that swing to the course. I usually have about 2 swing thoughts when I play, usually a backswing and a downswing thought. It seems like the harder I try the worse it gets (I shot 93 today) and I'm on the verge of taking a hiatus from the game for a while. I appreciate any advice or wisdom that can be shared. Thanks Tommy
  8. I need some mental coaching...OK, OK...my friends would say "So what's new?" Here's my issue. My practice swing is full, smooth, and gives a powerful swoosh. Put a ball in front of me and my full swing turns into a short, quick, jerky movement. Over the past two years I have lost about 30 yards on my drives. My greens in regulation on par 4's are about zip. If it wasn't for the fact that I have a solid short game, I couldn't break 90 whereas before I was knocking on 80 regularly. It only effects my driver and fairway woods swing. My research says that I have a 'hit impulse' not 'full swing yips' as in Charles Barkley yips. I still shoot mid-80s but it is frustrating to give up so much distance off the tee. I have tried dropping my practice swing to reduce thinking too much (too many mechanical swing thoughts) and just taking aim and swinging. I have tried humming while swinging through the ball. Now I realize I need some mental coaching to get past this. Just hitting balls on the range doesn't work well but my swing on the range is better than on the course. Yes, I know, added pressure and that is the next part. Put a hazard, lake, trap or long carry in the mix and I am hooped. I might as well just throw the ball in the hazard and move to the drop zone. If you have any tips or know of some mental exercises that might work...I am willing to try. I have looked at the work of Dr. Patrick Cohn and David McKenzie but haven't taken that step yet as their programs are expensive. Maybe later.
  9. If you put his mind into the body of a golfer who can't break 100? First try, golfer gets a warm up bucket before the round. Let's say the golfer typically shoots between 105-110, hits 1 green in regulation every couple of rounds, can hit his driver 190 yards off the tee and doesn't have any physical issues or disabilities (other than a bad golf swing). Jack's brain doesn't transfer Jack's swing to the hacker's body. So the question basically comes down to: what would Jack shoot if he only hit it 190 off the tee, missed every green, hit a few OB, hit plenty of fat and thin shots. Inspired by this post from @iacas
  10. I voted yes because there are players that perform better "under the gun" than others, some guys can even elevate their games. With my own game, I've certainly failed under pressure at times but my best shots and rounds have all come in tournaments/competition. For me getting a little nervous helps me focus. Not saying I can always tap into it but I also remember hitting some good shots, making some short putts when I "had to" get it done. We've all heard Jack and Tiger talk about enjoying pressure and feeding off it. I'm sure there are also pros that get very uncomfortable when they're in the hunt. What do you think? Are you a clutch player? http://www.golfdigest.com/story/is-there-such-a-thing-as-clutch
  11. Some players know exactly what they are shooting while they are playing. Some players have no idea how they are scoring. Where do you fall in? Do you choose to know what you are shooting as you are playing and why? Yes/No: I generally always know where I stand during the round. I don't make a point to know, but I do. On Purpose: No Why: I think it's because I pay attention to my round in sets of 3 holes. I try to limit my score to 1 bogey every three holes. After nine, I just know what I shot because I know how I did on my sets. Even when I try not to know and I'm not paying attention- I still almost always know what I'm shooting.
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