I want you to make a few lists in answer to the prompts below. The items following are some of the responses my students have given me.
• List things that bother you on the golf course.
Bunkers not raked
Cart path only
People moving and talking when I am trying to swing.
• Make a list of things you can control on the course.
What I am thinking
My level of focus
My pre-shot routine
My post-shot reactions
• Make a list of things you cannot control on the course.
Where the ball ends up after I hit it
• Make a list of negative thoughts you have said to yourself on the golf course
I am scared to tee off in front of people I don’t know
I am tired of three-putting
I am tired of being in the bunker
I hate this hole
What a terrible pin position on this hole
Listed below are some words of wisdom by Bob Rotella, a noted golf psychologist, that can help you with your mental game.
• Golfers are endowed with free will. You can control your own thoughts. You can choose to think confidently.
• Never use the word “don’t” prior to hitting a shot. Your brain doesn’t understand “don’t.” If your last thought is “don’t hit it in the water,” the brain will think “water.”
• Nearly all golfers would be better off if they forgot about the score as they played.
• A golfer performs best when he focuses on a target and not how to execute the movement.
• Pick the smallest possible target when aiming.
• You must forget what happened previously in the round. The only shot that counts is the next.
• Re-discover the pleasures of the game – the smell of grass, the camaraderie of playing with friends.
I really believe that the mental part of the game is at least 50% once you have played golf for a couple of years. The suggestions above can help all levels of golfers.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com