A round of golf takes a long time and you must learn how to focus and deal with distractions on the course. During an 18-hole round of golf, approximately 4 hours, a golfer spends only two to three minutes actually hitting a ball.
During the downtime, you must focus on things that relax you: walking the beach, your favorite song, great shots you have hit before. Don’t focus on distractions.
There is always something you can blame your bad shots and bad rounds on. You cannot block out distractions once you have noticed them. You must learn how to not let them enter your head.
The key is learning how to focus on the shot at hand once you arrive at your ball.
I like to interview my students on the mental side of the game and ask them to list some of the distractions they let bother them on the golf course. Below are some common complaints I hear about. See if any of these have caused your focus to linger.
What you see:
• Grounds maintenance staff moving while you are hitting a shot
• Bad course conditions – the greens have been aerated or the rough is too high
• People who don’t rake the bunkers
• People who don’t sand their divots
• Players moving while you are hitting
• Someone standing behind you in your peripheral vision
What you hear:
• Players talking while you are hitting
• Mowers making noise on the hole you are playing
• Negative people you are playing with
What you feel:
• First tee jitters in front of a group of people
• Playing with slow players who cause you to hurry your shots
• Being rushed by the group of players behind you
• Playing through the group ahead of you causes you to rush your shot
• Being paired with people you don’t know
Once you assess what bothers you on the golf course, you need to come up with a game plan on how to reframe your mindset. Remember you can control only yourself and not others, so you must direct your attention and focus on the shot you are going to play.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com