When you are playing well, golf seems so easy and carefree. Your swing effortlessly, your head is free from doubts when you are standing over a shot and there is little if any thought placed on technique. You are simply watching the ball and trusting your swing.
It is a different matter all together when you are out of form or out of touch. You start thinking about where you do not want the ball to go. Shots don’t seem to head where you intended them to go. Good shots go straight into bunkers or take bad bounces. You begin to think that your clubface is coming down at the wrong angle. Can I change my grip? Do I change my ‘Pre-Shot routine’? ‘Shut up, brain!!!’
I’m sure every golfer at some point has felt like that. Maybe a bit of time away from the game would help you to find your scoring form. Maybe reducing the expectations on your game could help.
Let me share some mind-set tools that can help golfers at all levels get out of a slump. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a keen amateur, these tips can really help you.
- Assess your goals
- Visualise Success
- Check your attitude
- Know your ‘trust’ shot
- Model Success
Assess your goals
This is a really important step to getting back into form. It might be time to take a step back from your game and look at how you view your performances. Review your goals for the season and if you do not have any goals set, look at want you want to achieve. Make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Related. The way you perceive your goals, controls how much your progress. If your goals are too unrealistic and too high, you may feel that your progress is not good enough. Check your goals.
Visualisation has been used by many top golfers for decades. There has been a large movement in the personal development field, but many agree that visualising positive episodes will help attract success into your life. It is also believed that your mind becomes more adept at registering situations that may lead to a favorable offering, relationships or unique opportunities.
Our thoughts can become things and to visualise positive outcomes over negative outcomes, is a more powerful way to help you as a golfer achieve the goals ambitions you have set yourself.
To practice visualisation you must make sure that you’re in a relaxed comfortable position and that there will be little in the way of distractions. To achieve any degree of competency in using visualisation techniques it requires practice and this practice has a far greater chance of working when the individual is relaxed.
Check your Attitude
What is the right attitude?
The right attitude takes place well before you enter the gates of the golf course. It starts by the preparation you do prior to the round. The night before. Travelling to the course. A good attitude will see you work hard on the practice fairway and greens and take on advice from qualified coaches.
Top golfers display high levels of concentration when they are going into the ‘shot’ and many high performing golfers use visualisation to create an image of how they going to play each hole and in turn, each shot.
Just like the earlier point on visualisation, you can use your imagination to play the game out in your mind but also imagine yourself assessing and playing the game with the right attitude.
Right attitude means you approach the game in a method that is going to give you the best chance of success. You take each shot as it comes and do not moan about bad luck or bad breaks. You appreciate the game of golf for what it is, a challenge.
Know your ‘trust’ shot
Here is a simple exercise which incorporates visualisation and will help you hit more fairways and greens.
Eyes Closed Technique
Read through the exercise first to become familiar with it.
Get really relaxed and comfortable and allow your eyes to close. Take some time to relax every muscle in your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. After relaxing your muscles, count backwards from ten down to one.
When you are fully relaxed and comfortable begin to visualise the following:
- You are sat in your own personal cinema and you can see a movie played out of you playing a hole in your mind
- Float into the movie now and see what you are seeing, hear what you hearing and feel how confident you feel
- Imagine arriving at the tee
- Feel your body place the tee into the ground and the ball on top
- Grab a club from your bag
- Take a look down the fairway and notice the different colours associated with it
- Visualise the ball setting off down towards the intended target
- Hear the ‘good shots’ from your playing partners
- Notice how easy this shot was for you
- Turn the head of the club to face you and notice what club it is. This is your trust club
- Take some time to enjoy playing in your own personal movie and wiggle your toes and fingers and open your eyes when you are ready. This is a round of golf where you believe that you can make a great score. If you could go into this game knowing you could not fail, how would this influence the following thoughts, feelings and self talk?
This exercise takes practice and before you know it, you will find the club or clubs to help you hit more fairways and greens.
Ask any young golfer around the world in whatever setting they are playing in; you are bound to find that each and every one approaches their turn to play golf like their hero.
You too can take on the persona of one of the ‘greats’, a player you admire and respect. The style of this hero is your preferred style and you should hopefully get the opportunity to watch your hero in action either by watching the live television coverage or if you are really lucky, watching them live.
We are very fortunate nowadays to have fantastic golf coverage available. Depending on what your swing type is you can model almost anyone if you are able to record and study them. It is likely that your ‘model’ experienced times in their career where they were struggling.
The five steps may not help you in a technical way but we know that much of the game is played within our mind. Work hard and discipline yourself to work on the tips you’ve just read.