Pixabay: by 3dman_eu
We can’t always choose our playing partners when we’re playing in any sort of competitive golf, whether that be your junior stableford, club monthly medal, county championships or at a higher level.
Playing with the same fourball every Saturday morning can start to lose its attraction after a while, no matter how friendly your mates are and it’s always good to play with others and against others in the game.
I’ve played with some, how shall we say, less than friendly sorts over the years including one guy that didn’t even bother to turn up because he wasn’t sure who he was playing with!
Nothing personal I’m sure, just some seemed to lack a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’ as they would say in France. But that can happen in any walk of life.
And to be honest, it can be challenging playing the game with someone who is miserable. The game is a social game after all, so who wants to spend their leisure time with someone who is going to drain your energy?
But that’s exactly what many golfers do each week. They play with the most demanding, difficult, at times miserable and downright rude person you can imagine.
The guy who mocks you when you miss that short putt to go one ahead or tells you how useless you are or tells everyone “What an idiot” you are. You know he’s going to turn at some point, you’re just not sure when.
Who would want to play with someone like that?
The thing is many do. Every week.
That guy is themselves.
We don’t always see it that way when we do it to ourselves, but when we think of it another way, it doesn’t look too good does it?
So why not play with your best friend, your best buddy every week instead?
The guy who helps you out when things are starting to get away from you, when things start getting difficult and you’ve dropped a couple of shots or missed an easy putt.
The guy who whispers in your ear “you’ve got this” or “let it go and let’s move on” before it all goes to pot.
We often think we’re on our own out there for hours and it can be challenging, especially if we think that way.
However, you can choose to think differently. You can play with your best buddy.
Imagine having someone cheering you on instead of berating you. Someone who believes in you and wants you to succeed rather than falter.
Your best mate or buddy can and will show up if you ask him. You just have to practice it. The more you do it the easier it becomes.
Ask him and I’m sure he’ll tell you he’s up for it.
If you want to know more about how to improve your mental golf game, get your complimentary copy of my 7 Keys to improve Your Mental golf Game by clicking here.
Editorial credit: David W. Leindecker / Shutterstock.com
What a great tournament The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass!
Not just because of Sunday but all four days. It had beautiful weather, ok, except Sunday, we had great golf, drama, a hole in one and Tiger had the crowds and viewers smiling with his fooling around on 17 when having a joke with his playing partner Kevin Na.
Something that’s rarely been seen over the years.
We had numerous golfers who were challenging for the lead and some came out of nowhere to post some incredible scores, but Rory managed to hold on, played some terrific golf and won an amazing tournament. It certainly made for great tv.
However, one thing stood out besides Rory’s brilliance.
He managed to beat Jim Furyk by only one shot. One shot!
Rory is in the top 5 on driving distance and is known for his terrific long game and is in the prime of his golfing life. Furyk on the other hand is ranked 212th in distance just now, with an average of 271 yards, some 41 yards less than Rory.
To put it into perspective, on the 16th Rory hit a drive and a 9 iron into the green on this 520 yard par 5, whereas Jim Furyk was hitting a drive and some kind of wood for his second shot!
A drive and 9 iron 520 yards was unheard of when I was growing up.
Over the whole tournament, the guy who is 212 in driving distance loses by 1 shot to Rory.
Oh and Furyk is only two months short of his 49th birthday. Even by golfing standards, he’s not old, but he’s also not considered to be in the prime of his career.
I’m not taking anything away from McIlroy, I’m a great fan of his and love watching him play, but I also love to see how others manage to play at the levels they do without having the best long game, the best short game or being the hottest putter on the planet.
I’m sure he’s going to have a great time on the Champions Tour in just over a year’s time.
So what did I learn from the Players Championship?
It’s still the greatest game or sport out there, whether you hit it long or fat, you’re young or old, you can still get a great deal of fun and enjoyment out of it, if you put something and your mind to it.
No matter what age.
Furyk and McIlroy are proof of that.
Well played guys.
If you love the game and want to know how to improve your mental game, click here to get your complementary copy of my 7 Keys to improve Your Mental Golf Game.
I remember presenting a workshop a while ago, talking about the importance of developing routines to help build healthy habits and processes so that we can rely up the same thing to happen each time we do something.
A guy sitting in the front row was looking distinctly puzzled and I asked him if there was a problem.
He said he couldn’t get his head round doing everything in a special order and that he “wasn’t a robot”.
I must admit years ago when I first started playing golf, I would have agreed with him as it is very challenging putting all the swing mechanics, thoughts and processes into a smooth rhythmic motion when we first start playing.
We just want to get out and hit it, then hit it again and again then hopefully two putt. That was the theory.
However, when I asked him what his biggest challenge was, he said it was having too many thoughts when approaching his ball.
And that’s exactly what we’re aiming to avoid I explained and why we want to have these routines, to go on autopilot, so we avoid all these swing thoughts. Or in other terms, interference.
Whether that’s a pre-shot routine, a putting routine or moving on from a setback, the idea is to automate each process rather than each time having something different to think about and something different happening.
At first, trying something new isn’t easy and the tendency is to ‘think’ about what we want to do. Thinking about all the mechanics of the swing, the sequence, where what goes where and when. A good teaching pro will help make that a lot easier but we need to be aware mentally what’s happening, but not overthink it all.
And that takes time.
It’s the same when we first start out driving a car. We have a lot to take in and think about: from putting the key in the ignition, make sure the clutch is in, car is in neutral, check mirrors, signal, manoeuvre, oh and don’t forget the handbrake etc etc.
It can be mentally challenging and frustrating getting all that information to work in a seem-less fashion. It takes time for it to become fluid and natural, by making adjustments along the way using our senses and our feelings.
I remember kangarooing down the high street when I first started driving and it's no different in golf when we start out playing. It's not all smooth and rhythmic.
After a while of repetition, it becomes automatic, as we take the thinking part out of the whole process, just the same when you’ve driven somewhere, you've got there but don’t remember actually doing it. In other words 'autopilot'.
Your subconscious is running the show as it has gotten used to the whole process and doesn’t need your conscious thought processes to actually drive the vehicle.
In golf though, all too often our thought processes get in the way depending on what’s happening during the round, which brings in emotions and at times the real killer, doubts.
Learning to build automation or becoming a little ‘robotic’ in your thinking will go a long way to improving your mental strategies around the course and removing some of the unnecessary thoughts at the wrong times.
Try it out and see for yourself if you’re not already doing so.
It will take some time getting used to but with some commitment I'm sure you'll get great results.
Performance Coach & Trainer at Golfing minds