There’s been a lot of hype and talk about the new rules that came in to effect from January this year and not everyone welcomed them.
Some were welcomed and some have been questioned, such as being allowed to putt with the flag stick in. I’m not so sure about the benefits of doing that, except it may save a little time on the green, which over 18 holes may shave a few minutes off the round.
Everything helps I suppose.
I know I prefer to stick with the old way of taking it out when on the green. An old habit.
But when it comes to dropping from knee height, I’ve seen videos of some of the pro events where the pro’s haven’t even been sure exactly what to do and are concerned with an infringement.
Some things are understood when written, but some need seeing to be understood and I’d recommend watching this short video released by the R & A that explains the 20 Must Know Rule Changes for 2019.
Now what’s all that got to do with improving my mental game?
We are creatures of habit. We spend most of our day on for want of a better word ‘autopilot’, doing things we always do from the moment we get up with our usual routines, to the time we go to bed and do all our usual then.
The same happens in golf and over the years we’ve become accustomed to certain habits and routines, both good and bad and much of the time we aren’t actually aware of them. This is true with the rules of golf.
Here’s a short example:
John’s out on Saturday in a club competition and he thinks he knows the rule changes but hasn’t spent much time frequenting himself with them. He’s had a busy week, so he’s pressed for time and gets to the club just in time for his tee time.
His ball hits his bag on the 5th and he penalises himself. Then on the 11th he double hits his ball and penalises himself again.
Now, he hasn’t actually any penalties with the new rules changes, but if he isn’t fully aware of the changes or indeed forgets about them, he can easily revert to his old habits, think he’s done wrong and penalise himself.
He then starts getting frustrated because of two ‘silly’ errors and his mind starts working against him, he gets anxious trying to claw back those two penalty shots.
Before long he’s dropped another 4 because he’s under pressure to get back into the game and by the time he walks off the 18th his round is ruined.
We’ve become accustomed to many of the rules and don’t have to think about them, with the exception of some of the more complex ones.
When we have changes to make to our habits and routines, the mind doesn’t always like them and it’s very easy to fall into our old habits and do what we’ve always done.
It’s easy to forget something unless we remind ourselves of the changes and it can be easier to watch the rules to get a real understanding, rather than simply reading them, to help get them fixed into our minds.
If you want to know more about how to improve your mental game take a look at my 7 Keys to Improve Your Mental Golf. It’s a short read of around 5 minutes but I think will help if you’ve not worked on that side of your game.
To your success.
Performance Coach & Trainer at Golfing minds