Be Men­tally Strong For Golf Re­sults

Golf Today Northwest - - News - By KATHY GILDER­SLEEVE-JENSEN, PGA

Your brain is a pow­er­ful tool that can serve as one of your great­est re­sources in the game of golf. A com­mon rea­son a player will get men­tally bound up is that you don’t trust your­self or your skills. Trust is a huge part of the men­tal game of golf. Trust­ing your skills, knowl­edge, sur­round­ings, past ex­pe­ri­ences, prac­tice ses­sions, and con­fi­dence leads to a great game. To find the “zone” in your golf game (the sign of reach­ing true com­fort in golf) one needs to truly trust their skills. Trust is the firm be­lief in your own re­li­a­bil­ity, truth, abil­ity, or strength. How do you in­cor­po­rate this trust fac­tor into your golf game? There are sev­eral ways to de­velop your skills to ex­e­cute your golf shots so you can ex­cel. You must also fine-tune how you per­ceive and man­age each sit­u­a­tion that lies within your con­trol. Do­ing your best and pa­tiently pre­par­ing for the next shot ahead of you is the best you can do for each sit­u­a­tion. One of our great­est golf chal­lenges could be han­dling a miss-hit and work­ing to re­cover and pro­duce a score. The score­card, it­self, is sim­ply for keep­ing score-- rather than be­ing a map of how the score was ob­tained. Tran­scend­ing the emo­tion of the sit­u­a­tion and play­ing your best at what­ever your skill level, can help you to bet­ter learn from your past and im­prove your game in the fu­ture. Here are a few tips to help in learn­ing to trust your­self on the golf course: • See a PGA or LPGA Golf Pro­fes­sional and dis­cuss your goals. This will help you to stay on track with the process. • Prac­tice your skills to gain con­fi­dence. Un­der­stand your weak­nesses to im­prove in these spe­cific ar­eas. Re­mem­ber to prac­tice so you can bet­ter keep your game strong and your skills sharp. • Play, play, and play golf. It is dif­fer­ent from work­ing on your swing on the prac­tice ar­eas. Play­ing puts, you into sit­u­a­tions-- whether you like it not. It al­lows you to dis­cover and learn from the is­sues at face value. Be cre­ative if your same rou­tine doesn’t work. There are usu­ally more ways than one to ex­e­cute a shot with con­fi­dence. Prac­tic­ing and prob­lem-solv­ing

cre­ates more trust in your de­ci­sion-mak­ing and can markedly im­prove your re­sults.

• Af­ter you play, keep track of your data and work that into your next prac­tice ses­sions. Some ex­am­ples of data that will be in­stru­men­tal in help­ing your growth in­clude: keep­ing track of your putts, chart­ing your drive di­rec­tions on ev­ery hole, track­ing the num­ber of greens in reg­u­la­tion, count­ing how many short shots there are, log­ging your dis­tance con­trol (e.g. are you short or long on your shots?), record­ing the num­ber of penal­ties, and so on.

• Re­mem­ber this is a “game”. It is a game of strat­egy with many vari­ables. Do things that pro­duce the higher num­ber of con­trolled shots that you know how to ex­e­cute. Af­ter fig­ur­ing this out, make it your own strat­egy. It isn’t a game of per­fec­tion. Yet each day will bring sur­prises that will help you to ad­just to per­form bet­ter.

• Ask your­self: oo Do you trust your­self with this de­ci­sion? If so, are you men­tally con­fi­dent enough to make it hap­pen? oo If you don’t trust your de­ci­sion, you are most likely to fail. This can re­sult in a re­duc­tion in your de­gree of con­fi­dence on fu­ture shots in the game. With a calm and con­fi­dent mind, you’ll not only make bet­ter de­ci­sions on the golf course, but you’ll find more suc­cess as you move for­ward in your games in the years to come.

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