The Fin­ish Line

My trick to stay men­tally sharp the en­tire round

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Contents - BY RICKIE FOWLER

My trick to stay men­tally sharp the en­tire round.

Most of the mis­takes you’ll make in a round of golf are men­tal, not phys­i­cal. I know, you’re think­ing that’s an easy thing for a tour player to say— we all have pretty much honed a good swing. But I’d ar­gue that if you reach a level where you hit a num­ber of solid shots ev­ery round, what’s hold­ing you back from hit­ting more is mostly in your head and not some ur­gent tech­ni­cal flaw.

When I look back on a round, my bad shots are al­most al­ways the ones where I wasn’t fully com­mit­ted. I can re­mem­ber the tinge of doubt I felt over the ball, or that the vi­sion of how I wanted the ball to fly wasn’t fully crys­tal­lized in my mind. As a re­sult, I’m some­thing less than to­tally ag­gres­sive through the shot, and the club­face wa­vers. I can only kick my­self for not hav­ing backed off and re­set.

A lot of peo­ple think the men­tal part of sports is in­scrutable and can’t re­ally be taught, but I dis­agree. It comes out in phys­i­cal ways, and in golf, there’s no clearer ev­i­dence of what’s go­ing on in a per­son’s mind than how they fin­ish a swing. If you’re feel­ing the least bit ten­ta­tive, it’ll look that way. If you’re wild and un­fo­cused, that’s ob­vi­ous, too. Us­ing the body to train the brain might sound like re­verse-engi­neer­ing, but it works. By mak­ing a per­fect fin­ish my pri­mary goal, it helps en­sure my com­mit­ment. What I con­sider to be a per­fect fin­ish, by the way, is what you see here: chest fully ro­tated, head re­leased, eyes on tar­get and ab­so­lutely zero wob­ble in my body or club. I ar­rive sharp as a statue.

In your next round, try to fin­ish swings hold­ing a crisp pose. You might be sur­prised how hard it is to end ev­ery swing like this, but it’s the sim­plest way to ac­tu­ally see and eval­u­ate your men­tal game. Which, if you’re break­ing 90, is pretty much the whole game. Rickie Fowler has four wins on the PGA Tour and is sec­ond in scor­ing av­er­age (69.05).

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