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File your good golf shots, forget the bad ones

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Most of the joy in golf comes from great shots. Everyone knows the feeling of a pure shot. Many of us even remember the shot that got us addicted to this great game.

Despite the enjoyment great shots bring, golf is a game of misses too, and it always will be. Finding a way to balance the “good” with the “not so good” is critical for golfers to play their best golf and get the most out of their mental game.

At the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, we teach our juniors and professionals that this balance can be reached with mastering the understanding of two simple words – filing and forgetting.

One of the biggest keys to understanding the mental side of golf is learning to file away great shots and forget bad ones. This will help golfers lower their scores and increase their enjoyment of the game. Every golfer has the power to choose what they focus on. Once they know this, all they have to do is focus on the right things.

Following each shot, golfers have a choice: Is this a shot they should file away, or is this a shot they should forget? Golfers should file away shots they like for future use. Shots they dislike, they should forget about and leave in the past.

So how exactly do golfers file and forget shots?

Let’s start with shots that golfers want to remember. Every great golfer has a personal highlight reel of their best shots. Some professionals will go as far as making videos of their best shots to watch later on. To get the same effect, golfers don’t need to hire a video crew to follow them around. All they need to do is create a mental folder where they file all the shots they want to remember.

At GGGA, we teach our students to feel the joy of each great shot. This is called emotionalizing.

If golfers really want to supercharge their filing system, they should close their eyes and replay the shot in their mind and feel the positive emotions. Once they have done this, the shot is in their mental folder and ready to be remembered whenever their game needs a spark of confidence.

The first step to forgetting a shot is this: golfers should promise themselves that they aren’t going to leave the previous shot until they are ready to forget it. If they need to blow off some steam, they should take a couple deep breaths. If they think their swing is the culprit, they should rehearse several swings the way they want them to feel. If they need a pep talk, they should give themselves one. Once they have accepted the shot, they can begin walking and leave the shot behind.

Practice filing and forgetting after every shot — on the range and while playing — and you will soon have a personal highlight reel for each club in your bag.

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Dan Vosgerichian Ph.D. is owner of Elite Performance Solutions. Dr. Dan earned his doctorate in Sport Psychology from Florida State University and has more than 10 years of experience working with golfers to maximize their mental game. His clients have included golfers from The PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour, PGA Latin America, as well as some of the top junior and collegiate players in the country. Dr. Dan has experience training elite golfers on every aspect of the game. He served as The Director of Mental Training at Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, as well as a Mental Game Coach for Nike Golf Schools. He’s also worked as an instructor at The PGA Tour Golf Academy and assistant golf coach at Springfield College. Dan's worked as a professional caddie at TPC Sawgrass, Home of The Players Championship, as well as an assistant to Florida State University's PGA Professional Golf Management Program.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. price compare

    Feb 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Best PTC Site

  2. RD Thompson

    Jan 30, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Dr. D, perhaps a stupid question. I am 80 years old and still play with a 15 handicap so I do fair. Yet psychologically it is tough to not be able to reach par fours in regulation. How do we deal with it? I know, accept it and move on but assuredly that is tough when we have spent a life time selecting clubs for approach instead of grabbing a three wood and slamming it with all our energy? Thoughts

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Faulty Grip Pressure

As stated above, you will find non-commitment in one of three forms, and normally when you have emotional or physical issues your grip pressure will spike. Anytime you have a grip on the club that’s in death-mode, you will find that having any type of normal or consistent release is impossible. When your release becomes an issue so will your ball’s flight. Try your best to relax and let things happen without trying to force them; squeezing the grip too hard can only make things worse.

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