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.
What should your hips do in the golf swing?
If you want to become more consistent, a better ball striker and hit longer golf shots then this is the video for you. This video will show you exactly what your hips pelvis should be doing during your backswing, downswing and through impact. Having great control of your pelvis and it’s movement will help you have greater control over your golf swing.
Playing in your mind vs. playing out of your mind
Comparing the recreational beginner to the elite player
As a player, I know there are rounds of golf where I feel like I worked extremely hard to achieve the results and there are also rounds that are effortless and just plain easy. Why do we go through these peaks and valleys in golf?
As an instructor and player, I want to explore a deeper understanding of what it means to be playing out of your mind vs. playing in your mind.
I want to address both beginners and elite players on their quest for better play. All beginners and elite players must understand that, as players, we are all experiencing ups and downs. The bottom line is that some handle them better than others.
Why is this a feeling golfers have: “playing out of your mind”?
Well, it is pure relaxation. It is fluid, seamless, continuous motion. No hang-ups. No hiccups.
The next big question, how do we achieve this regularly?
We get to this without forcing it, by believing in our makeup. It is locked in our subconscious. It is a controllable, uncontrollable. Subconsciously, your nervous system is in the green light. You are just doing. This is peak performance. This is the zone. This is playing autonomously, out of your mind.
I believe that over time, a golfer’s game is compiled in his/her built-up expectations of the player they truly believe they are. Expecting to make a putt vs. just so happening to make it feeds two different minds. When you place an expectation on an action tension is created. Tension creeps into our nervous system and our brains either respond or they don’t. This is called pressure. This is what I call playing in your mind. You are in your head, your thoughts are far too many and there is just a whole lot floating around up there.
The more players play/practice, the more they will expect out of themselves, and in result, create that pressure. (ie. Why progress is difficult to achieve the closer you get to shooting par or better). The best players are better at responding to that pressure. Their systems are auto-immune to pressure. (ie. Think of practice like medicine and think of a pre-shot routine like the Advil to help calm the spiking nerves.)
- Playing in your mind = high tension golf… you might need an Advil.
- Playing out of your mind = low tension golf… you are in a good headspace and are doing all the right things before your round even started.
The key to understanding here is that we can play in both minds and achieve success in either situation. It is all about managing yourself and your re-act game.
Subconscious playing is beyond enjoyable. It is more recreational in style. I believe beginners are playing more subconsciously, more recreationally. I believe elite players can learn from the beginner because they are achieving superior moments and sensations more subconsciously, more often. All players at all levels have off days. It is important to remember we all have this in common.
The goal is always to play your best. When I play my best, there are no preconceived thoughts of action. It’s simply action. Playing out of your mind is an unwritten script, unrehearsed, and unrepeatable on a day to day basis, you’re living it.
Say you have that one round, that out of your mind, crazy good day. The next few days, what do you do? Do you try to mimic everything you did to achieve that low number? As good players, we take these great days and try to piece it together into a script of playing. We know we can get it down to almost damn near perfect. The more a player rehearses the better they get. Edits are made…knowing that things are always shifting. Visualization is key.
No doubt, it’s a huge cycle. Players are in a continuous race to achieve results in numbers. Players looking to reach great success should generate a journal/log and compile a record and playback method and revisit it repeatedly.
There is no secret or magic…it takes mastering the minds to achieve the best results more often. Most important, as players, we must recognize that during our amazing rounds…
- We are relaxed
- We are having fun
- We are just doing
In this game, the deeper we go, the more we propose to be there. It will always bring us back to the basics. One complete full circle, back to the beginner in all of us. So, the next time an experienced player sees a beginner on the first tee…take a moment and appreciate that player!
Remember to enjoy the walk and believe that hard work always works!
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the zone and how to become accustomed to playing autonomously.
Equipment improvements are even better for women! Now they are getting over 300 yards!
We had a sweet driver shaft fitting at Club Champion in January. We picked up the shaft in their store in Phoenix and that afternoon, and Savannah hit two benchmark drives at 305 and another at 317 yards! Kinda makes you a bit of a believer, huh!? We are looking forward to seeing the numbers on our GC Quad back home this week to check out the difference. Stay tuned for next week!
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