Connect with us

Instruction

Unlocking Your True Golf Potential Is a Mindset

Published

on

Golf is such a great sport for anyone who wants to challenge themselves in an enjoyable manor, but sometimes we can become our own worst enemy when we are trying to improve our game. We often can be easily frustrated when we don’t live up to the expectations of the skill level at which we feel we should play. I’ve seen grown men and women act like spoiled children, almost crying with frustration on the golf course when their game isn’t going as they planned.

Yes, having a competitive mindset is healthy and a necessary part of growth. When a mindset is so fragile and juvenile that golfers easily allow themselves to become frustrated, however, they put themselves into a self-destructive state of mind that affects their body. They overflow their systems with a stress hormone called cortisol, which causes their body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode. It’s a great state to be in if you need to fight for your life or sprint away from a hungry tiger. The downfall is that cortisol overwhelms your body’s vital organs that are necessary for immediate survival, and at the same time, it shuts off your body’s other organs that are necessary for surviving your round of golf. The fight-or-flight state of mind will also put a damper on your ability to make rational decisions, which can be difficult enough for some of us on the golf course already.

Here’s the thing; golf is challenging… period. If you didn’t find it challenging, you probably wouldn’t enjoy playing golf so much. It’s kind of a catch 22; the very reason we enjoy golf so much is the challenge, though we become self-destructive if we find it too challenging or if things don’t go according to plan during our round.

We all have basic expectations of who we think we are and what we are expecting from ourselves before we start our round. If you’re a scratch golfer, you will expect that you will play your round somewhere close to par. Whatever level your play, you expect to play at a skill level that’s familiar to you. The moment you begin to play much better than what you feel is your current skill set, you will be in uncharted territory. You may get kind of excited and anxious, causing you to begin to overanalyze the situation. That may cause you to fumble.

The same goes if you are playing poorly and much worse than you are familiar with. You are again put outside of your comfort zone and will need to adjust your way of thinking to cope with it.

On top of carrying the burden of our own expectations around with us, most people also carry the burden of being over-concerned with what other people might think of them on the course. They want to look good, and this causes them to get trapped in a mindset that is only focused on results instead of improvement. So instead of daring to challenge themselves at the risk of looking bad if they don’t play well, they’d rather stay in their comfort zone and play it safe so that at the end of the day they will still feel comfortable with who they are. This makes it much more likely that golfers will focus on not screwing up instead of trying to get better.

Unlocking your true potential is a mindset, and it starts with you accepting what has happened and not worrying about what “might” happen (and most likely won’t happen if you’d just stop worrying about it). This mindset is all about losing your sense of self image. That person you think you are is preventing you from reaching your potential. If you want to play your best, quite simply, you have to lose that image of who you feel you are when you play golf. You can’t let the past or future own you, because it will prevent you from pushing your envelope of performance. Lose those expectations of what you think your current skill set is and play in the now, one shot at a time.

Many top athletes and musicians describe this state of mind as being in what is called the “zone” or the “pocket” of performance. You might have experienced this state of mind before, on or off the golf course. Being in the “zone” is a moment or moments in time when you aren’t concerned with anything except the task at hand. Your focus is so deep that you are unaware of any distractions, noise, or concerns of looking bad in front of others.

Being in the zone is for many a feeling of losing their sense of time and their sense of self, which makes perfect sense. Time is controlled by the part of our brain called the pre-frontal cortex, which is also the part of the brain that is self-critical and creates doubt in our ability.

Developing a mindset that allows you to tap into the zone so you can unlock your true potential happens when you get out of your own way. Stop being concerned with the results of here and now and start focusing on the process of improvement. Nobody gets there overnight, so get invested in the long haul so that when you are on the golf course you don’t trap yourself in a mindset that is full of expectations and frustration. You will play your best golf when you lose your sense of self and are engaged in the enjoyment of the challenge of each shot.

Developing this mindset is a skill that can be developed just like any other skill set on the golf course, and for most of us, it’s probably the most important part of our game that we need to work on. Your potential is out there, and only you have the ability to reach it. But you can only achieve it by having self-belief in your abilities and the drive to get up every time you get knocked down. The process to achieving your potential will come with the mindset and the drive of accepting what has happened so that you can keep moving forward.

Your Reaction?
  • 208
  • LEGIT16
  • WOW3
  • LOL2
  • IDHT3
  • FLOP4
  • OB2
  • SHANK9

Adam is a PGA Professional and TPI Certified Fitness and Medical Coach. He enjoys working with golfers of all ages and levels of expertise, and his approach is to look at every golfer as an individual to try to help them achieve their goals as effectively and efficiently as possible. He is also the author of two books: The Golfers Handbook - Save your golf game and your life! (available on iTunes and Amazon) And his new book, My Mind Body Golf Please visit the links below to find out more about Adams books. http://mymindbodygolf.weebly.com http://www.golfers-handbook.com "The golf swing may be built from the ground up, but the game of golf is built from the head down" - My Mind Body Golf Aside being an author, Adam is also a public speaker, doing workshops and lectures introducing concepts of athletic movement for golfers of all ages and levels of expertise.

Continue Reading
18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Ryan

    Sep 3, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I read until the word MANOR. I can’t suffer someone who doesn’t know the difference.

  2. Vombie

    Aug 30, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Be the duck yo

  3. Bob Jones

    Aug 30, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    All pep talk, no substance. How about telling us HOW to develop the mindset you recommend? That would be useful.

  4. mark

    Aug 30, 2017 at 10:35 am

    I played with an 82 year old this past week. We played from our tees, he played up at his tees. 5800 yards. His swing is what an 82 year old swing would be. Plays 5 days a week. This player shot 68/69 in a two day tournament. WOW. He believed in his-self. That’s all I can say….Wouldn’t believed it if I didn’t see it. I’m working on in-locking my brain….82 years old shoots 68/69. That’s money!

  5. alan b

    Aug 30, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Click on Adam Stevenson’s name and you will discover 7 great articles he posted on GolfWRX. He is a next generation golf instructor who appreciates physical fitness through his TPI certification.
    If your body is stiff and decrepit please don’t attempt golf, unless you commit yourself to intensive physical conditioning and golf-specific training. Just reading about it and trying it a few times doesn’t count.

    • Steve S

      Aug 30, 2017 at 9:44 am

      I have an old, stiff, decrepit body and I play to a 10-11. I would be a single digit if my eyes were better and I could still read greens. At 66 I’m playing the best golf of my life(from the white tees) because I have adapted my swing to my physical limitations and don’t attempt “low percentage” shots. This has virtually eliminated “blow up” holes for me. Do I have an occasional bad day, of course. But I have never enjoyed golf more. Part of it is my mental state which tries to savor every shot and every bad joke from my playing partners. As for as physical conditioning I do some light stretching everyday and work around the yard. I never lift anything more than 30lbs without help or mechanical assistance. Keeps my back pain free.

  6. alan b

    Aug 30, 2017 at 1:33 am

    “…almost every word”? How about:
    “Golf is such a great sport for anyone who wants to challenge themselves in an enjoyable manor [sic],…”.
    See, this is what happens when you are educated in phonics… your spelling betrays you!

    • alan b

      Aug 30, 2017 at 1:35 am

      Oooops ….. comment meant as a reply to Peter Schmitt at the beginning of this topic thread.

  7. alan b

    Aug 30, 2017 at 1:29 am

    It’s also known as “mind over matter” state of mind. However this only works for near scratch golfers who have conscious control over their body. They knowingly, consciously practice the parts of the golfswing and then assemble it into and automatic package for testing on the golf course.

    You won’t find these ‘players’ playing a prolonged round on the weekends. They secretly play on the weekdays and sometimes only 9 holes with 2 balls during twilight golf because 2 x 9 = 18 holes.

    Giving recreational golfers false hope is cruel so just let them buy new clubs and hope for the best. They can’t make a complete commitment to the game so psyching them up with psycho mumbo jumbo is useless, fruitless and plain wrong.

  8. nodoubles22

    Aug 29, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    I realized this a while back when wondering why I could pull off escape shots – punches from the trees, flop shots, etc. – so much better when practicing them than I did in a “real” round. The conditions were exactly the same, but because I’d purposely put the ball in a bad spot on the course to work on playing from there, I could play the escape shot without the feelings of frustration and anger about the previous poor shot. It’s impossible for me to fully forget about a bad shot during a meaningful round, but I try to remember that the recovery shot will be better if I pretend I’d put the ball there on purpose. It does help a little.

  9. Scott

    Aug 29, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Is this a way to help yourself play better or except mediocrity?
    OK, then how do I take an honest assessment of who I am to unlock my potertial? I agree that I have gotten in my own way. But what is my honest assessment of me as a player, in order to unlock my potential? Am I the guy that has broken par or the guy that has shot in the 90s? If the answer is “yes”, and any given day I could do either, than why bother? If both, high and low scores, are an anomaly, then how is knowing myself going to improve my play?
    I think that I just blew my own mind.

    • Boss

      Aug 29, 2017 at 10:59 am

      You mean ACCEPT.
      No, you didn’t blow your mind. Not even close. That’s why you fail. lol

  10. Woody

    Aug 29, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Great article, the best line “That person you think you are is preventing you from reaching your potential”. Our own self perceptions are our biggest blocks to improvement and success. What a great article, I throughly enjoyed it.

  11. acemandrake

    Aug 29, 2017 at 8:20 am

    “But you can only achieve it by having self-belief in your abilities and the drive to get up every time you get knocked down.”

    True, but exhausting! Especially in this game where most of us hit more bad shots than good ones.

    I guess having (& keeping) realistic expectations would help ?

    • acemandrake

      Aug 29, 2017 at 8:30 am

      Is it even possible to play without expectations?

  12. Peter Schmitt

    Aug 29, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Great article and so very true. Completely agree with almost every word. However, just letting go of expectations and getting in the zone mentally is not a “just do it” kind of thing. Oh, how I wish that were the case, but most days I find myself frustratingly trying to figure out how to just unplug my brain. Knowing something needs to be done and knowing how to do it are two different things.

    • alan b

      Aug 30, 2017 at 1:36 am

      “Completely agree with almost every word”? How about:
      “Golf is such a great sport for anyone who wants to challenge themselves in an enjoyable manor [sic],…”.
      See, this is what happens when you are educated in phonics… your spelling betrays you!

      • Peter Schmitt

        Aug 30, 2017 at 9:12 am

        Yeah I did notice that. Hence the word ALMOST in my comment 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instruction

6 things to consider before aiming at the flagstick

Published

on

One of the most impactful improvements you can make for your game is to hit more greens; you’ll have more birdie opportunities and will avoid bogeys more often. In fact, hitting more greens is the key to golfing success, in my opinion… more so than anything else.

However, there is a misconception among players when it comes to hitting approach shots. When people think “greens,” they tend to only think about the flagstick, when the pin may be the last thing you should be looking at. Obviously, we’d like to stick it on every shot, but shooting at the pin at the wrong time can cost you more pain than gain.

So I’d like to give you a few rules for hitting greens and aiming at the flagstick.

1) Avoid Sucker Pins

I want you to think about Hole No. 12 at Augusta and when the pin is on the far right side of the green… you know, the Sunday pin. Where do the pros try and aim? The center of the green! That’s because the right pin is by all means a sucker pin. If they miss the shot just a touch, they’re in the water, in the bunker, or left with an impossible up-and-down.

Sucker pins are the ones at the extreme sides of the green complex, and especially the ones that go against your normal shot pattern.

So go back to No. 12 with a far right pin, and say your natural shot shape is right-to-left. Would you really aim out over the water and move it towards the pin? That would be a terrible idea! It’s a center of the green shot all day, even for those who work it left-to-right. Learn to recognize sucker pins, and you won’t short side yourself ever again.

2) Are You a Good Bunker Player?

A “sucker pin,” or just a difficult hole location, is often tucked behind a bunker. Therefore, you should ask yourself, “am I a good bunker player?” Because if you are not, then you should never aim at a pin stuck behind one. If I wanted to shoot at pins all day, I’d make sure I was the best lob wedge player around. If you are not a short-game wizard, then you will have a serious problem attacking pins all round.

For those who lack confidence in their short game, or simply are not skilled on all the shots, it’s a good idea to hit to the fat part of the green most of the time. You must find ways to work around your weaknesses, and hitting “away” from the pin isn’t a bad thing, it’s a smart thing for your game.

3) Hitting the Correct Shelf

I want you to imagine a pin placed on top of a shelf. What things would you consider in order to attack this type of pin? You should answer: shot trajectory, type of golf ball, your landing angle with the club you’re hitting, the green conditions, and the consequences of your miss. This is where people really struggle as they forget to take into account these factors.

If you don’t consider what you can and cannot do with the shot at hand, you will miss greens, especially when aiming at a pin on a shelf. Sometimes, you will simply have to aim at the wrong level of the green in order to not bring the big number into play. Remember, if you aim for a top shelf and miss, you will leave yourself with an even more difficult pitch shot back onto that same shelf you just missed.

4) Know your Carry Distances

In my opinion, there is no excuse these days to not know your carry distances down to the last yard. Back when I was growing up, I had to go to a flat hole and chart these distances as best I could by the ball marks on the green. Now, I just spend an hour on Trackman.

My question to you is if you don’t know how far you carry the ball, how could you possibly shoot at a pin with any type of confidence? If you cannot determine what specific number you carry the ball, and how the ball will react on the green, then you should hit the ball in the center of the green. However, if the conditions are soft and you know your yardages, then the green becomes a dart board. My advice: spend some time this off-season getting to know your distances, and you’ll have more “green lights” come Spring.

5) When do you have the Green Light?

Do you really know when it’s OK to aim at the pin? Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help:

  • How are you hitting the ball that day?
  • How is your yardage control?
  • What is the slope of the green doing to help or hinder your ball on the green?
  • Do you have a backstop behind the pin?

It’s thoughts such as these that will help you to determine if you should hit at the pin or not. Remember, hitting at the pin (for amateurs) does not happen too often per nine holes of golf. You must leave your ego in the car and make the best decisions based on what information you have at that time. Simple mistakes on your approach shot can easily lead to bogeys and doubles.

6) When is Any Part of the Green Considered a Success?

There are some times when you have a terrible angle, or you’re in the rough/a fairway bunker. These are times when you must accept “anywhere on the green.”

Left in these situations, some players immediatly think to try and pull off the “miracle” shot, and wonder why they compound mistakes during a round. Learn to recognize if you should be happy with anywhere on the green, or the best place to miss the ball for the easiest up and down.

Think of Ben Hogan at Augusta on No. 11; he said that if you see him on that green in regulation then you know he missed the shot. He decided that short right was better than even trying to hit the green… sometimes you must do this too. But for now analyze your situation and make the best choice possible. When in doubt, eliminate the big numbers!

Your Reaction?
  • 3
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

Instruction

Is There An Ideal Backswing?

Published

on

In this video, I talk about the backswing and look into optimal positions. I also discuss the positives and negatives of different backswing positions.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Instruction

Build A More Consistent Short Game Through Better Body Movement

Published

on

So far in my collection of articles on GolfWRX, I’ve talked at length about the importance of posture, stability and movement patterns in the full swing, particularly utilizing the GravityFit equipment for feedback and training load. Many coaches use the same equipment to teach better movement in the putting, chipping, and pitching actions.

To help give some more insight into exactly how they do this, I have recruited Matt Ballard to co-author this article. Matt is an Australian-based coach and short game specialist who has been working with Adam Scott for the past year.

Matt Ballard (right) with Adam Scott.

According to Matt, the short game issue that the club players he coaches struggle with is contact and delivering consistent loft with their wedges.

“Most people tend to get steep, the handle comes in first and not enough loft is delivered,” he says. “This means that the bounce of the wedge isn’t being used properly, which makes control of contact, trajectory, and distance very difficult. ”

As Matt explains in the video below, this problem tends to manifest itself in chips and pitches that are either fat or thin, fly to short or not far enough, and either check up too soon or go rolling on past the pin.

The really frustrating part is the inconsistency. Not knowing how the ball is going to react makes committing to a shot extremely difficult. This has the unnerving effect of turning a simple task into something difficult… and pars into bogeys or worse. For the past few months, Matt has been using the GravityFit TPro to teach correct set up posture and body movement for chipping and pitching.

“I use the TPro to first of all establish spine and shoulder position,” Matt says. “I like my students to have the feel of their shoulders and forearms being externally rotated (turned out). From this position, it’s much easier to control the clubface (i.e. not getting it too shut or too open). The second benefit of using the TPro is controlling the golf club radius during the swing, with the radius being the distance the club head is from the center of the body. Controlling the radius is paramount to becoming an excellent wedge player. The third reason I use it is to help teach that pure rotation from the thoracic spine (mid/upper back), minimizing the excessive right side bend (for a right handed player) that gets so many people into trouble.”

20170712-_MG_5867

Nick demonstrating how TPro drills can be performed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essentially, Matt uses the GravityFit TPro to train a simple movement pattern that, once mastered, all but eliminate the typical problems normally associated with chipping and pitching.

“When (golfers) learn to turn using their thoracic spine and keep their arms in front of their body, it has a dramatic effect on how they deliver the club to the ball,” Matt says. “They are now able to maintain width or radius on either side of the ball, shallow out the club, and engage the bounce (sole) of the wedge to interact with the turf effectively, which is a key trait of all excellent wedge players. Doing this greatly increases their margin for error from a strike perspective and produces a far more consistent outcome in terms of loft, trajectory and distance control.”

Here is Matt’s 5-step process that you can follow with the TPro:

  1. Push handles out in front of your body, keeping slight bend in elbow.
  2. Stretch tall. Feel the green spikes in your middle/upper back and your shoulder blades on the paddles.
  3. Hinge forward into posture for pitching or chipping (the shorter the shot, narrower the stance.).
  4. Slowly turn chest into backswing, keep arms out in front of body, and maintain pressure on the spikes and paddles.
  5. Turn through to finish position using normal tempo, maintaining same pressure on the TPro and keeping arms in front of your body.

In summary, using the TPro and Matt’s drill can help you train a simple movement pattern that can give you far more control over the strike, trajectory and distance of your chips and pitches.

Click here to learn more about the TPro. To discover more pearls of wisdom from Matt, take a look at his website here and his social media activity here.

Your Reaction?
  • 4
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Trending