Focus! It’s the key to good golf

by   |   November 24, 2012
Tiger Woods reads a putt at the 2012 Open Championship

Golf is a game that is played over a long period of time, but each shot takes a very short amount of time.Therefore, there is a lot of ‘down time’ in golf where you walk from shot to shot, wait for playing partners or wait for the group in front to move on. In this time, and for many reasons we can lose our focus.

Losing your focus can have a large impact on your game and can happen for many reasons. One debilitating reason is know as forecasting. This can take the form of scripting your acceptance speech after five good holes, or other times by simply thinking about the next shots and how a couple of good shots will give you par, which will help you break 80/90/100 for the first time. Nevertheless, you duff a few shots and before you know it your good day or good shot is a distant memory.

Regardless of the manner by which you lose your focus, there are some home truths you need to know to help you stay focused and get the job done.

Truth No.1: We never lack the ability to focus

Those of you who have Facebook will know that when you are involved in a number of different conversations and have an online game going, plus you are keeping up to date with your wall, you never at any time are you unable to explain what is going on in your social network. You are able to stay fully abreast of multiple stories and rarely do you cross conversations or forget who you were taking to. others who don’t have Facebook hopefully have seen a movie before or read a book. In these experiences, we are able to follow multiple story lines and complex plot twists with relative ease. In all these scenarios, we are intently focused and most of the time this is rather effortless. It is by virtue of this that we know we can focus.

Truth No.2: We don’t always focus properly

Now, if you were to be this intently focused on Facebook or a movie when you should be studying or at work, then we may have an issue. The desire to maintain an appropriate focus is the key issue with which most golfers struggle. If you are focused on what you will say in your acceptance speech, are you focus on hitting the next shot onto the green?

The short answer, NO! The long answer, NOT LIKELY!

Truth No.3 – Do you know what to focus on to produce your best results?

In ensuring you are appropriately focused at all times, you must know what to focus on. For example, in your swing should you focus on your pivot, right arm, hands, clubhead, target and so on. This is an intensely personal decision that should be made based on previous success and feedback. Basically, you must determine what is the best course of action that will return you the best result possible. For a shortcut, discuss it with your coach and workout some likely options.

Truth No.4 – Routine, routine, routine

Creating an appropriate level of focus for each shot is as simple (and complex) as creating and utilising an appropriate routine. Tiger Woods speaks of having imaginary lines on the ground which he used to control his focus; as he walks over one heading to his ball he “puts on his game face.” After hitting the shot, he makes his way over the next and chills out. Other golfers use a shot bubble, others use physical cues, e.g., taking out their glove, whatever you decide to apply make sure you limit the amount of time you are switched on for, as 5 hours of solid focus will drain you of all your energy. From here, when you are switched on, focus only on those things that will help you to hit that one shot as best you can.

Your score can be largely influenced by how focused you are on the day. If you are not convinced, think about some of the silly mistakes you made on your last round and try to tell yourself you were in the zone and completely focused, and the result was just out of your hands.

Click here for more discussion in the “Instruction & Academy” forum. 

Domenic Crouch is a mental game coach. You can follow Domenic on Twitter @domenic_crouch. For more information on Domenic, visit his website www.thinkfeelperform.com

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3 Comments

  1. paul

    December 11, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I started Golfing a few summers ago, and have experienced a strange phenomenon. A few seconds of perfect focus that always results in a made putt after a perfect read. I had a 20 foot putt and saw the path down hill right to left then left to right. crazy that it went in. A few times i have chipped in I did the same thing. saw the slope and the exact spot i wanted the ball to land, focused, made the shot and saw it roll in. weird. wish i could do it more often.

  2. Tom McCarthy

    November 29, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Yep! Focusing on swinging through the ball during the golf swing is a fundamental.

  3. pablo

    November 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Great article. It only takes a loss of focus on a couple of shots to mess up a great round. Sometimes something as simple as the cart girl or marshall driving up/by can mess it up for me, and I need to start my shot over again from the beginning for best results, especially on a difficult shot.

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