One reason why golf is mentally challenging
is because you have so little contact with the ball.
Unlike basketball, where you dribble
the ball for minutes at a time,
in golf you only make contact with
the ball for fractions of a second
over a 4-5 hour time frame.
This lack of contact makes it easier for you
to lose your concentration.
Four or five hours is a long time
to maintain concentration on anything.
Cardiovascular surgeons have the same
concentration challenge as golfers.
Coronary bypass (heart) surgery lasts an average of 5 hours,
and it's typical for these surgeons to do 3 of these a day.
That means they are doing 10-15 hours of operating a day.
These surgeons know that they can't maintain total
intensity and concentration on everything
they do during that time.
Their solution is to teach themselves how to manage
the ebb and flow of the operation. During the
mundane parts of the operation,
they get into a lighter concentration flow.
But once the patient's heart is stopped,
they need to get the operation
done in less than an hour. During that time,
they have absolute, total focus. They submerge
the mind so that everything around them is
In golf, you too must master the ebb and flow
of the game. Having too much focus for too long a time
can actually tighten your muscles and hamper your swing.
So, your job is to learn how to build
your concentration before each shot and
'turn it off' between shots.
Mental Toughness Exercise
One technique you can use to sharpen your
concentration is to visualize your shot
before you hit it.
I suggest you do this as you're
walking up to the ball.
Like Tiger, stare at your target
and form a visual picture of the shot in your
mind. See the ball flying on a specific line
towards its final target.*
If you work at this, soon you will be able
to maintain your focus of attention on
the hole the way the pros do.