Golf Tips - Slump Busting - Recover Your Golf Game

By Dr. Bob Phillips, Golf Psychologist

A real challenge for every serious golfer is the problem of being in a slump. Slumps are periods of time when both your physical and mental skills are at a level considerably lower than your average performance.

When we take a close look at a slump, what we find is that a slump is actually just an extended down turn in performance. As you know, your performance is always moving either up or down. Even the most consistent of pros is not really all that consistent. Everyone has play that ranges from fantastic to really bad. The really bad days are the days when you think your really ought to sell your clubs and take up bowling.

Slumps can begin with a drop in either your physical or mental ability. For a slump to continue, however, you must mentally continue the process that causes the poor performance. In other words, you must intervene and stop the natural upturn in performance. You must snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by actively stopping yourself from getting better. Your natural cycle of poor to better golf is interfered with so you do not move up in performance. Instead, you either stay at a lower level or you actually get worse. Now, this is a slump.

Slumps can begin is several ways.

Some of the most common physical lead-ins to a slump are:

  1. Injury
  2. Swing changes
  3. Equipment changes
  4. Too much practice
  5. Too little practice

Some of the most common mental lead-ins to a slump are:

  1. Burn-out
  2. Lack of goals
  3. Fear of failure or other negative emotion
  4. Playing for the wrong reason
  5. Problems in other areas of your life
  6. Gremlins, negative thoughts

The way out of a slump is to understand the natural ups and downs of golf. Know that your mind is trying to move out of the slump if you will let it. It is also important to commit to your fundamental game for three months. Do not try radical changes to make things better. Commit to your equipment, your coach and to your style of play.

It is also often helpful to organize your practice. Have specific goals for the practice and work to reach these. Remember - the whole is made up of lots of little parts. If you get the little parts right, the big picture will fall into place. Keep at it. Like an old pro once said, "Keep hitting em, they will land someplace."

You should also resolve any personal or non-golf problems in your life. Perhaps most important is to recall why you play golf in the first place. Play for the good reasons - to have fun, to meet a challenge, to socialize, or just for the love of the game.

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