Golf Tips - Play a Mental Game of Golf

By Tom Ward

After a mild winter many golfers are ready to hit the links with renewed vigor. Unfortunately, high hopes will be dashed quickly if you can't keep your emotions in check. Here's an example of how we like to have 'Pity" parties for ourselves when we aren't playing too well. There was this guy in west Texas delivering a package to a house out in the rural countryside. He pulls up and sees an older gentlemen on the porch in his rocking chair. A few feet away was a dog-moaning and whining away. "Excuse me, Sir." said the concerned delivery guy to the older man on the porch. "What's the matter with the dog?"

The old man, with an attitude of indifference replied. "Oh,he's layin' on a nail."

The delivery man asks "Why in the world is he doing that? Why doesn't he just get up?"

The old man shrugs his shoulders and says, "I reckon he ain't hurting bad enough yet!" Well I think we have all met people like that pitiful dog-spending time whining and complaining about how their golf game is so bad and why they can't play well. Instead of complaining about how life is treating them unfairly they won't take the initiative to do something about their situation and change their circumstances. Sometimes people like to take humbrage in their miserable plight and they enjoy company whenever possible. Nothing is going to change until you start hurting bad enough to do something about it. This of course applies not only to your golf game, but life in general. In fact, if people spent as much time looking for the solutions to their golfing problems as they do complaining and making excuses most of their problems would scurry away like that frightened dog.

Instead, they throw a "pity party" and are put out when no one shows up to attend. Life is too short to waste time and energy on such negative thoughts so move on and get some help for your game. So "get off layin' on the nail." and you can start having success and fun on the course again. "Break that old broken record" that has you playing that same sad song and taken your game into tailspin. There's a great old saying that goes,"If you always do what you've always done. You'll always get what you've always got." It's time to start seeing the 'Light throught that dark tunnel' you have built for yourself.

Mark Twain once said, "You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." There is a multitude of reasons why we bury our games into submission and none of them are good. It's time for you to start believing and seeing yourself pulling off the shots you dreamed about,instead of worrying about where disaster is lurking ready to strike you down on the course and ruin your round. Many players I have taught over the years have mentioned to me that even when they're playing good they are anticipating the proverbial wheels to come off at any moment. I read a statistic somewhere that 92% of what we worry about or fear never comes to fruition. Meaning that your wasting your time on meaningless things distracting you from your goals. Stop concerning yourself with past events or things in your game that you have no control. "You can't water yesterday's crops with today's tears." Let it go and move onward!

It's a good practice to mentally play a round in your mind where you control the ball and place it where you want it to go avoiding all the problems such as water, out of bounds, sand, etc.. Try it sometime and let your imagination run wild. Take notice of this mental exercise to see if you allow bad thoughts to enter your mind even in your pretend round.Bad habits die hard and the first place to attack them is in your conscious mind.

In order to eliminate bad habits that you have formed in your game try this 3 step process:

  1. First confront your fears in your game and admit them by writing them down on a piece of paper.
  2. Replace it-it's time to trade in bad habits and negative behavior for good ones.
  3. Stick with it-by being persistent,diligent and remaining disciplined your game plan you'll be soon forming a new habit.

I will go into greater depth in future articles about developing this plan of attack for your game with specific drills you can incorporate quite easily into your game. We can't change our circumstances about how the ball bounces so to speak, but we can alter our response to them. It's all about choice so choose wisely. Having a brighter outlook about playing and excepting occasional bad breaks that are inevitable will help you start getting over being "Teed off" about yourself and your golf game.

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