The Power of the Mind …..
The Power of the Mind in Golf
In a world where there is focus on Power , distance and control on the golf course – Today’s golfers are completely focused on diet, gym and practice in order to prepare them for the next upcoming tournament.
The tournament arrives and these perfectly toned athletes commence their rounds – hitting drives over 300 yards and pounding down the fairways plucking out mid 60 rounds with ease as they destroy these courses with their incredible distance.
Irons and 3 woods off the tee for position and every thing is rosey in the Garden.
Thursday and Friday Rounds put them in pole position for the weekend.
Then something changes ……
All of a sudden – The tee shots are not finding the fairway, the approach shots are longer, the accuracy is not as precise and the putts don’t go in.
Why is this?…….
This is because players do not spend enough time mentally preparing themselves for golf tournaments. Working through the mental thoughts that plague the mind as soon as something goes wrong. The natural instinct that triggers in your brain that tells you something is not quite as it seems.
Once these thoughts are in your head, if you haven’t tuned yourself in mentally to deal with these thoughts it becomes incredibly difficult to remove them.
Who recalls the Masters? When Jordan Speith blew an almost unassailable lead. After 4 straight birdies on the front 9 from 6 through to 9 , he had a 5 shot lead with 9 holes to play , the golfing world waited patiently for the inevitable outcome.
He was about to make golfing history by becoming the first golfer ever to win back to back masters wire to wire and also make history by winning 2 masters tournaments in only 3 appearances which would eclipse all the previous golfing greats before him.
Standing on the 10th Tee – something changed. A rampant Speith who attacked every pin on the front nine changed his approach and became defensive. A wayward tee shot, a poor putt resulted in Bogey , followed by another on the 11th and all of a sudden the pendulum swung against him and the walls came crashing down. The switch of tactics removed his focus and he strolled to the 12th – unbeknown to him that he was about to complete the biggest meltdown in masters history.
With only 120 yards to the hole – he took the defensive option and stuck it in the water, went to the drop zone and chunked his sand iron into the water. Angry and over-zealous he pitched his ball past the pin and into the bunker and he knew his masters chance had gone. A quadruple bogey on a par 3 left him trailing.
6 shots lost in 3 holes.
A quick switch back to attack mode resulted in 2 more birdies but by then the damage was done. The news has filtered through to his opponents who had already gathered momentum- took the lead and maintained there charge.The chance to make history gone and the reason was ” The power of the mind” – he allowed his head to rule his heart and the mind took over when it went bad.
Something similar happened to Greg Norman 20 years previous.
To Jordan’s credit and dismay – he had to present the green jacket to Danny Willett which must have been incredibly hard to swallow but never again has Jordan Speith defended a lead in that way.
This sort of mindset issue is a regular occurrence with the amateur golfer and the “power of the mind” takes over an awful lot and whilst playing in one of our sponsored tournaments in recent weeks- A mid handicap player took a bout of ‘ The yips’ for no apparent reason? – 5 shots later – 3 further shanks and a mid handicap golfer could not hit the ball straight.
When asked the question why, the answer was typical – “ I am chasing my best score and I am scared to make a mistake”. Prior to this – he was swinging well. He lost focus on one shot , lost his composure and the mind took over resulting in 3 poor holes and his best scoring round had gone.
He regained his focus for the last 3 holes and was back playing his game again but his chance of glory and a win was gone.
The moral of this story is this….
Golf is more than driving , chipping and putting – it is a game that requires absolute focus and the ability to put an error quickly out of your mind. Average golfers need to regroup quickly after a setback and the only way to do this is to train the mind in this way.
Shake it off , move on and look forward.
Mid handicap golfers remain at this level because somewhere in the round they run up a big number and they struggle to recover.
Train the brain
Master the game.