Positive Mental Imagery
 
 

Don't Let Your Mind Ramble When You Play In A Scramble:

"Don't let your mind ramble when you play in a scramble"
Joan A. King, C.Ht., P.NLP

The scramble has become a very popular team event. Every player tees off from the first hole. The team selects the best shot from the four tee shots, and all four players hit from that spot. The process of playing the best ball of the team after every drive or stroke continues until the ball is holed.

This format should be a fun game to play because it takes the pressure off of having to count every individual shot. It also focuses on the best play of the foursome.

But many people develop fears about playing in a scramble. They worry about not helping enough and letting the team down. They worry about the missed opportunities.

The best formula for winning is to stay in a positive frame of mind, relaxed, enjoying the opportunity to hit a shot knowing that there are three other players to make up for your missed shots, and staying focused when it is your turn.

But because you have a back-up of three other players doesn't mean that you should go for your "Tin Cup" (perfect) shot when it is your turn.

There are different strategies on playing a scramble.

Some players decide to take the best shot each time. Some like to save their best player for the toughest holes. Decide collectively on your team strategy. You might be surprised to find that each of the players in your foursome has a different idea of how to play the format.

Ask what the intention of each player is. Are they serious about winning, or are they just out for a day of play?

Here are some dont's for forming your strategy:

  • Don't presuppose. I hear golfers saying things like; "I wish we weren't starting on a par 3 (or tight par five or tough par four)." Make up your mind that the hole you are starting on is the best one for a low score for your team.
  • Don't predict what you might shoot. This puts you in a realistic comfort zone. You will produce what you think. This kind of thinking will have you believe that is the only possible range.
  • Don't talk to yourself in generalizations. When you make a mistake, don't make statements like, "It's going to be that kind of day!" This will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Just because it happened once or twice doesn't mean it will happen again. Play each shot as if it is the most important shot you will hit in that round.
Here are some do's for scoring low:
  • Commit to a pre-shot routine. Take the time to use the same routine on every shot so your brain will know exactly what to tell your body to create.
  • Breathe deeply to relax and focus. This is an important step in letting go of distractions and focusing within.
  • Let go of worrying about shooting your "A" Game. A champion's mindset is to get the ball in the hole and not worry about how they are hitting it.
  • Increase your focus on the last three holes of the round. This is where most tournaments are won or lost. Make up your mind ahead of time that you can stay in the game and finish strong.
Are you the designated long driver? Hitting the ball long off the tee certainly makes the second shot into the green easier, but only if the ball has a good lie. The scramble format is psychologically easier because you are able to place the ball and "tee it up" through the green.

Swing within yourself to access your own personal tempo. Check your balance when you complete your swing to see if you have done this. The ball will go farther and straighter with a smooth, easy, effortless swing than with a forceful, jerky swing.

How to add distance

Golf is different from other sports. In golf, less is more. Hitting the ball further is not accomplished by swinging harder. Here are 5 tips for taking advantage of having a good lie to go for additional distance:

  1. Increase your clubhead speed. Clubhead speed can be heard by the whoosh of the club on the downswing. The greater the clubhead speed, the louder the sound. The lighter the grip pressure, especially in your right hand, will increase the whoosh. Feeling as if you are going to throw the club instead of hitting at the ball will increase clubhead speed.
  2. Hit the ball on the center of the club. The best center-face hits happen when your club is in the correct ball position and you swing your arms and hands extended without tension throughout the swing.
  3. Set up for good clubface and body alignment. Take the time to use an intermediate target for the best alignment. Pick a spot two feet in front of the ball on your target line and place your clubface perpendicular to that spot. Draw a line from the intermediate spot to the ball to visualize a parallel line on which to place your feet.
  4. Breathe normally and don't hold your breath. For extra added power and distance, exhale on the downswing releasing all of your energy into the impact.
  5. Swing through to your target. As Harvey Pennick said, "Take dead aim (on your target)."
Joan King is the founder and President of POSITIVE MENTAL IMAGERY, a mental sports consulting service dedicated to helping golfers achieve their peak performances. She can be contacted at 828-696-2547 or via email, info@pmi4.com. Her Website is www.pmi4.com.

FLORIDA FAIRWAYS, Defining the Southern Golf Lifestyle, the Treasure Coast/Palm Beach Edition, WINTER 2003

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Positive Mental Imagery
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Flat Rock, NC 28731
Phone: 828.696.2547
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