Archived Newsletters - Positive Attitude:
Newsletter July 2000,
Vol. I, Edition 8
Dear Golf Enthusiast,
PMI is pleased to provide this free electronic newsletter, Mental Coaching for Golf to give you information for balancing your mind-body-spirit so you can play golf effortlessly, free from distractions, trusting your swing, confident, focused, and enjoying the game more!
Thanks for subscribing. With your subscription you will receive tips and insightful information at the beginning of each month to help you develop a winner's mentality for your golf game by balancing your mental, physical and spiritual bodies.
This month's topic is about developing a positive attitude about your golf game. A positive attitude is important because it directly impacts your performance. A negative attitude becomes an obstacle to accessing your potential.
"A positive thinker learns to knock the "t" off the "can't."
Since early childhood, most of us have been taught values and resulting attitudes that have been framed in the negative. We are so used to expressing ourselves in the negative, it sometimes becomes impossible to think of a positive way of expression.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? How are you affected when you hit a shot out of bounds or in a water hazard? Pessimists internalize missed shots believing the missed shots will continue and undermine their game. Optimists, on the other hand, believe that a missed shot is only a temporary setback or they view it as a challenge. Do you look for solutions, or more problems? Or do you put the missed shot behind you, and continue with your positive strategy?
In aeronautics, attitude is the direction of the airplane in relationship to the horizon. Think of attitude in relationship to your goals. If you lean toward your goal, you have a positive attitude. If you lean away, you have a negative goal.
The bad news is that nobody can be positive 100% of the time, and perhaps that is one reason why golf scores are inconsistent. The good news is that you can change your attitude, just as any bad habit can be changed. Your attitude is your choice. The sooner you decide to choose how you will think positively about yourself and your golf game, the less anxiety you will have and the more you will enjoy your rounds of golf. Don't waste your round of golf looking at "half empty" glasses and making a victim of yourself. Make your round of golf the most enjoyable experience possible.
Tom Watson said it never bothered him to miss a green because one of four things could happen, and three of them were good:
- He could hole the shot from off the green, or out of the bunker.
- He could hit it close and tap it in.
- He could hit it poorly and make a good putt. Or,
- He could hit it poorly and miss the putt.
He said, if you added up all those scores; a birdie, two pars, and a bogey; it came to even par. So if you practiced your short game, you had nothing to fear.
Your attitude is just a habit of thought that you have put into your subconscious mind. Your attitude is energy producing and effects your emotional level. I am always surprised at the way people talk to themselves on the golf course and are unaware of the negative statements they produce. The worst attitude to have is to be judgmental about yourself, or your game, which is self-rejection. Every time you repeat the judgment the pattern in your subconscious mind becomes stronger and you lose more confidence in your own ability.
Ben Hogan loved the game, and loved to practice. This was his attitude:
"I have loved playing the game, and practicing it, whether my schedule the next day called for a tournament, or a trip to the practice range. The prospect that there was going to be golf in it, made me privileged and happy. I couldn't wait for the sun to come up the next morning to play the course again."
The first step to changing your negative attitudes is to be aware of them. Monitor what you say silently to yourself, as well as what you say out loud to your playing partners. For example, if you don't like playing in windy conditions, change your attitude by reframing your thoughts. Reframing means to take a negative or bad situation or thought and reframe it in a positive way. Repeat positive thoughts such as: "I like playing in the wind because it helps when I am driving downwind. When I am against the wind, I get a chance to swing easier." Repeat a jingle such as, WHEN IT IS BREEZY, SWING EASY to form a positive fun habit of thought as a reminder.
In an interview at the Senior Open this weekend, Jack Nicklaus' strong mental attitude was evident when he said he didn't worry about missing greens. He knew he could get his chip shot within 10 feet and he never missed anything within ten feet.
"That which you can Conceive,
plus that which you can Believe,
is that which you can Achieve."
C + B = A
The following are good mental golf attitudes to adopt:
- Golf is a fun game to play. Believe in your ability to have fun.
- Play each shot as if it is the only shot you will hit today.
- Believe that you can get the ball up and down from anywhere.
- Use the natural elements (wind, rain, cold, heat) as your friend.
- Be responsible for your pace of play. Let others be responsible for theirs.
- Play target golf; ball-hole.
- Think thoughts that will produce rewarding shots.
- Enjoy your good shots. Let go of judging the outcome of your shots.
- Affirm your confidence in yourself and in your ability.
- Change your limiting beliefs and you change your game.
- Treat yourself as you would your best friend.
"The good news is that the bad news can be turned into
good news when you change your attitude."
-Dr. Robert H. Schuller