Archived Newsletters - SELF MASTERY FOR LOWER GOLF SCORES :
Newsletter April 2010
Spring has arrived! In the Northern hemisphere, renewal is apparent with an increase in energy and activity. The golf courses are alive with golfers who are thrilled with the warmth after the cold, snowy winter. Nature is bursting forth as flowering trees put forth new white, red, lavender and pink flowers before displaying the green leaves of new growth. Daffodils, crocuses, tulips are in full bloom adding color and inspiration and optimism. The birds are singing their songs of joy announcing the new season. This is a time of new beginnings.
During the winter the buds of spring have gone underground because of the snow and ice. Just as the flowers are awakening after a long winter’s sleep, it is time for you to awaken and understand that some of your belief systems may be keeping you from warming up your best golf games.
Your success on the golf course will come in terms of your self knowledge, your self awareness, and your ability to understand why you do what you do. Do you understand why you have reacted to things in certain ways? If you know why, you can then choose to react to them in new, more flexible ways. This is a great month for self-knowledge, self-awareness and self-care.
Criticism is a faculty of the ego. Criticizing or finding fault with yourself or others is detrimental to your self worth. When you focus on something you add energy to it. It is important that you look for the good in everyone and everything.
By now you have seen the Nike commercial where Earl Woods asks questions of Tiger after a tournament round:
What was your thinking?
What were your feelings?
Did you learn anything?
Pia Nilssen asked Annika Sorenstam to ponder these questions after she had a discouraging tournament round:
What was good?
What can be better?
How are you going to do it?
The way you perceive and interpret what happens is a key to your success. Everything that happens on the golf course is a mini picture of life. These two great golf coaches knew that after a round, most golfers talk about what went wrong with their golf swings. But how you react to self-doubt, stress, distraction, anger and frustration will give you more important feedback. Honest introspection and awareness will increase your confidence instead of breaking it down.
For those of you who have taken my workshop, answer the questions on the Daily Journal page after each round of golf to bring your psychological and emotional selves back into alignment.
Change your Expectations
Golfers use both sides of the coin in regard to expectations. Which side you look at is a matter of choice. Both sides are always equally available. At times golfers believe and have a feeling that they will achieve a certain low score. How many times have you said to yourself after a great front nine? “If I shoot the same on the back nine I will have a great score.”
While expectations are of the future, you can be either hopeful, or apprehensive about the outcome. Is there a hole on your golf course where you continually hit a shot to get you into trouble, and you expect it to happen every time? Do you have a certain club that you don’t like and expect to have poor results with it?
After the long winter inside, what are your expectations when you play for the first time? Will you expect to play to last summer’s handicap? Are you afraid of embarrassing yourself in front of your friends?
Expectations create mental pictures in your mind, and feelings about the outcome. Focusing on the outcome puts your mind in the future. When playing your best golf, your conscious and unconscious minds are in sync, both focused in the present moment. Being focused in the present moment means letting go of all past and future thoughts. Expecting something to happen puts your mind in the future, and you no longer have control over the present.
Stress happens when golf shots don’t meet your expectations and you don’t manage your reaction. Stress/anxiety is the enemy of golfers. When we feel anxious about a situation, our body chemistry changes, and everything speeds up including our golf swings.
If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s,
we would grab ours back. ----Anonymous
Take control and stay in the present moment by letting go of expectations and hope. When the thought of expecting a certain result comes into your mind, listen to it, honor it, let it go, and then use your preshot routine to put yourself back in the present.
Slow play is the biggest problem for golfers and management. Are you a Type “A” person who likes to play without delay? Do you expect everyone else to play at your desired pace? When the pace of play slows down, do you complain that it is ruining your rhythm? To become a successful golfer your thinking must be flexible for all situations.
What happens if we pause, reflect on the situation and find other choices that we can connect to? Then we can control our thoughts, find our balance again and release the fear. Expert golfers know that the only thing worse than slow play…. is constantly talking about it, which stirs up emotions, causing yet another distraction. Distractions take us out of the moment.
Let go of expectations and trust that you can stick to your game plan. Tiger’s strategy where he had his lowest first round Masters score yesterday was:
- Go about my business
- Stay focused
- Try not to give any shots away
- Keep plodding along.
It is physically impossible to be relaxed and anxious at the same time. Choose which state will give you the results you desire. The trees do not struggle with their urge to blossom. The seeds do not strain to refrain from sprouting. Change is designed into the order of the universe.
This spring, be willing to be aware of the thoughts in your mind that are distracting you. Be willing to think something positive instead of an old but familiar negative thought.
The energy of Spring is now bringing forth new life. The trees and flowers waiting to bloom, trust that the sun will come back in perfect timing to start their growth. Sow your seeds now of playful thoughts and beliefs. Weed out the old habitual ways of thinking that do not serve you. And you will find yourself bursting forth with new successes on the golf course. Enjoy each moment.
Entrain Your Heart & Brain for Peak Performances!
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