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Newsletter November 2023

Overthinking your situation will cause a missed shot. Not letting go of a missed shot will also sabotage your round.

How you view yourself and your golf game determines the success and enjoyment you will have. Not being able to let go of a missed shot is one of those life lessons. Holding on to feeling bad about yourself because you didn't perform up to your expectations will ruin your self-confidence and cause you to be tentative on subsequent shots.

Since we are the only ones who think in our own minds, letting go in life and in golf requires a change in our belief about ourselves. Here are what some of the pros do to change their thinking about bad shots:

Tom Watson said, "I had learned from years of experience with this intriguing little game of ours to simply put it out of my mind. There was nothing I could do to replay the shot, so why worry about it?"

Walter Hagen said he expected to hit seven bad shots a round.

Ben Hogan was one of the most skilled golf ball strikers on the planet. He once said that he expected to hit about 7-10 bad shots per round. So when he did hit a less than perfect shot, he didn't react negatively. He accepted it as one of those 5-7 shots and moved on.

Bounce Back is a stat on the PGA Tour

The PGA Tour tracks bounce backs for its players. According to the PGA "Bounce Back is a stat that measures how a golfer recovers after a bogey or worse to make birdie or better on the next hole."

Bad shots are part of golf, even for those who are The PGA Tour's top players. There is no such thing as a perfectly played round. The difference between pros and amateurs is that the best players don't let a bad shot lead to another bad shot which could produce a bad hole.

Even on your best days, one bad swing can ruin a hole. Without a positive mental attitude it can escalate to more bad holes and even ruin the round.   

It is important to keep the game in perspective. When a person falls apart after a bad shot or a bad hole they are thinking "all" or "nothing." Remember that the bad shot or bad hole is only a fraction of the entire round and that there is sufficient time to bounce back. Avoid negative self-talk such as "It's going to be that kind (bad) of day." Learn from your mistakes and move on to the next shot. Use your mistakes as motivation to play the rest of the holes well. Tell yourself that you are going to enjoy each shot no matter what the outcome.

This is the time to remember your best shots, to encourage yourself with positive messages and to relax. When "the wheels come off," golfers usually begin to swing faster from nervousness. Concentrate on regaining your rhythm and tempo by slowing down your pace of play. Take practice swings before you hit the next shot to feel your personal timing and tempo. This will help you get back into the same frame of mind for every shot.

Tiger Woods showed us his emotions on the golf course. When he was successful, he celebrated with a powerful fist pump. When he was upset with his performance, he swore and slammed his clubs like any other golfer.

Tiger had a strategy for getting out his frustration. He gave himself 10 steps forward after hitting a bad shot to let his anger go. After those ten steps he was ready for the next shot. He taught this concept to his son Charlie to control his emotions. Tiger was quoted as saying:

"Son, I don't care how mad you get. Your head could blow off for all I care, just as long as you're 100% percent committed to the next shot. The next shot should be the most important in your life. It should be more important than breathing."

Your strategy for bouncing back is to be patient and not frustrate yourself more. Everyone who has played the game of golf knows that the game can turn around on the next shot. It is important to regain a relaxed state by deep breathing to slow down your thinking and physical arousal level.

5 physical routines for bouncing back

1.       Bad shots create frustration. Vent your anger quickly in a manner that doesn't involve others. Golfers usually use a favorite swear word to vent the anger.

2.       Create a physical trigger to announce to yourself that it is time to let go and move on to the next shot. An example would be undoing the Velcro on your glove, or taking your glove off

3.         "Shake it off" by  tapping your shoe or the ground a couple of times with your club (putter) as a signal you have let go of the missed shot.

4.       Create a "moving-on" routine. Decide that once you put the club back in your golf bag, the last shot is over. Move on.

5.       Release your tension by taking slow, deep cleansing breaths. Give yourself a positive self-affirming directive like "It's over. I am ready for the next shot."

Mental strategies for bouncing back

  • The first rule for bouncing back is to accept that mistakes are part of this great game of golf.
  • The higher your handicap, the more you need to allow yourself to make mistakes.
  • Remind yourself the bad shot is only a small part of the entire round.
  • Let go of the missed shot and emotion before you step up to hit your next shot.
  • Take deep breaths to release tension and anxiety.
  • When you make a big number, remember that you can't make it all up on the next hole. Accept that it might take a few holes.
  • Keep the ball in play. This is not the time to try and pull off a miracle shot.
  • Think conservatively about what you need to do to create your next shot, not about what didn't work.
  • Use your pre-shot routine to get prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Play "in the zone" with Joan

      Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances 

Additional newsletters on all aspects of the mental golf game are available on the Positive Mental Imagery website at www.pmi4.com Archived Newsletters.

To train your brain for improving and trusting your short game, listen to the Positive Mental Imagery self-empowering guided imagery self-hypnosis CDs/MP3s in the privacy of your own home. Eight different empowerment audios are available at www.pmi4.com/cart

If these golf tips are of value to you and you would like to improve your mental golf game, call Joan for a complimentary 15-minute consultation. She can be reached by phone at 828.707.5478, by email at pmi4@bellsouth.net or through the Positive Mental Imagery website or blog.




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