For a while, when playing tournaments, it seemed that I used to either play with or have tee times near, the same players from event to event. I remember there was one player in particular who I used to dread playing with, John, he was an angry golfer. Clubs were never thrown but were invariably given a good swipe into the ground or sometimes an aggressive crash into his bag. His frustration and anger grew as he went round and he invariably played worse as he went on. One day I was drawn with him, my heart sank, it wasn’t doing me any good either. This particular round, he was once again having a bad day at the office, but, not a tantrum in sight. He was calm and peaceful and actually played better towards the back end of the round. Afterwards, I was curious, I asked him, how come. He told me that he and his wife had just had a baby daughter and when he got home, she didn’t care whether he had played well or not, she was just pleased to see him. That’s what he thought about if he hit a bad shot or had a bad hole and so no matter what, it still made today a good day. His inner picture of his good day had changed.
What does your good day feel like? Keep that feeling.
What does your good game look like? Strive to keep this in mind.
It is important to know that it is impossible to feel bad and at the same time have good thoughts just as it`s impossible to have a silly grin on your face and think of an unpleasant situation. Changes in our thoughts, posture, breathing, muscle tension and facial expression will affect the way we feel in an instant.
Your mental state can make or break you on the course. When the game gets tough and you are frustrated because you feel like you are not making the shots you want or you miss that straight forward putt, again. Once the round is finished the practice ground is the place to sort method out, but for, NOW, you have got to be able to do something.
Getting back on track is not easy but positive thoughts are essential, it may be something personal, like John thinking of his new daughter, or for you it may be just thinking of a place you love or a time when you had a great day and what that day felt like. Past experiences are good, as you can think back and while walking down the fairway, remember how it felt when you were playing well, draw on this to create a better attitude and as a result you may be able to stay focused on the job in hand. A more relaxed player will emerge and you can perform better. It will not guarantee good results but it will be better than getting annoyed and frustrated.
Your thoughts affect your moods
Your moods affect your body response
Your body response affects your performance
If you let them, your frustration will eat away at your confidence and if you remain in that place, performances will suffer. To be told that you need to forget the last shot and move on is easier said than done. Learn to give yourself a bit of slack. If you hit good shots all the time you would be winning every week on tour or at your club. Acceptance of a bad shot, but perhaps more importantly, acceptance that you are going to hit bad shots whether in practice or on the course is key to performing better.