If you are like me, the “mental game” is the toughest aspect of golf. It is the one that keeps me from shooting lower scores than I am capable of. I am a pretty good golfer (I carry a 3-handicap) but I know that if I could get my mind right on the course, I would be able to shoot some very low scores.
What is the “mental game”? Well, it is all of those things that happen in your head while you are playing that you have no control over. It includes things like:
– Nerves when on the first tee and hitting your drive into the trees or out of bounds.
– Not thinking about your swing while you are swinging and overthinking it when you are not (i.e. standing on the tee).
– Focusing too much on your score or scorecard instead of each shot at a time.
– Getting angry at yourself and other golfers, frustration with bad shots, etc.
I was playing in my first golf tournament at the age of 16 and I was in the final group on the last hole. I remember teeing off with a hybrid and thinking “I can’t get this up in the air.” The hole was a par 3 and played about 150 yards. I hit it about 135 yards, but it had enough spin that it pinched back to about 4 feet from the cup and I made birdie. The next three shots were from about 5 feet from the cup and all missed. I ended up forcing a playoff with a par on the 18th hole, but lost by one stroke.
It’s probably not a surprise to you that I hit that golf shot without even thinking about it. My mind was clear and there were no thoughts running through my head as I swung. It felt like time slowed down and everything seemed to happen in slow motion. This is what is called being in “the zone” or “flow”. Have you ever been there?
What’s happening when we are in the zone? Our subconscious mind has taken over our swing mechanics, our muscles are firing at just the right time (at “speed”) and we are thinking only about our target. We don’t think about how we are swinging; we just swing
If you are a golfer then you know how frustrating it is to have a bad game. So much time and effort is put into practicing with the goal of playing well when the time comes, but sometimes that doesn’t work out. The problem with golf is that it’s not only about what you do physically, it matters what’s going on in your head. Let’s face it, golf isn’t an easy sport and good players have been working on their game for years. It takes time to perfect your skill and become comfortable with playing well.
A while ago I was playing a round of golf with some friends at my home course. I was having one of those days where nothing seemed to go right, I couldn’t get any rhythm or concentration going and I kept getting distracted by everything around me. We were at the par-3 13th hole, which has always been a tough one for me because of its length (151 yards from the white tees). This day was no different for me; even though I hit my shot pretty close to the pin, I still ended up with a bogey because of an errant putt. Not happy about my score but looking forward to another chance at redemption on the next hole, we continued play only to find ourselves
This article is about the phrase. For other uses, see Hole in One (disambiguation).
Hole-in-one on the 16th hole at Green Valley Ranch golf club in Denver, Colorado.
A hole-in-one or hole in one (also known as an ace, mostly in American English) is when a ball hit from a tee to start a hole finishes in the cup. This is achieved with one stroke or shot by an amateur golfer or with no more than one shot by a professional golfer. A hole-in-one is uncommon and usually very fortuitous; according to the National Hole-in-One Registry, odds of an amateur acing a hole are approximately 12,500 to 1, while the odds for a professional are approximately 3,000 to 1. The chance of making two holes-in-one in a round of golf has been estimated at 1 in 67 million. These odds assume that the golfer uses only a standard driver on a par 3 hole, and that he/she is not aided by wind or other favorable conditions. Under these conditions, an average golfer would need to play approximately 60,000 rounds of golf before expecting to make a single hole
It’s easy to get excited about the first golf tournament of the year. But where should our focus be as we prepare for the first big event of the year? I’d like to suggest that there are three key areas we should pay attention to in order to play our best golf:
1. Our swing
2. Our strategy
3. Our mental game
In this article, I will highlight some important things to focus on related to your mental game and how to practice effectively both on and off the course.
I don’t know of golfers who don’t love to tell their stories about the time they made a hole-in-one. It’s an incredible experience and one that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. The only thing better than hitting a hole in one is witnessing someone else do it.
If you’ve never hit a hole in one, I’m sure you’ve watched other people try to do it. You’re thinking, “I want to hit a hole in one.” It’s not easy. It takes practice, patience, and perseverance. I’m going to share with you how to make it happen.
First, here are some statistics on how often players make holes in one:
* On average, most golfers actually hit a hole in one once every 12,750 shots (roughly 1 in every 13000 shots)
* A professional golfer has an average of 3 holes-in-one per year
* The most famous golfer to have the most holes in one was none other than the late, great Arnold Palmer with an astounding 48 holes-in-one during his lifetime
I’m going to begin this post by informing you of my belief that golf, in the main, is a mental game. Sure, one needs to be able to hit a driver 250 yards down the middle and get up and down from 60 yards away in order to compete at the highest level, but I think that if you ask any professional golfer what is the one thing that separates them from their peers, they will tell you that it is their ability to manage the game between their ears.
I believe that anyone can learn how to swing a golf club. It takes time, practice and dedication but it’s possible for anyone. The same can be said about learning how to putt – it takes time and practice but it can be done by anyone.
The separating factor between good golfers and great golfers is their ability to manage the game between their ears. This is why I work with many of my clients on developing this skill. Although this particular blog post is going to focus on managing your emotions, managing your thoughts (mental rehearsal for example) will be covered in future posts.
Many of us have been conditioned – either through parenting or school or perhaps our careers – to think that we shouldn’t show emotion as it’s seen as a sign of weakness