Ever wonder why some days you have a round that seems effortless? Everything you look at seems possible. More often than not, you pull off amazing drives or drain putt after putt, giving you a record-setting round that you just can’t duplicate again for some reason! Why is that? It’s so frustrating and mesmerizing when it returns two weeks or two years later!
Here’s my opinion about this subject and I welcome yours. It’s seems when I’m playing a great round, I’m only focused on one or two fundamentals. not three or four.
My mind is relatively clear from anything else that’s troubling in my life. I’m free from thoughts about work, a fight I had with a spouse or friend, or the guy who can’t go golfing without his cell phone on. You just can’t play this crazy game unless you can self hypnotize or find a Zen within yourself, a feeling of ease and tranquility. Professional athletes pay big bucks for mind coaches to help them become better at focus and confidence in themselves. Pushing away self doubt and “Am I good enough to play at this level?”
Mind coaching is not for those who lack mental toughness. It is for those who have already reached a level of skill in golf or anything else. Confident, successful people are not afraid to discover just how much higher they can climb. They seek out help from others or have an ability to self educate and meditate on a higher level than most.
I was watching Pat Perez this past month win his third PGA Tour event since turning pro in 1997. Why only three wins in 20 years and two of them in 2017? I think something clicked for him at the 2017 OHL Classic at Mayakoba and again this past month’s at the CIMB Classic. With his last win over eight years ago in 2009, he tied for fifth immediately following the CIMB Classic win at the CJ Cup in Soul Korea. His mind is clear for now, and he’s dialed into a feeling that he can compete. Like so many others on tour, they’re all crazy good from tee to green, but it’s that critical short game that determines winners from runner-ups. Mind games can creep into your head, and then you’re in trouble with the smaller muscles in your hands, arms, and shoulders. They tense up or become too loose. The larger leg and back muscles can go on automatic pilot, but the muscles required to hit a properly judged chip or putt require a well balanced mind clear of any distractions from the outside world.
My suggestion to anyone having trouble with consistency is to practice more but also get to a point where you know what you need to do before you hit that shot. See it in your mind and feel it in your body. Relax and empty out what’s been in your thoughts all week or just a few moments ago. Go to a happy place like from the movie “Happy Gilmore.” Take out any thoughts of self doubt or a memory from a poor shot. You won’t make everything, but you’ll differently be more consistent. That’s worked for me when I can pull it off. It’s not easy, and not easy for the pros who are winning right now. I once heard a commentator say about Tiger Woods, “There’s a beautiful mind.” How else could a professional reach the level of confidence and maturity that Tiger once had? I think due to his troubles in his personal life, he’s lost that ability to clear his mind and keeps thinking about what once was: a happy family life and “I’m the best out here!” Years ago, I walked next to Jack Nicklaus on a final hole. He was having trouble pulling his drives left. I’ll never forget what he said to himself. “Come on Jack, show these people who your are!” Last month during a round, I had several negative thoughts running over and over in my mind. I shot the worst round I’ve played in 10 years! I tried everything to get it back that day, but I’m certain now it was those thoughts about money issues, deadlines, and romance gone bad. My hands, shoulders, and back were tense. The next round, I relaxed and emptied my mind. “I’m here to have fun,” I kept saying! My game returned, plus a valuable lesson was learned. Golf shouldn’t be a game of effort for your body or your mind. It should feel effortless.
See ya on the links.