Do you acknowledge the positive things you do during a round?
Performance tip by Michelle Steyn, BSI Golf Coach and PGA Diploma Graduate 2021
As much as the game of golf requires technical skill and mental fortitude, these are not the only aspects of a successful round. Your attitude and ability to move on from a bad swing or awkward lie, even an unlucky bounce holds as much importance as one’s concern for their stroke average. Golfers often get caught up during a round based on a previous hole’s shortfalls ie. where they dropped a couple of strokes, lost a ball or overshot the green. Not being able to move on and focus on the next hole makes the game even harder and more challenging. A bad swing or unwanted outcome of a shot is almost guaranteed.
On the flip side, so few golfers give themselves enough credit for all the good things they put out there, such as: managing their expectations successfully, establishing a golf routine they commit to, creating realistic goals for themselves or practicing with purpose.
As Patrick Ness once said, “It’s not how we fall that defines us, it is how we get back up that matters”, allowing yourself the space to make mistakes, or the opportunity to recover regardless of poor shot, shows your character over your precision. Being able to leave the previous hole behind, to reset and to recommit, focusing on the good shots, clutch putts and being 100% committed on your next shot can completely change your game! We all tend to be hard on ourselves, wanting to better our score each and every game, but we also need to be realistic and kind to ourselves while we navigate this incredible sport.
Move on from what already happened and learn from it to improve. Beating yourself up after every poor shot or decision will only cause resentment for the game. Like anything in life, golf is a relationship. There needs to be give and take, respect and commitment, hard work and of course the bad days. But what you focus on will manifest itself, and if all you focus on is the failures, that is all it will ever be. What could happen if you focused on what you are doing right?
It is easy to sit and talk about these changes, but how do we implement this during a challenging round where scoring is tough and nothing is working out?
Enforce and repeat the following guidelines:
- Reflect during the round on what you are doing right and ask yourself
- Am I controling my breathing?
- Do I go through a proper pre-shot routine?
- Setting up with purpose for the shot I desire to play?
- Do I control what can be controllable?
- Did I commit 100% in the shot, no matter the outcome?
If answered YES to the above, then own the good things you did to get the best possible outcome.
- Reflect after the round on the positives and negatives
- This way you will identify that there are much more good things to hold on to and be proud of than dwelling on the negatives
- Practice with purpose and the deligence on the level you want to perform
- Positive self-talk
- Create challenging, but realistic goals
- Stop making excuses
- Never give up, focus on the positive efforts you put in on and off course
- Be proud of yourself and have fun.
Giving yourself credit where credit is due will help you to move on easier from a bad shot and place you back in position to finish off strong and with integrity.