Good Golf Begins in the Mind!

November 16, 2012

Is Golf the hardest game that humans play? Many have made this argument, but a good game of golf truly begins in the mind. Think of how the ball just sits there and the golfer has time to out think themselves before trying to hit the shot.

Taking lessons seeks to improve ones swing and bring about better ball control by having a better technique. The golfer and instructor begin with efforts to improve the grip, wrist action, hips, leg work or some other important swing movement. Bobby Jones said that golf is played on a 6″ course between our ears. All physical movement in a golf swing or stroke starts in the mind!

Improvement in ones golf game begins in the mind First.

Jack Nicklaus said that he is certain he would not have achieved anything in golf without a precise knowledge of cause and effect. In other words, what is required in terms of club/ball impact to make the golf ball travel in a particular manner? Moving along with swing corrections on the physical level and not having the mental side sorted out is a recipe for disaster.

Countless articles have been written to help golfers correct slicing the driver. They deliver brilliant drills and techniques to fix the problem. Ben Hogan said in his book 5 Lessons over 50 years ago, “If you were teaching a child how to open a door, you wouldn’t open the door for him and then describe at length how the door looked when it was open. No, you would teach him how to turn the doorknob so that he could open the door himself.” This article is your lesson on how to open the door for yourself and start swinging better.

Go from slicing the ball to hitting straight:

Physical lesson:
Swing the driver more around on an arc.
Your arms wrists and hands have the greatest effect on the clubface.
Rotate the club so the face closes through impact.
Use your forearms, wrists and hands to release the clubface through impact.
Keeping your eyes level equals a level turn.

Mental lesson
As you look at the layout of a hole and its fairway, the first thing you should do is have an awareness of your thoughts. Just as important as choosing the right club, is choosing the right mindset. Take a look at what old recordings are playing, thoughts like, “I keep slicing the ball, I hope I don’t slice it again on this hole,” “The fairway is so narrow and there are hazards on both sides, I hope I don’t go into a hazard,” or “The last time I played this hole, my ball went in the water, I hope I don’t do that again.”

The body will always react to these type of thoughts in a negative manner. Think about it for a minute… if you think about something worrisome, like financial difficulties, your body will react with tension and possibly elevated blood pressure. When you think of sitting on an exotic beach with a warm breeze flowing over your skin and your feet in the white sand, your body will feel relaxed and at ease (as long as this thought is something you would perceive as a good experience). Thoughts and fear of slicing the ball or your ball going into a hazard will result in tension in your body and glitches in your swing, ultimately causing your ball to follow an undesirable path.

As you choose your club, choose your thoughts. With awareness, process the environmental conditions, as you process your mental condition. Clear your mind of negative and limiting thoughts, I can’ts and don’ts. Bring in positive thoughts, I cans and I wills. Believe in yourself and your abilities, as you see your swing, arc and path in your mind. With a positive, confident feeling see your ball flight and landing. Trust yourself and the knowledge you have on your grip, wrist action, hips, leg work, and other swing movement. Relax into the experience as you allow your body to perform to the best of its ability.

Now you can see how a good game of golf tryly does begin in the mind… your mind.

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