By Paul Myers
Golf is a game that can be as challenging mentally as it is physically. In order to play your best golf on a consistent basis, you will have to get your mind in the right place to perform under pressure – like when you feel nervous over a short putt or before hitting a shot over water. Nerves are relatively common on the golf course and you don’t have to try to get rid of them. But if at the least you can learn how to perform with them, you can help make sure they don’t stand in your way of success.
What is Your Barrier?
Every golfer is different, and many have set up a mental barrier for themselves without even knowing it. For example, imagine you are a golfer who usually shoots in the mid to upper 80’s, but has never managed to finish with a score in the 70’s. You might have built that goal up in your mind to the point that it is getting in your way, and could be putting too much pressure on yourself to break the 80 barrier. As you get later in a round and are playing well, you may tighten up and have your play suffer until you are north of 80 like you are used to.
In order to break down that wall and successfully complete a round in the 70’s, you will need to get ‘out of your own way’. Playing good golf requires focus on each individual shot that you face – hopefully you won’t be thinking about the scorecard in the middle of the round. As long as you are fully committed to every shot that you hit, the score can better take care of itself.
Lose Yourself in the Process
Hitting just one good golf shot can be hard enough, even in practice. Hitting a bunch of them in a row, on the course, when you are feeling nervous, can seem impossible. This could be a case of not trying to run the whole marathon before you take the first step. In order to conquer any challenge you face on the golf course, it can be important to take the process as it comes to you, one shot at a time. You can’t physically birdie the last hole when you are only on the 11th – it just isn’t possible. Instead, you should be doing everything you can to play the 11th hole as well as you are able, and then move on to the next. This might sound like a boring way to go about it, but playing in the present is a better way to succeed.
Chances are that you physical game is already good enough to reach your next goal – you just don’t know it yet. Most golfers are capable of much more than they think they are, but they allow their expectations to hold them back. Try not to place barriers in front of what you can do on the course. Instead, play each shot to the absolute best of your ability, and look forward to seeing what you get at the end of the round.
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