Our reactions to what has happened on the golf course will either ruin or improve our chances of success on our next shot. When we have a bad reaction to a shot’s outcome our body tenses up. This restricts the muscles that control our swing mechanics and also inhibits our ability to make good decisions. Did you ever notice that once you get upset it becomes a downward spiral?
Learning to understand and control our reactions can have a significant impact on our golf game. What sets you off when you are playing golf; the weather, playing partners, bad shots? Once you know your trigger(s) you can begin to take steps to keep them under your control. The next time you feel at your wits’ ends on the golf course, stop and notice what was the trigger, how are you breathing, and what your heart rate is doing. Once we understand that our reactions affect our actions we can take our game to new levels.
Knowing our triggers before the downward spiral occurs allows us to take action to preserve the rest of our round. If something triggers a negative reaction, take a movement to just notice what is happening to you physically then switch the channel. Take a deep breath, let the negative reaction pass through you and refocus on the job at hand. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, focus on what you want to happen. Notice the beautiful surroundings you are in. If your shot had not gone in the woods would you have seen the pine cones, smelled the fresh scent of pine, saw the sunlight reflecting from the tree tops?
Changing your perspective will change your golf experience. We need to focus on what we can control and let go of what we cannot. This is a secret professional golfers spend a lot of time working on. As amateur golfers we think practice is all about swing mechanics and some of you may have even included fitness training. But if you really want to improve your game spend time working on mental mastery. By the way, the par three shot that missed the green belonged to Tiger Woods at Augusta. He didn’t blow up, he focused on the job at hand and the next shot became the famous Nike logo golf ball hanging on the edge of the cup that fell in for birdie. The shot in the woods belonged to Bubba Watson. He maintained his focus and curved the ball through the trees like a guided missile. These are both shots that have gone down into the history of the great game of golf because the pro maintained the perspective of possibility. Want to improve your game? Learn to change your perspective and make each shot important enough to demand your full attention no matter where it takes you.