Being a hypnotherapist, I have a weak spot for anything that uses the mind and particularly the imagination to make us successful at sports. Combine that with being an amateur golfer in Hong Kong and I’m totally hooked on the mental side of the game. I saw the US Open at Merion this year and got to see how the world’s best golfers dealt with an unimaginably difficult course layout. In fact, the biggest star and competition of the tournament was the golf course itself.
How would you have dealt with this course?
3 MENTAL GOLF LESSONS
Of all the US Open's post mortems, one that I found fascinating was written by Matt Long in Podium Sports Journal. In it, he quotes Sam Snead’s comment that golf is just getting mentally tougher and tougher. Professionals today know this well and play the mental game to win tournaments. Here's the jist of it:
Lesson number 3: Mental Preparation is a winning strategy
A lot of players (including me) head off to the driving range to practice a day before an important game. But Phil Mickelson focused on his mental preparation instead. Because he had to take an overnight flight to Philadelphia, he went from the airport to the golf course as soon as he got off the plane. To everyone’s surprise, he was the leader of the first round and played exceptionally well that day. What did he do on that overnight flight? He studied his notes on the course from his previous rounds, relived his past experiences in his imagination and visualized himself playing successfully.
Conclusion number three: Don't forget your mental preparation before the game. Plan your strategy, establish realistic goals and plan how you’ll tackle those tough holes ( like the 6th hole on the East Course KSC?) . Visualize yourself doing great on these holes. Feel how good it is to be confident and unflappable no matter what happens. This just might get you a lower score than practicing your shots over and over at the range.
The next time you play golf, make it a mental game.
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