In most areas of the U.S. we are in the middle of winter and golf games are intermittent due to weather conditions. Days where your golf game is sidelined would be a good time to review basics for consistent mental golf programming. My Positive Mental Imagery 4 Cs program addresses the four main areas in which golfers would like to improve; concentration, confidence, consistency and control. We will start with concentration.
Focusing or concentrating in the moment is a skill that you can develop as well as any professional golfer. It is a mental skill in which you can excel no matter what your handicap is. Being completely engrossed in the process of performing a shot is known as being in the “flow” or “in the zone” where peak performances occur.
Concentration is not thinking. It is not an analytical process where you think about what is going on, what has happened in the past, or what will happen in the future. When you are totally engrossed in what you are doing (focusing), the past and future thoughts disappear and you are experiencing the process in the moment. Concentration is focusing your attention on the process of creating the present golf shot as it is taking place.
The ability to focus your mind is all-important in achieving a successful performance. For most people, concentration constantly shifts from outside attention between shots to inside sensual attention of yourself for the actual shots.
Lack of Concentration
Golf is called a mental game because of the necessary management of thoughts and emotions to play well. Internal or external distractions keep golfers from playing at their peak performance levels.
The human mind processes hundreds of bits of sensory information every second, so it is no wonder that we have trouble focusing on one shot at a time. This is obvious when we blame our wandering thoughts on distractions, Alzheimer’s or senior moments.
Lack of concentration is due to many factors; including tension, being too involved with correcting, finding or improving your swing, fear of missing a shot, emotional fears, fear of keeping a good round going, etc. The list is endless. This is where change needs to happen.
Many golfers believe they have to concentrate on the game for four hours when in fact it is a good thing to relax and joke with your partners between shots and concentrate only when it is your turn to hit. It is important to spend the time between shots in a manner that is most comfortable for you.
Some of the distractions that could pull your attention away and break your concentration are:
- Focusing on technique when under pressure.
- Indecision about club selection.
- Over-thinking a safe vs. risk strategy.
- Worry about results; the what-ifs.
- The downward spiral of thinking negative thoughts.
Your pre-shot routine is the key for concentration
Concentration is the art of allowing yourself to become interested. Allow yourself to become enraptured with what you are doing. Focus your full attention, along with your full intention on what you want to create. Stay committed to your mental and physical routines. This will keep you calm, in control, and focused on hitting one shot at a time.
Your pre-shot routine is the map that gives direction to your brain about the shot you are going to hit. For your results to be consistent, your routine prior to swinging must be the same every time. Successful golfers train their minds to do the same routine in sequence over and over until it becomes a habit. This would be the time to write down your routine and practice it indoors until it becomes habitual. On the golf course you can then activate the sequence by a trigger or swing key to start the process.
A mind that is busy, restless or indecisive will find it difficult to concentrate on one activity. The first step toward improved concentration would be to quiet your mind. When it is your turn to hit, “turn on” your focus by going into your established pre-shot routine to keep your mind from wandering. As you approach your ball, begin to change your outer focus of attention to the creation of the shot you are about to hit. Imagine that you are wearing blinders and can only see the execution of the upcoming shot.
- Begin by taking deep abdominal breaths to relax and slow down your mind.
- Be totally committed to the club and shot you have selected.
- Narrow your focus by looking down the fairway connecting clearly with your target.
- Visualize the flight of the ball to the target.
- Finish narrowing your focus by taking practice swings to feel your tempo.
- Mentally rehearse the shot using positive images of past successful shots.
- Trust you will hit the shot that you have imagined in your mind.
Play “in the zone” with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home, available at www.pmi4.com/cart
If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at email@example.com or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.
“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.
This transformational golf book is available now on
All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!