As you know, winning is not under your control.
What are the skills you can develop that are under your control?
- There are the technical/physical skills where golfers practice in hopes of perfecting their golf swings.
- There are also the non-technical/mental skills of self-empowerment.
- An important skill to develop is a strategy for management of your game on the golf course.
Victor Hovland, the 25-year-old Norwegian who just won the last two PGA Tour Championships has been very vocal and honest about his journey to winning. Last season he was ranked 191st in Strokes Gained. He learned through analysis of his stats that when aggressively hitting greens with pitching wedge through 8-iron, he was short-siding himself 30 percent of the time. The Tour average is 20 percent. His coach says he is now 55th in Strokes Gained.
We can all relate and learn from his experiences.
- Physical skills: It is important to practice until you can trust your swing or putt to not think about the mechanics. Have one basic golf swing for all shots.
Hovland voiced his lack of trust; “Before, when I was standing over every shot, I was like, ‘Don’t duff it, skull it, don’t leave it in the bunker.” Me and a buddy of mine, we made up this saying: Just land it on and keep it on. We set the bar pretty low when we had a chip. Now it’s a lot of fun to be able to open up that face and just slap the ground and put some friction on the ball.”
- Mental Skills: The mental state you are in on the golf course determines how you will play.
Maintaining a positive attitude about your abilities on the golf course is important because it directly impacts your performance. When your negative attitude is stronger than your conscious effort, you will not be able to manifest what you want.
“I’m very hard on myself and I felt like even though I had the game to compete, I never truly believed it,” Hovland said. “I’ve just gotten better and better every single year, and with that comes the belief and I feel like the belief was the last missing piece.”
Do you think you are a positive person? According to the National Science Foundation, the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts every day.
Of those thoughts, 80% are negative and 95% are the same thoughts you thought before. Are you aware of the repetitive and/or negative thoughts you have on the golf course that are detrimental for your golf game?
- Course management: Save strokes and lower your scores with a good short game; putting chipping, pitching.
After his 7th place finish in the Masters, Hovland hired Eduardo Molinari, Tour player and part-time data analyst to analyze his stats. The conclusion was that Hovland was being too aggressive with his approach shots and short siding himself too often. For approach shots, the center of the green is always the best target. The best players in the world say that their target is always the center of the green for every club longer than a 9-iron.
“If you want to get to the next level, you have to look introspectively,” Victor said. “I think when you try to be honest with yourself and ask yourself, OK, how can I get better, I just basically have to force myself to change a couple of these mindset things.”
On the hot, humid Sunday final round with an almost two-hour weather delay, Victor Hovland put all his skills together and shot 63 at East Lake Golf Club for a five-stroke victory in the 30-man FedEx Cup Playoff.
Develop a personal golf game strategy
- Early on in my golf career I watched as shorter hitters outscored the big hitters with their great short games. This is a wonderful skill to have as the distance of shots diminishes with age.
- Your swing tempo is the most important ingredient for making good contact. Deep breathing before each shot relaxes the body to easily engage your swing tempo.
- Use a pre-shot routine before every putt and shot for preparation, alignment, visualization, trust, and complete focus.
- Invest in playing lessons on the golf course to show you how to execute new shots and strategy.
- Hit for the center of the green. Tiger won with this strategy of hitting safely to 20 feet, shooting 70 and winning a bundle of majors.
The 2022-23 PGA season is officially in the record books. It begins all over again next week with the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort in Napa, California from Sept. 14-17.
Play “in the zone” with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances
To train your brain for improving and trusting your short game, listen to the Positive Mental Imagery self-empowering guided imagery self-hypnosis CDs/MP3 “Master Your Short Game for Low Scores” in the privacy of your own home. Eight different empowerment audios are also available at www.pmi4.com/cart
If these golf tips are of value to you and you would like to improve your mental golf game, call Joan for a complimentary 15-minute consultation. She can be reached by phone at 828-707-5478, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Positive Mental Imagery website or blog.
P.S. Feel free to pass this monthly PMI blog of mental golf keys to any friends you may have. They may wish to know about it, and to subscribe at www.pmi4.com/blog — which, as you know, costs nothing. Send it on to a friend!