Before teeing off on the first hole, do you know what you want to shoot for the day? Do you know exactly what your score is at any point throughout a round? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, then there is something important you should know. The more time you spend thinking about your score, the more you can actually hurt your chances of posting a good one at the end of the round.
Your score in golf is not something over which you have direct control. Click To Tweet Golfers who allow their thinking to get wrapped up in the numbers of the game during play are wasting mental energy. What you can control is how well you prepare for and execute one shot at a time. The more you maintain a present-centered focus, the higher the probability that you will produce solid shots and reduce miss hits, giving yourself the best opportunity to cumulatively achieve the score you desire.
Golfers make the game harder than it was designed to be when they allow their thinking to get off track. If you tend to think about what you are shooting or could make on the next hole, while attempting to concentrate on your next shot, your focus is split between the future and the present. Have you ever thought, “Wow! If I keep this up, I could actually break 90 today!” This is an example of a future-oriented focus. Throw in some thoughts about the poor shot you’d like make up for on the last hole, and now you are pin-balling between the past, present and future.
The goal to staying present-centered is to let go of the score, the past, and the “what if’s” of the future, so that all that remains is a commitment to give 100% of your attention to the shot at hand. You need to consciously choose to play one shot at a time.
If you average 90 shots per round, then set your expectations around the fact that you have 90 individual opportunities to execute one great shot. It’s only when you keep your mind focused on the task at hand, the ball at your feet, regardless of anything that occurred in the past, or might happen in the future, that you operate with your full mental and physical resources to produce a solid shot. By doing so on every shot, you increase the probability of stringing together a series of great performances that ultimately lead to the score you wanted to post.
Your biggest challenge will be to catch yourself the moment your thinking veers from the present to the past or future, and pull yourself back on track, by releasing your need to try to control or dictate the future or change the past. Your power lies in the present alone. To direct your focus anyplace else simply limits your potential.
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