In prior posts, I’ve talked about setting the right expectations and how to focus your time on the range to prepare to play great. I know that your desire is to play with nothing less than your best. But what actually happens on the course will be determined by how you operate shot by shot.
When working with a client I examine the amount and impact of the interference that exists in their game. Interference is what prevents you from being able to consistently play with nothing less than your best. How you navigate interference will determine the success of your round. Using a proven mental game framework, I teach golfers how to minimize the interference they produce from within, as well as how to avoid getting distracted by the interference that occurs around them.
Mindset or Mechanics?
There are multiple forms of internal and external interference that can negatively impact your round because of how they can alter the delivery of your swing. But before I get into some of the most common types I want to educate you on how it causes problems with your swing.
There are going to be times when there is something legitimately wrong with your swing mechanics that warrants a visit to your swing coach. But most of the time my clients can play and score with an imperfect swing as long as they have a great golf mindset, and so can you.
The key to success on the days when your swing feels off is learning how to consistently manage your perspective of yourself, your swing, and the challenges of the game. A well-disciplined mind enables you to minimize the impact that any type of interference could have on your swing. But the moment you start to get uptight, frustrated, or doubtful about your swing is when things can begin to unravel. Playing with nothing less than your best is not about having a perfect swing for the day. It’s about having a resilient mindset that allows you to leverage the best version of the swing you have in the bag.
Things to Avoid That Can Cost You Strokes
Too often you may be rolling out the red carpet to interference in your game without even realizing it. Below are three examples of how this can occur inside a round.
1. Rushing a shot
There is never a good reason to rush into a shot. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been invited to play through, or you’ve got to replay your tee shot after hitting into a hazard, or that you’re the last one to reach the green. There is NEVER a good reason to rush into a shot UNLESS you don’t care about hitting a quality shot. If this has happened to you, ask yourself the following questions — Did rushing help you play your shot with nothing less than your best? Did rushing actually help you make up time? Likely, your answer is no. Rushing through your shot process prevents you from sticking to a trusted routine that always focuses your mind so that you can swing with freedom. When you allow yourself to deviate from a reliable mental pre-shot routine you will never be able to play consistent golf.
2. Allowing outside distractions to pull your attention off your task at hand
There is a standard of excellence for how you will approach the game that you must set for yourself whether you are a weekend warrior or professional golfer. What this means is that you don’t execute a shot when you know you are distracted by someone or something going on around you. This is external interference. You must have all of your attention centered on your current target if you expect your ball to end up there. The only reason not to do this is if you’re not interested in playing with nothing less than your best.
3. Leaning into your feelings
Emotions are not something you can completely control, but you can learn how to manage them well. Negative emotions are a type of internal interference that can ripple through your swing and mess up your delivery of it. The easiest course of action is to lean into whatever you’re feeling, whether it’s fear about making a short putt, frustration over the poor shot you just hit, or embarrassment about the drive you just shanked into the trees. Trying to plan your next shot while you’re still wrestling with your emotions over the last one, or hitting a shot you’re feeling uncomfortable about is not how to play with nothing less than your best.
Leave me a comment and let me know which of these have shown up in your game lately.
How to Bring Your Best to Your Next Round
A solid mental game is an essential ingredient to being able to play with nothing less than your best. If you aren’t committed to developing your self-awareness and self-management skills to mitigate the impact of interference in your game you will never experience what your best could be. The great news is that there is a simple framework you can learn and it doesn’t require a master’s degree to master it in your game.
Here are a list of direct benefits that accompany a great golf mindset ~
You have a trusted and repeatable process that helps you produce a trusted swing
You work hard on your swing and therefore should be able to expect it to show up on the course. When it doesn’t, that’s not an indication that you’ve somehow lost it. What it does reveal is the inconsistency of your mindset that is preventing you from playing with trust. Playing with a trusted repeatable routine clears the mental clutter that can alter your swing mechanics. To play without one leaves your results up for grabs.
You can start strong
My clients not only play with routines before and after every shot to keep their head in the game for 18 holes, but they also follow a warm-up routine that gets their body and mind into play mode. If you tend to just focus on getting your body ready to play with no attention to reinforcing the mental process you expect to play with, it probably takes you a handful of holes before your best game shows up. A consistent warm-up routine will help you start strong on your first hole and position you to play with nothing less than your best for the entire round.
You’re able to play with nothing less than your best AND still enjoy the social side of golf
Golf is a game and it’s meant to be fun. Taking a serious approach to your game doesn’t mean that you are all work and no play. With a great mental game, you are able to focus and quiet your mind when you need to plan, execute, and evaluate your shot. In between shots and holes is the time to enjoy your friends and your surroundings. Without a disciplined golf mindset, you won’t be able to effectively switch between the social and serious sides of your game.
On the cusp of a New Year, you may be doing some reflecting. Did you reach the goals you set for your game? Or despite your hard work, is your game still stuck in the same place?
If you are ready to learn how to play with nothing less than your best then start by downloading my free guide — How to Avoid the Bad Habits That Are Costing You Strokes. Inside you will find some simple strategies you can start using now that will have a positive impact on your game. learn how to start to mitigating interference and saving strokes. CLICK HERE to get your free copy now.
Commit to a standard of excellence in your game that positions you to play with nothing less than your best. It’s not that hard to do. The benefits are available to you when you commit to applying a simple, better mental approach to your game with more consistency. And I look forward to teaching you how.