If you spend long hours on the practice range, attempting to work all the imperfections out of your swing, you are probably predominantly engaged in what is referred to by Dr. Bob Rotella as the training mindset. There is a purpose to this type of analytical and conscious mindset when you are learning a new skill or breaking in a new club.
Unfortunately, many golfers donʼt take the time to grow past the over-controlling habits that get ingrained when they spend many hours dissecting their swing, whether by physical practice, reading or attentively watching golf tournaments. They run into trouble when the pressure is on, and they are still actively focused on every last detail of their swing, rather than knowing instinctively how to select a target and swing to it.
In order to play the game, you need to be able to transition to a mindset of complete trust. The trusting mindset is a quiet and passive state of mind, where movements become more automatic and decisive. You believe and trust your swing to deliver the results you are focused on achieving. You are not sloppy, rather relaxed and focused, patient and confident. Itʼs not necessary to limit your time on the range, rather spend most of it reinforcing the mindset you need to play golf.
For example, if you typically spend an hour practicing, use the first 20 minutes to warm-up, review key points of your swing, and find your rhythm. Then spend the remainder of the hour making every shot count:
• Select your target,
• Visualize the flight path of the ball,
• Narrow your attention to 1-2 great swing thoughts,
• And let ʻer rip!
The transition from one level of focus to the other will become easier the more you work on it. Like any new skill, itʼs going to take time to master, so be patient and consistent. The more you practice how to play, the easier it will be to actually do it every time you step onto the course.