There’s no Major quite like the Masters, and those who made the cut to play this weekend will, win or lose, be forever ranked among the exceptional in the game. Going into the final round today, with several players vying for the top spot, there’s going to be pressure. Pressure in the game is relative. And what has been demonstrated over the past few days by Watson, Kuchar and even young newcomer, Spieth, is the ability to maintain their composure, especially when the heat is on. You don’t have to be playing on one of the most beautiful courses in the world, in one of the most coveted events to feel it. Pressure builds when a player’s perception of the pending challenge and his or her ability are not in alignment. And the easiest way to manufacture this disparity in your mind is to focus on where you are in relation to the finish line. The biggest challenge any golfer faces is staying in the moment.
Trouble arises when any of the following things happen –
- You have played a solid front nine, you’re in the lead, and are wondering if you keep up the pace on the back.
- You had some trouble on the last hole, and are now thinking about how you can make up a stroke or two on the next.
- You’re the low handicap player on the team, others are not having their best day, and you feel like they are counting on you to make up the difference.
If any of those examples sound familiar, you are not locking your attention exclusively on the present. Whenever your focus gets split, you increase your chances of giving strokes away. Click To Tweet
So what are the Pro’s thinking about?
Bubba Watson shared his thoughts in a Bleacher Report article on the back nine of Friday’s round saying, “That five hole stretch was good. It’s one of those where you’re not focused on what you’re doing, you don’t know that you’re making all those birdies, you’re focused on one shot at a time…At Augusta, that’s what you have to do.” I would add, that this is what needs to happen no matter where you are playing.
Jordan Spieth, at only 20 years of age, is demonstrating remarkable control, that for many has only developed with repeat experience at the Masters.
The golfer I would consider the “King of Cool,” Matt Kuchar, finds Spieth “pretty amazing.”
These players have disciplined their minds to focus on the elements that are most relevant to supporting solid play. They have learned that their power lies in the present, where they have the best opportunity to play smart golf. Getting bogged down in the past, or trying to make up for it, can be just as distracting as speculating several shots ahead in the future. Your score is not under your direct control, so to be intensely focused on it throughout a round can prevent you from playing your best. You’ve got to discipline yourself to remain centered exclusively on the task at hand just as Bubba, Matt, and Jordan have been doing this week. Operating with solid routines, before and after every shot, will provide you with greater control, emotionally and mentally, so that you can physically execute shots with little or no interference.
Routines help you create an attack plan for every shot, every challenge, and eliminate the questions that can arise in the form of self-doubt and fear. When you isolate your thoughts to the appropriate cues necessary to set the stage for success you will achieve more consistent, high-level play one shot at a time. To cultivate solid routines and Inner Caddy control like the Pros, I invite you to join me for a hand’s-on range clinic where you will learn the Systems for Success at the Tiburon Golf Club. For more information call me at 239.431.6810