They’ll be no apologizing for providing a bit of “tough love” that you may really need to hear when it comes to your outlook on golf. While it’s fun to recall special moments from time to time, STOP dwelling on the past so you can improve your game!
My clients know the value of reminding themselves of past wins to boost their confidence that they can produce more in the present. These types of memories are part of your recent past.
Where I see golfers getting stuck and developing limiting beliefs is when they spend time comparing their current game to the one they had a decade or more ago. To longingly wish and to strive to become the same player you once were in your youth is going to do nothing but hold you back from making progress in the present.
There’s No Room for the Wrong Kind of Nostalgia in Golf
There is a difference between delightful reminiscing and unproductive moments of nostalgia. If you are someone who played golf earlier in life and played it well, thinking back on your glory days is fine as long as you aren’t expecting to return to them.
I’ve heard many golfers tell me about what level their handicap once was or the distance they used to be able to hit off the tee. If it’s to tell me of their history in the game that’s fine. But we start to get into rough waters when a golfer sees his or her current game as “less than” and less satisfying than the one from the past. This can result in a limited perspective of your game because, on some level, you aren’t measuring up to the golfer you used to be.
Have you ever thought or said things like…
- This is a tough hole because I can’t drive the ball as far as I used to.
- When I was younger I used to be able to reach greens like this in regulation.
- I was once a single digit handicap but now I’m lucky if I can break 80.
When I hear statements like this it’s as if one’s current game is so subpar that it requires an explanation. This is the difference between sweet memories and feeling like a “has-been” to your past self. None of us will ever be like we were in the past because life happens and our bodies age and change as time marches on.
Adjust Your Perspective Using the Right Measure
Lest you misunderstand, I’m not advocating that you set low expectations simply because you can’t physically play the same game you played when you were younger, or before the knee replacement, or prior to the struggles with your back.
Just use your current yardstick to measure the quality of your game instead of one belonging to a younger you or even some other person you perceive to be a “really good golfer.” The last thing you want is to focus on everything you think you lack versus all the strengths you currently possess. The only yardstick that will give you a real perspective is your current one.
Set Improvement Goals to Move Your Game Forward
To make improvements in your game you must start with a clear picture of your current baseline. Are you fully aware of all the strengths you possess right now? Are you in the habit of tracking your wins during every round? If not, then this is step one.
Once your best assets are top of mind then you can objectively assess any changes that have occurred over the past year — good and not so good. Consider contributing factors. Did you sustain an injury or illness that has had an impact? Did life challenges reduce the time you had to practice and play? By examining your game from a 30,000 foot perspective you avoid missing the forest for the trees.
Your next step will be to set some mini-milestone improvement goals for the next quarter or six-month period. Your timeline will be dependent on how much time you’ll be able to carve out to work on your game, as well as any competitive events, vacations, or medical procedures that might have an impact on your time to make improvements. For example, you would not want to set a mini-goal with a 30-day deadline if you’ve got an Invitational and Club Championship in which you plan to play in the same time frame.
Lastly, once you’ve earmarked some things you’d like to reach for in your game, put some weekly measures in place to track your progress. If you know you want to improve your proximity to the hole with your 20 yard chip shot then construct a drill with a target goal. Perhaps you can get the ball inside 15 feet, but would like to be putting from closer to 10 feet. As you spend intentional and consistent time on the drill each week, track your stats. The objective is not to reach a level of perfection, but to determine whether or not your time investment is getting you the return you’re looking for.
Exchange Your Past for a Better Future
You can play with a growth-oriented mindset when you choose to celebrate your successes in the now and learn to look ahead with eager anticipation for more. Just keep using your current game, not your game of the distant past, as the baseline from which you choose to grow. To keep trying to relive the glory days of the past just keeps you stalled in the past. There’s so much to enjoy in the present and the future as long as you believe there is and go looking for it.
The mind is a powerful asset for any golfer of any level so make sure you learn how to use it for the good of your game. Left unchecked, untrained, and undisciplined your mind will become the most underutilized asset in your bag and the most significant thing preventing you from playing great.
If you’re struggling to move your game forward I can help.
Explore how mental game training can lower your handicap by scheduling a 45-minute free consultation call with me. On the call I will evaluate your current mental game skills and provide you with a targeted solution to help you lower your handicap and love your game. Click on the image below to get started.
CONNECT WITH ME