There are certain things in golf over which you have direct control and plenty of other things that you don’t. Your score in golf depends on if you’re playing for the right reasons. What that means is measuring your success by tracking the parts of the game that you can actually influence.
Most golfers measure their success on one thing — their score. That’s what is constantly discussed. It can act as a prop for your ego when you post a good one. And it may also be tied to your level of golf confidence.
If you are someone who is doggedly determined to play great golf you may be limiting your success by limiting how you measure your success. Being fixated on you’re score alone, your performance stats, or any other outcome metric can prevent you from investing in the things that actually contribute to a good score.
Those outcome metrics only reveal part of the picture when it comes to your golf performance. There’s so much that goes on inside the process of playing the game that provides the most valuable feedback.
When working with golfers my goal is to help them simplify their approach to the game so that they can play with more freedom, more consistency, and a lot more enjoyment.
This goal is possible when you’re focused on measuring your success in the right way.
Here are three great reasons to play golf that you can start tracking in your next round. When you center your thoughts on improving these things good scores will follow.
#1 – A good reason to play is to track how consistently you play with a present-centered focus.
I’ve talked about this in some of my Golf Mindset Matters episodes on Facebook. If your focus is split between what happened two holes prior, or on the last shot, or if your mind is drifting to the future you will not hit your next shot well.
You need 100% of your attention focused on the task at hand. Tracking how consistently you play with your thoughts centered on the present is an excellent measure of success. Because the more you do this shot by shot, the better you’re going to score at the end of the round.
#2 – A good reason to play is to track how many things you did right on a shot as opposed to counting your mistakes.
Tracking your mistakes or the ratio of good shots to bad one serves no purpose in your game. What you spend the most time thinking about, reflecting on, or replaying in your mind tends to become your reality. So unless you have a deep desire to repeat mistakes, stop shining the spotlight on them.
Stop replaying them. Stop beating yourself up about them by counting how many times you think you mess up during a round. Set all of that aside so that you can selectively focus on the things you’re doing right.
You want to be in a perpetual state of building on your success from the start of your round to the end of it. Make a point of focusing on how many times you are hitting good shots, making good decisions, and investing in the process of your game.
#3 – A good reason to play is to track how engaged you are with your target on every shot.
This game is all about the target. Measuring your success around how engaged you are with your target shot by shot, rather than the ball, is a great reason to play. A lot of golfers will get over the ball and allow their intent to shift to hitting the ball rather than swinging to their target. Has that ever happened to you?
Your job is to execute to your target. Therefore, you must make sure that your mind remains locked on to the point where you want your ball to go. To be highly target-centered one shot at a time is a great reason to play. Ultimately, the more you are committed to and engaged with your desired target the more your shots will go to it.
I’d love to hear from you today. Leave me a comment below and tell me which reason you liked best. Or if there’s something else related to the process that you like to track, let me know what it is.
Playing for the right reasons means that you are tracking the things that you can actually control. Let go of your score in exchange for a metric that you can actually use to improve your golf performance so you may experience more consistent and more enjoyable rounds.
Terri Gilchrist says
I have incorporated all 3 and they all are necessary for a completely great round of golf!
Lately the one I get lax on is #3 especially on short shots.
I must keep that in mind for sure because I sure do after I hit the shot and say “why did it go over there?” because you didn’t pick a spot to hit it to!!!!
Terri, Thank you for your comment! I am happy to hear that you are using all 3 to keep your mindset healthy when you play. The 3rd one can be challenging. You just have to make sure you train yourself to ask the right question after a shot, good or not so good, to keep your thoughts under your direction at all times. It’s easy after a poor shot to let your emotions do the talking. 🙂 Keep up the great work! Shannon
I’m going to start with #3. I think it will help me with all three goals. Then quiet my mind to have present – centered focus. I need to give myself permission to take the time to quiet my mind and focus on target.
Margaret, Thanks for reading and letting me know which of the strategies you will be tackling first! I think #3 is a great choice. You are correct that one of the biggest obstacles to good play is not giving yourself enough time to plan your shot and get locked onto your desired target. Most golfers have a partially fleshed out plan but not detailed enough to get that target-centered focus sharp. Keep me posted on your progress! Shannon
Sara B. Mills says
I think these were three excellent reasons to keep your focus on each shot thank you for doing this
Sara, Glad you liked them! Happy to help! Shannon
Charles Cline says
Shouldn’t this be applicable to practice on the range? I’m going to apply this approach in practice as well as on the course. What about putting?
Hi Charles! Thank you for your question. Yes, this approach works both on the range and the course. And yes, for putting too. You absolutely want to keep your mind present-centered on your putts. You want to make a point of being mindful of and owning every good putt. And always focus on what you did right even if the putt lipped out, or didn’t drop. So often golfers are making great putts, but not every great putt goes in. 🙂 Thanks for reading! Shannon
Had a good day focussing on the target – 2 very long putts sunk and better shots to the targets. This is SO helpful Dr. Reece. A couple of times I shouldn’t have hit, but should have stepped away to refocus on the target – sloppy stupid. Focussing on the target does build confidence because you tune out everything but the target.
The other thing I did was to be more aggressive in choosing shots. First time it cost me because of a trap shot and trouble getting out, but after that it helped me a great deal. Most worthwhile! It’s the way to play.
Thank you so much Dr. R – love your site and it’s changing my thinking in a very positive way!
Margaret, What a wonderful update! Congrats on your success with locking onto your target! 🙂 And great self-awareness of when you weren’t locked on and the results. That will put you in a position to catch yourself before hitting which will give you a chance to get your thoughts centered and hit a better shot. Keep up the great work! Be sure to check out my video tips on Facebook too. You can access them here – https://www.facebook.com/pg/DrShannonReeceFans/videos
I absolutely will! Thank you!