What’s the hardest thing in golf? While you may ask eight different Golfers that question – you may receive eight different answers. Yet, the one answer that will always be in their Top 2 will be … “Moving onto the next shot after a bad shot.”
Hitting a terrible golf shot might be the most frustrating aspect of playing golf – however, it’s something that every Golfer will experience at least once a round. So although you don’t want to have the mindset that you’re expecting to hit a bad shot – you shouldn’t be surprised when it does happen. Yet, as much as you know that you’ll eventually hit a terrible shot – we all find it extremely difficult to not allow it to bother us.
And it should bother you a little. Anybody that’s competitive should be bothered by a bad golf shot or two or three.
The question though is how do you forget about the bad shot and make your next shot a good one? That’s the question that has launched a 1,000 Golf Psychology books. Many of which are written by modern day snake oil salesmen that pretend to be guru’s that have helped PGA Tour Players become champions. And although I have heard some Golfers talk about liking a particular Golf psychology book by one of these snake oil salesmen – I have yet to meet anybody that has improved their scores because they have read a particular book.
The only people that are benefitting from these books are the authors who are preying on desperate Golfers that feel that it’s the Mental Side of the game that’s holding them back. To set the record straight – the mental side of your game will improve once your golf swing improves. You can use all the strategies they throw at you in these books and still top it off the 1st tee with regularity – regardless of how many positive thoughts you have in your mind.
The fastest way of improving your mental game is to improve the confidence you have in your golf swing. However, reading a book won’t improve your confidence. The only thing that will improve your confidence is experiencing better golf shots while improving your golf swing. Confidence isn’t something you get by reading a book – confidence is earned swing after swing as you watch your results slowly improve. And your confidence will further improve once you take those improvements to the golf course and experience these better shots under pressure situations.
Yes, it is hard to comeback after hitting a disappointing golf shot. You know you can hit a better golf shot, you expect to hit a better golf shot and there’s nothing you want more than to hit a better golf shot. It’s a terrible situation when on a 130 yard shot you hit 2 inches behind the golf ball and then hopelessly watch as it goes 40 yards landing in a fairway bunker. It’s even more frustrating when you try to hit out of the fairway bunker, and hit behind the ball once again and just get it out by advancing it only 25 yards.
After two golf shots like that – it’s very easy to become an unenthused Golfer.
The issue now isn’t what you do on your next shot – the issue now is what you do on your next tee shot. The damage on this hole has already been done. Yes, you should make the most of it and get the ball into the hole in the least number of shots – but in this scenario, it’s not as much about your score as it is about screwing up the rest of your round. The most important thing is … will you be mentally ready for your next tee shot? Will you be calm enough, confident enough, focused enough? Or will you still be agitated over how you screwed up the last hole?
And please don’t think this a malady that’s just reserved for higher handicap Golfers – sure the single digit Player is able to overcome a bad shot more easily, though it still irks the stuffing out of them! Why doesn’t it affect the lower handicap or Professional as much? It goes back to the “C –word” – Confidence. These Players have more confidence to more easily overcome a bad shot because of the success they have seen on the practice area. Yet confidence doesn’t completely block out frustration and disappointment – it just makes it easier to overcome.
In last week’s GMS Alumni Bulletin (which is exclusive to GMS Golfers), we included a GMS Instructor Profile. We profiled our Instructor at our Boca Raton location – Scott Hall. The Instructor Profile consists of us giving the Instructor 19 questions to answer about themselves and golf. One of the questions we ask is: What aspect of the game do you find most challenging:
Now remember – Scott is a GMS Instructor, a PGA Professional and an excellent Player. However, his answer to this question was: “Moving onto the next shot after a bad shot.”
It’s my bet that if you asked Tiger Woods the same question – that he would possibly have a similar answer. Yet, why does it seem that Tiger can overcome a bad shot better than you and I? Do you think it’s because he read a Bob Rotella book? Of course not. It’s because he has earned the ability to have more confidence in his golf swing. As your golf swing improves – your confidence improves and as your confidence improves – your mental game improves. Not vice versa! To believe so is foolish.
Now, the chances of anybody ever having the confidence of Tiger Woods is as remote as someone trying to walk to the moon – however, you could boost your own confidence to a higher level. You just need to get out there and practice using a Practice PLAN as opposed to going to the range like the Monkey and just banging golf balls with the hope that it could be considered practicing.
Our Instructor Scott did have another part to his answer that I showed above. And it’s a technique that if used during practice, will help you to hit the golf ball better and help you to gain confidence. If you don’t receive the GMS Alumni Bulletin – I’d like to share it with you. He said: “Forgetting about a bad shot and blocking it out of your mind before your next shot is something all Golfers need to stay vigilant with. That’s why Tick-Tock is so important – it’s the great Mind Eraser!”
And for anyone that thinks that a great Mind Eraser is a cocktail that includes vodka, coffee liqueur and club soda – which actually would do more good for you on the golf course than anything you’d find in a golf psychology book – the great Mind Eraser on the golf course is actually a much easier recipe for you to use. The key is that you develop confidence with your golf swing before you start lying to yourself that reading a golf psychology book will really help you.
Did Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods need a golf psychology book to get to the level they did? Of course not – they were able to overcome bad shots because they earned the confidence they had in their golf swing. And although you might not ever achieve the level of play or confidence those Golfers achieved – you can learn to overcome bad shots before they create a string of blow-up holes.
In order to do this – you must first earn confidence in your golf swing by improving while using Drills that create a similar pressure that you’ll feel on the golf course. As opposed to thinking you’re improving your golf swing as you beat ball after ball into the middle of the driving range after staying up all night reading a golf psychology book written by a so called guru.
The number one way to overcome bad shots is through confidence that is earned, not witchcraft masquerading as golf psychology.
The Monkey thinks they’re going to find the secret in a golf psychology book
The Player earns it by improving their confidence by improving their golf swing
Go ahead, be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life