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Thread: Mental Issues

  1. #1
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    Mental Issues

    I have a real problem. We all have a bad hole from time to time, but my problem is that, whenever I have a bad hole, I can't stop it turning into a run of bad ones. It has happened a lot recently ... I can't seem to get over the first bad hole and put it out of my mind and move on. It is clearly a mental issue.

    Has anyone read a self-help book that covers this that they can recommend ... perhaps with mental drills/exercises designed to gain closure on a bad hole and start again? Or does anyone already use a mental exercise to address this problem?

    Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Q-School Graduate Orikoru's Avatar
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    Re: Mental Issues

    It's easier said than done but I've been working hard lately to focus all of my thoughts on the next shot - what I need to do with it, what club I'm going to use etc - and this helps me forget about the previous shot if it was a bad one. This is the same sort of thing here, you have to try to forget that bad hole by focussing everything on your next tee shot (not even the next hole in it's entirety - just the tee shot). Where are you going to put it? Picture the ball going there with a nice smooth swing.

    Sorry if this doesn't help, I know it can be hard to change your way of thinking just like that. But it's something we all have to work on when at least half the battle is in your head.
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  3. #3
    Tour Rookie Capella's Avatar
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    Re: Mental Issues

    Are you familiar with the line of no return? It is a little mental excercise where after a bad hole or shot you step over an imaginary line and make a conscious decision to not think about it anymore. I know it seems a bit stupid at first, but if you practice it, it actually helps.

    Peter Finch did a video on it here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZnv68wejSg
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  4. #4
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    Re: Mental Issues

    Bob Rotella's books are good. They are not everyone's cup of tea, but I found/find them very useful. "Golf is not a game of Perfect" sounds like it would help.

  5. #5
    Tour Winner Dan2501's Avatar
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    Re: Mental Issues

    Read Vision54. Talks about creating a process which you stick to for every shot. It then allows you to focus purely on the shot your about to play and stops you from letting negative emotions ruin your next shot.
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  6. #6
    Ryder Cup Winner Hobbit's Avatar
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    Re: Mental Issues

    You can only affect what happens next, not what happened last. Thinking about a bad shot is a complete waste of time.

    As for a particular hole that gets in your head; There is a reason why some holes can do that. Its their design. Easy answer is change the way you play it. If a driver puts you in trouble on that hole, or the shot into the green is extremely difficult, play a 3 wood off the tee and then lay up to your preferred yardage.
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  7. #7
    Money List Winner williamalex1's Avatar
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    Re: Mental Issues

    I think it was Jack Nicklaus that said, between shots, you should think or talk about anything other than golf.
    handicap 15.5

  8. #8

    Re: Mental Issues

    IMO, it depends on the underlying emotional reaction. Is it anger and if so, angry for what reason - just playing a bad shot, or screwing your gross score for your round? Is it panic, fearing that it's a contagion affecting your entire game? Talking from experience, not so long ago, I used to get down after a bad shot because I was overly conscious of it's effect on my overall score and in following shots/holes I felt under pressure to claw the stroke back. This had the effect of changing my mental approach to the shots and holes that followed.

    Recently though, I've tried to take steps to isolate individual shots and individual holes. I no longer obsess or track overall score and instead I treat every hole as a game within a game. Instead of starting on the next tee still reeling from the double bogey at the last, I reset my thinking and leave it behind. My principle measure of success isn't necessarily gross score but rather other metrics that are more relevant to my inconsistent but general improving game - improving the total number of pars I get, reducing the total number of double bogeys in each round, etc. In doing this, if I have a bad hole, I can write it off and refocus on what's ahead. I also make a concerted effort to quickly adjust expectations after a bad shot - instead of raging at myself that it's cost me a par or even a bogey, I immediately challenge myself to get out with a bogey or double bogey at worst - this helps me focus on playing a good, but very doable recovery shot rather than taking on a low-percentage, highly risky glory shot that only compounds the situation. As such, I find myself much more willing to chip out onto a good position in the fairway rather than taking a 6 iron from the rough and going for the green.

    The more you can isolate your performance for every shot, the more your overall score will benefit.

  9. #9

    Re: Mental Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Roops View Post
    Bob Rotella's books are good. They are not everyone's cup of tea, but I found/find them very useful. "Golf is not a game of Perfect" sounds like it would help.
    I second this 100%. A lot of the stuff he talks about is obvious, but he presents it very well, with some interesting stories and anecdotes to go with it. Unfortunately, while obvious, it is a lot easier to read about than to actually put into practice.. But I genuinely believe that if you can take away even one or two things from his books, it can help your golf game huge amounts..

    I've read 6 of his books (which is totally unnecessary as they are mostly similar/ the same ideas presented from slightly different angles) and I think "Golf is not a game of perfect" was probably th best of them.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Mental Issues

    Recently picked up a book by Darren Clarke called Golf - The Mind Factor. Touches on a similar principal as mentioned earlier that you only think about a shot for a maximum of ten paces before you move on. Many pro's will apparently even utter "done" after to ten paces to reinforce this. I've found this has really helped me let go of those bad shots before they become bad holes or bad rounds.
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