The Mental Differences - Between Excellent and Average GolfersCopyright © 1999 - 2035 Craig Townsend
There are some very distinct differences between the mental approach of the accomplished and the average golfer.
The first difference that stands out is that good players instinctively know that golf is much more than a purely physical game of hitting a ball. They understand that their mental attitude affects their standard of golf each day, and they endeavour to make this mental area strong, positive and stable during all their rounds, in order to help produce solid and consistent golf.
Many average golfers do not understand the connection between their mental attitude and their physical golf (even though the mind controls the body) - and they tend to look for only physical reasons (and excuses) for their fluctuations in form, such as blaming their clubs, swing etc - looking for every excuse except the one.
Certainly these aspects can have an impact upon your golf, but the mental side simply can never, ever be discounted completely - as if the mental side is working perfectly, it can overcome even physical swing problems or incorrect choice of club. As well as paying attention to a positive attitude, good golfers also often use techniques such as visualization on the course, knowing that programming their mind can have a very major affect upon their physical game.
Another trait of a good golfer is that they are highly effective alchemists (alchemists were historically reputed to be able to turn base metals into gold). Golfing alchemists routinely manage to convert bad situations (and bad lies) into good scores, riding smoothly through the regular difficult situations and yet somehow always ultimately finishing with a good score. This is a sure sign of a good player - it is not that good players don't get in to trouble; it is how they handle the trouble that counts most.
Good golfers instinctively seem to go into instant damage control after a bad shot, to make sure any negative emotions they experience afterwards are contained so that they do not spill over and affect the remainder of the round. This is in stark contrast to the golfer who hits one bad shot but then allows it to blow their entire round!
Strong players also tend to have highly developed 'switch on, switch off' concentration, which allows them to hit a shot - but then relax between shots before effectively re-focusing for the next. This allows them to conserve their mental energy, and have the mental stamina to concentrate for a full 18 holes without finishing with a mediocre score for the 16th, 17th or 18th hole. Average golfers often play a good first nine holes, only to see their scores deteriorate as the back nine progresses, due to flagging concentration from lack of mental stamina.
Accomplished golfers seem to understand that the regular golfing difficulties they encounter are simply an expected part of the game - and treated as everyday challenges which need to be efficiently dealt with, rather than viewing them as unexpected annoyances designed to aggravate them, as many average golfers do.
Last but not least, regardless of whether they have recently been on a good or bad patch of form, a good golfer always seems to have a positive expectation towards their next game, never allowing themselves to go out there expecting things to go wrong for them. This is important, as we all know that in golf, we don't get what we deserve, we get what we expect.
So run through this checklist regularly and ensure you are mentally approaching your golf as all good golfers do - because anyone who thinks like a good golfer, must eventually become one.
"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"
The best of success, Craig Townsend
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