During practice on the range you are hitting great irons and your drives are fairly straight, but when you get to the course, it’s a different story. This not only happens in golf, but in all other sports as well. Practice is a different emotional climate that in competition. In practice, you are relaxed and focused on the act of feeling of what you are doing. But during competition, focus shifts to results — how many strokes you need to make up or where the club needs to be on their takeaway. These types of thoughts create issues with performance. As quoted by one noted sports psychologist,”On the range golfers are feeling the force, and on the course they are forcing the feel” It’s inadvertent and fairly natural for golfers to start thinking about the outcome of their shot before they hit it, or about what score they want on a particular hole before they even stick the tee into the ground. But doing these things adds self-imposed pressure and causes overthinking – both of which create nervous responses and don’t allow the golfer to freely swing the club. So how do you take your swing from the range to the course? Don’t hit 50 drives in a row. Play a golf hole. Hit one drive, then choose an iron and hit to a target. If you miss the target, then make a chip to a target. Play it out in your imagination. This helps, but only to a certain degree. You really need to: 1. Change your focus: Be in the now, one shot at a time. When you are struggling, you are worried about the last shot or the next hole. Train yourself to remain interested in what you are doing at this moment — not the results. 2. Mental awareness: Be aware of your focus when you play well and where your focus is when you play poorly. Golfers who perform well consistently understand how they think during good rounds and are able to replicate it. * Golf Range Magazine, March 2015.
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