Wow, what’s all that have to do with golf?
It is my opinion that, there are 3 types of “focus” or “thinking” needed to perform consistently and develop your golf game. Before, in and after “The Moment”.
Before the Moment:
The “time” during the off season, or before your round, or between holes, or just before your shot (prior to your routine), is what I call “Before the Moment”. This is the time to focus on what your options are, what the goal is, what you’re capable of. Then you commit, you decide “What you will do”.
Each opportunity to “focus” takes different amounts of time, are done at different times, but combine to achieve goal #1 above, “Perform consistently and develop your game”.
In the Moment:
Trust your decision. NO MORE THINKING! At this moment, you MUST be automatic, rehearsed and familiar with the next 15 seconds. This is “recalling an over learned skill*”. This is just like unlocking your car door. You can do that “consistently”, because you learned it a long time ago, were successful, then stored it as a “skill” to call upon when needed. You don’t second guess yourself about writing your “signature”. You “trust” that you know how and just write. You must learn how to do this with taking a golf shot to be consistent. You can’t be learning something and be automatic. You have to have practiced (many times) and succeeded to believe…”I have this shot“. This is when golf gets really fun!
The real key here, is your “routine”. This is your protective “bubble”. It is the time you stop “thinking ahead”, “talking to your friends”, “trying to remember your golf lesson”, “adding an extra new moves”, you get the idea. The ONLY thing you do when it is time to take your shot is … “follow your routine”. This won’t be hard if/when you practice your routine. Hint: Your routine should only be about 10-14 seconds long max. If it’s longer, you’re thinking about too much, or making extra setup movements/adjustments that are not necessary.
After the Moment:
Right after the shot, it is critical to protect your attitude with non-judging self talk. Be productive (not destructive), how you mentally talk to yourself. You do have a choice you know. This is the time to learn from what you experienced and move on. That shot is done! Tell yourself you’ll think about it later and decide then, how to improve or change what happened.
After the round, find time to sit down and recap your total experience. Look for patterns that you can improve (like many putts coming up short), or hitting into the same bunker off the tee (pick a different shot, target line or club). Look for where you waste strokes**. You might take a lesson (or ask me for help).
After the season, you might again recap your entire game. Again, look for patterns (Blocking Driver, choking with 3′ putts etc.), then go search out real answers …practice and put into your routine, so you can take it to the course.
FYI, the lower you go in score, the harder it is to save strokes.
*I think I learned the term “over learned skill” from “Subconscious Golf” instruction I heard many years ago. Awesome stuff!! I learned/taught much from that information and highly recommend listening.
**FYI (again from Subconscious Golf, I believe), you can waste one shot on every hole and still par! So, if you double bogey you wasted 3 shots. Here is how I experienced this:
Way back when, short par 4, cold top Driver about 50 yards dead left under a very low bush. I started to beat myself up and caught myself, stopped that thinking, and said to myself… Okay, how can I par from here. This changed my attitude back to a “challenge” with myself. It put creative mode in gear and sent me visualizations of how it could be done. I got on my knees, knocked a long iron out from the bush back into the fairway… at the time I actually had an old Powerbilt (1) iron, (stayed focused), knocked it up on the green about 12′ and made the putt. Best par of my life to this day, because I was about to give up, but took control of my thinking (didn’t let emotions control me). I have taught this lesson to countless students over the years… Ross