|If you were to break down this game into compartments, you would find numerous aspects, such as mechanics, physics, psychology, anatomy and physiology, just to name a few.
Another is a feeling we golfers get: nervousness. We get nervous before, during and after we play. Is there no end to the vicious cycle? Yes, I'm afraid there is, but it's about as individual as our golf games are. Some sports psychologists say you should move your focus away from achieving a given goal and place it on the process of accomplishing that goal. So, rather than trying to make a 5 on a given hole, place your focus on each individual shot.
Others say you should remove yourself from the action and free your mind of success or failure-type thoughts. This may be accomplished by playing each shot while singing a song in your head, or thinking of a pendulum or metronome swinging. Or, you could actually believe what your non-golfing home psychologist tells you before you go out to play, "Have fun! Break a tee!!"
So, as you search for the key thought or un-thought that will help you break through that barrier of nerves, I would like to help you place your nerves in perspective. Every year across the country, there are thousands of golf professionals trying to make enough money to eat or to pay for some form of lodging. I speak of the mini tour player.
This summer I experienced a piece of that by playing on the Tear Drop tour. I started with enough money to cover my entry fee for about 3 tournaments. To cut a long story short, I managed to miss the cut in two events by shooting a combined total of 3 over par for 4 rounds, and I placed 10th in another by shooting 5 under for 3 rounds. This paid for one more event. In my final event, I shot 2 under and finished 5th, which paid about $250.00. On the drive back from Las Vegas, I realized that I can compete at this level and my goal of playing on the PGA tour is not out of reach.
I took from this experience a valuable lesson -- I must trust myself to take an uninhibited swing with the confidence and attitude that the ball will go where I want it to go. Never forgetting that from the point of impact until the ball comes to rest, I relegate my control to the gods of golf and say to myself, "If I've got a stance I've got a chance." So find that attitude! Whether you decide to display it for everyone to see or keep it under raps, you make that decision. This is a personal game and the responsibility behind the end of the day's result lies only with you.
Dear Dr. Golf,
A friend of mine and I got into a discussion about the importance of having a set of clubs that are fitted correctly. We wanted to hear your take on it.
After a person has been playing golf for a number of years, they build into their swing certain movements that would be maximized by having their equipment matched with their swing. These habits may be hard to break with small pieces of instruction. Thus we turn to technology to assist us.
Approximately 80-90% of all golfers do not have equipment matched to their swing. Therefore, they are not taking advantage of technology and maximizing their potential. I can already hear you saying that I would love to match my equipment and swing, but I cannot afford it. Here's the best part. As technology advances and the number of golfers increases, the cost for equipment across the range reduces. I am not referring to the major high-end companies that offer a club fitting system. I am referring to a combination of your local golf professional with less expensive brands of equal craftsmanship. This is where you can maximize your potential and not break the bank.
Good luck in golf and life, and remember...
Be the ball.