A good friend of mine who is a single digit handicapper said something the other day that made me think about my own game.
“I’m really working hard on getting rid of the mental mistakes,” he said. “I can live with the physical mistakes. But the mental ones have got to go.”
That’s a great way to approach things, and one that I’m going to make a real effort to adopt. But I think I’m going to start small. I’m going to start with a resolution to work harder on choosing the correct club. That’s part of the mental game—preparing for the shot—and one that could stand improvement. I lose far too many shots over the course of a round by either leaving it short, or flying the green. In fact, I’m sure I could drop 3-5 strokes a round if I made better choices.
So I’m going to try to start a mental checklist before each and every time before pulling a club from the bag: distance to front and back of green (more important, I think, than to the middle), lie, wind, height. I’ve managed to make an aim and alignment check part of my pre-swing routine, so with a little discipline, I should also be able to incorporate an automatic club check.
By far the hardest part for me is going to be discounting the “feel” of the shot. Sometimes a shot just “feels” like an eight, when logic tells me it should be a seven. I’ve got to learn to go with logic.
Of course, as with my friend, I’m going to discount the physical errors. Chunking a shot, or hitting it thin doesn’t count as a “wrong club.” They’re dumb moves, but not “mental mistakes.” Focusing on the mental, while discounting the physical is a great idea, and one that should not only lower my scores, but also keep me from beating myself up over the odd poor shot.
Do the GolfBlogger and think for a minute about your own mental game. Is there another factor I should consider in choosing the right club? And what are the mental errors you’d like to eliminate. Leave a comment.