COLUMN: Sometimes your swing isn't the real problem

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bobby Jones once said, "Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course--the distance between your ears." For those fairly new to the game, you might not have realized yet (and those who have been playing probably wished they would have learned sooner) that your mental golf ability is as important as your physical golf ability.

My game is still pretty undeveloped in the mental area and it needs a lot of work. Part of this comes with experience and time playing but the other half is what you can convince yourself of.

When it comes down to it, you make the club do what you want and make it hit the ball how you want. It is your mind that tells your body how to swing the club and it is also your mind that causes bad things to happen on the course.

There is a reason people get on "bogey trains" and can't seem to find a way off. It's not because they don't know how to hit the ball, but because they change they way they play.

Instead of just trying to play their game, they begin trying to not make bogey, which in turn changes the way they do things and brings all sorts of unnecessary obstacles into play.

The reason I am writing about this topic is because my golf game has been in a slump this entire summer. For two months, I have blamed all of my problems on a swing problem.

This is something that I control, and I've been so busy trying to change my swing when the real problem has been my head.

Something that you need to have to play good golf is confidence. You have to know that you can hit every shot you try to hit because, if for one second you doubt yourself, that shot will get away from you.

The hardest part about this is in order to gain confidence, you must play well ... but playing well is what gives you confidence.

I think I am finally realizing that my problem all along has been a mental issue; I've been scared to just stand up and do what I know how to do and have ended up having really bad results.

There isn't much advice I can truly give on how to have a better mental game because that is something I am still trying to learn myself. This whole bad golf thing has turned me into a complete basket-case and it's all I can do to keep my head in it and focus on what I need to do without remembering all the bad things I've done recently with my shots.

If you have been playing bad golf, here are some ideas to try and get yourself back on track (or basically just things I'm about to try myself and hope for the best).

1) Take a break. Even just if it's for a few days, give yourself time to forget all the misshit shots and new swing thoughts ... Start with a clean slate.

2) Go back to basics. Don't try and do anything fancy, just play your game, it's all still in there somewhere.

3) Instead of worrying about that water on the right or out of bounds on the left think about that drive you've hit straight down the middle a million times. Don't let any kind of hazard creep into your thoughts. It usually doesn't end too well.

4) Make yourself get cocky for a little bit. Just act like nothing ever went wrong and walk up to each shot as if you've been playing well all along. In other words, instead of thinking, "I can't do this," pretend that you could master that shot even in your sleep.

Don't let your mind be in the round for any other reason than to remind you how to swing a club and to make good decisions if something does go a little off track.

*Reminder, you can still e-mail any questions you would like answered to

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: