LEARNING FROM YOUR MISTEAK PATTERNS Part 1 (or how to get better after you choke in golf)
I GUARANTEE that if you reduce your playing mistakes by just twenty percent you can lower you typical scores by at least five shots per round. Skeptical? Good! Read on. Without changing a single thing with your swing, you can significantly improve your scoring. How? Simple…by becoming aware of, preventing, and recovering quicker from mistakes.
One cornerstone to good playing is minimizing mistakes. It has been said by many golf pundits that those who play well are those who make the least number of mistakes, least severity of them, at the least crucial times, and recover most quickly from them. Years ago, I created the “cake” metaphor for good scoring. Great shots and pure hits are merely the frosting on the cake. However, consistency is the cake itself. And one way to improve consistency is by controlling mistake patterns.
In any round of golf, there is a plethora of possible pitfalls. On any given shot, there are so many things that can go wrong–mechanically, physically, rhythmically, mentally, emotionally, and tactically. In fact, there seems to be a least ten times as many things that can go wrong than can go right. No wonder so many of us are basket cases!
When we become aware of what can possibly go wrong, we tend to become more tentative and even defensive in both thinking and executing. It is, indeed, a self-fulfilling prophecy that the more we attempt to prevent errors the more we actually ensure them occurring. (Remember your “Don’t hit it right OB” admonition? And where did that shot go?!) However, we can’t ignore their reality either. Inconsistent play, blowup holes, and even giving up are grounded in such ignorance. Clearly, in order to play smart golf we have to better understand and channel our personal error patterns.
Think about it, what is the first thing you remember about the most current round? Mistakes. You think about the number of “shots left out on the course,” the big blunders, the missed opportunities, the dumb choices, and even the outright chokes. The more you reflect on your mistakes the more aware you become that you have made similar ones before. Just as there are patterns to your optimal play, there are also patterns to your mistakes.
Now, think about this: no mistake is ever made in isolation. Mistake patterns have components that are mental, emotional, and/or tactical. Even a blatant mishit is grounded in your mindset as you set up over the shot. From twenty-plus years of playing sessions with golfers, it has been my experience that in every double bogey there was at least one shot that was a dumb play.
Click the image to get your head right and get Mind Links.
Realize that there has NEVER been a perfectly played round. Even at the height of his powers, the great Ben Hogan admitted that in any given round he only hit about seven shots purely or, as he said, “as I intended.” If the great Hogan said he only hit seven pure shots per round, how come you expect to hit every shot perfectly? Also, in the early days of the golf handicapping system, Walter Hagen equated players’ numbers to about the amount of major swing errors they typically committed per round. There is a lot of wisdom in his concept. Everybody has a choke round here and there. It’s inevitable.
In fact, I have expanded Hagen’s theory to include mental, emotional, shotmaking, and course management mistakes as well. Here is my ratio: ALL GOLFERS MAKE MISTAKES AT LEAST TWO TIMES THEIR INDEX NUMBER. Hence if your current index is 12, you will make over two dozen little mistakes per round. Think about your playing patterns before you accept my ratio. It is nothing about which to become discouraged. You see, only after we fully accept something can we then do something about it. Golf is just a darned difficult game. And mistakes are an inherent part of the game. Accept the fact that you will make mistakes. Give yourself a break and be easier on yourself. This is the first mindset to establish in playing better and more enjoyable golf.
To be continued next week…
“They Keep Lying And You Keep Buying” Aren’t you tired of missing 3-footers? They not only cost you the hole, but it costs you your cool and about 5 more holes right after…Yeah, that little train-track putting gadget you bought really saved your butt under pressure there didn’t it? Did you know that recent machine tests have been done that prove that an old persimmon wood (yep, you read that right, the kind your grandfather used to play) hits the ball the same distance as all those fancy new metals of today?
And yet, with larger sweet spots, with all those gadgets, all those swing instruction programs, all those new high-tech fancy clubs, all those new golf ball polymers, all those perfectly manicured courses and even GPS units that tell you exactly how far your next shot is…Average Golfer Scores Have Not Dropped Since Steel Shafts Replaced Hickory! Why is this?
The mental game…
Craig Sigl – The Golf Anti-practice expert
Dr. Tom Kubistant, sports psychologist has worked with world-class athletes since 1971. He is the most experienced psychologist on the mental game of golf on the planet!! To take advantage of his decades of golf wizardry, Eliminate the choke round, Get Mind Links now!
Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.