When you walk onto a golf course you are only allowed to have 14 clubs, but you can carry around as many demons as you want.
Top golf psychologist Dr Bob Rotella has worked with the likes of recent major winners Padraig Harrington and Trevor Immelman and says it is impossible to overestimate the importance of the mind in golf.
Rotella believes golf is as much about self confidence and trust as it is about physical competence.
Rotella believes golf is as much about self confidence and trust as it is about physical competence
Rotella has written a number of best selling golf books and has distilled much of his teaching into a new book, The Golfer’s Mind, which is intended as an easy reference guide golfers can return to again and again when they need to refresh themselves with advice on the mental game.
ASG will be publishing a series of articles based on The Golfer’s Mind: Play to Play Great.
Firstly, here is a list of ten principles, or what Rotella calls “process goals” to take with you on your next round of golf.
As Rotella says: “If you follow them, you’ll give yourself the best chance to find out how well you can play in that particular round.
The Golfer’s Mind 10 Mental Game Goals
- I will trust myself and my swing on every shot. I don’t have absolute control of where the ball goes. I do have absolute control of whether I trust myself.
- I will execute my pre-shot routine on every shot.
- I will stay in the present moment. I won’t speculate in the middle of the round about what my score will be, or where I’ll stand in the tournament. I’ll stop worrying about not breaking 90, or 70. I will refrain from critiquing or analysing the shots I’ve taken. I will focus on each shot as it comes, and that will be the only shot I care about. When it’s over, I’ll see how I did.
- I will refuse to allow anything that happens on the golf course today to bother me or upset me. I will accept bad breaks and mistakes, and be tough in adversity. I am going to be in a good mood and a great state of mind for the entire round today. I’ll enjoy playing.
- I will trust my instincts and be decisive and committed.
- I will get looser and freer and more confident as the round progresses, resisting the urge to get tighter, more careful, and doubtful.
- I will love my wedge and my putter today.
- I will let the ball go to my target on every shot. (And in other words firstly have a specific target to aim at)
- I will maintain a constant ideal level of intensity on every shot.
- I will play to play great, not play not to play poorly.
The Golfer’s Mind, Play to Play Great, by Dr Rob Rotella with Bob Cullen, is available in the Australian Senior Golfer Bookshop. Also check out Rotella’s other books including Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect, Putting Out of Your Mind and Your 15th Club: The Inner Secret to Great Golf.
See The Golfer’s Mind here for US $16.29 (Hardcover) plus postage or less for used.