MANY golfers have a much bigger reaction when they hit a bad shot compared to when they hit a good one.
They’ll beat up on themselves unmercifully for fluffing a shot, and don’t mind doing it publicly.
But hit a great shot and they’ll brush it off with little actual acknowledgement.
And that, according to leading golf psychologist Dr Bob Rotella, is not the way to build confidence in your game.
Because of the way our memory and subconscious works, memories are much stronger, have more influence and remain in our minds far longer when we attach strong emotions to them.
So, many golfers are reacting exactly the wrong way around, if they actually want to improve their game, or even their enjoyment of their game, that is.
By going over the top and getting really upset at bad shots they are ingraining that feeling in their minds and making it more likely to happen again.
When you hit a great shot, you don’t have to carry on like a public lair, but you can take a moment to inwardly savour it, and help to store away that feeling for future use.
In his book, The Golfer’s Mind: Play to Play Great, Rotella expands on the importance of building, and playing with, confidence in golf.
Given two players of equal skill, the more confident one will nearly always win, he says.
Confidence about a shot is no more than thinking only about the ball going to the target
Rotella recounts talking to Fred Couples the night before he won the 1992 Masters.
Couples told him that in his pre-shot routine he was thinking about the best shot he had ever hit with that club in his hands. Rotella wasn’t surprised when Couples won.
Rotella suggests keeping a note or record of your best ever shots.
If, unlike many of his clients such as Padraig Harrington, you can’t put a video together drawn from your television coverage, a notebook will do.
Rotella wrote The Golfer’s Mind as an easily digested, ready reference guide players can carry with them and refer to when they need it.
Each chapter features a list of the main thoughts or ideas to work with on each topic.
10 Thoughts on Golf Confidence
1. Confidence is knowing that if you play the golf you’re capable of, you will win or have a chance to win.
2. Confidence is being more comfortable as your score gets lower and you get in a position to win.
3. Confidence is feeling like a winner even if you are not the winner.
4. You should be more confident at the end of a round than at the beginning.
5. If you don’t grow in confidence with every year you play golf, your thinking needs adjustment.
6. Thinking confidently about your game should be no different than thinking honestly about your game.
7. A confident player thinks about what he wants to happen on the course. A player who lacks confidence thinks about what he doesn’t want to happen.
8. Given two players of equal skills, the more confident one will win nearly every time.
9. Confidence about a shot is no more than thinking only about the ball going to the target.
10. Confidence doesn’t come from a full trophy cabinet, it comes from within.
The Golfer’s Mind and Rotella’s other books, including Golf is Not a Game of Perfect and Putting Out of Your Mind are usually available at great value prices from the Australian Senior Golfer Bookshop.