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The Mental side of breaking 80

Updated: Apr 28

As the old saying goes, Golf is 80% mental and 20% mental ... As I continue my quest to shoot a level par round of golf I decided I must first shoot every round in the 70’s as my first objective and the mental side of the game is an area of golf coaching that I have wanted to explore for a long time. A couple of weeks ago I suddenly got the chance when I came across the “Mind Factor” training from Karl Morris. After spending 3 days studying with Karl (It was on-line so I took two weeks and read the 6 books he recommended at the same time BUT he supported with e:mails) I was ready to head out onto the course and start to execute some of his inspirational teachings. Karl is from the north and he delivered his training with typical down to earth, pragmatic examples of where simple psychology can make a difference And I decided to adopt 3 of them into my game and measure the result.


Ask yourself good questions


I started, as recommended, by asking myself good questions on the course ... “What does a good shot look like here ?” ... “what is my intent with this shot ?” ... “what was the greatest shot I hit here before” It helped ... Within a couple of rounds I was hitting more greens in regulation and my averages went up from 44% to over 55% .... These questions promoted positive intent and positive memories of previous good shots on the hole I was playing. It also helped remove the negative thoughts that haunted me walking into a shot ... “Left is dead here” etc. By filling the negative vacuum with intent statements and positive recollections approach shots seemed a little easier.


Be conscious of your breath


The second thing I started to work on was my breathing. I had been meditating since a spiritual trip to Thailand in 2009 so the concepts were far from alien to me. Now I was starting to bring it onto the course and it was helping. I associated my breathing into the broader pre-shot routine. A couple of deep breaths as you walk into your pre-shot routine helped again to remove the negative thoughts and gave the brain some extra oxygen to process the next steps. It also removed tension out of my swing. However the area it started to help most was in removing those “past” conversations... “I cannot believe I just 3 putted there “ .... I started to drop those thoughts as I stayed more in the moment. I had read Jayne Storeys book “Breath Golf” (Well done Jayne for reading it yourself on Audible) that talks about One shot , One breath , One hole at a time. it is of course a very obvious statement but by repeating this mantra you can find a way of coming back to the present moment when you are playing. (Note: The book is good and covers some other concepts on Thai Chi that I will do some more reading on going forward. Loved that concept of effortless power in the Bruce Lee movies so I am sure it will works its way into this process at some stage).


Eat all the way round to help you concentrate


The 3rd thing I am working into my process is to fuel yourself all the way around the golf course. Now I am sure their is some science out there that will tell you that I am slowing down my metabolism by eating all the way around and that it has an impact on my game. I have started to take 2 bananas, 2 apples, 2 oranges and a bag of nuts onto the course (and lots of water). It hard to concentrate for 4 hours and this new comprehensive mental process takes some managing, especially the fact that I am swinging a golf club in 30 degrees and 85% humidity. Graze (Avoid the pies and sausage rolls at the halfway house) all the way round you will see a difference.


Its not perfect - Persist with it, refine it


In addition to this new mental process I have several other things that I must do before I play golf including warms ups, taking time off (Not playing everyday), doing my gym work and getting in my technical practice and I need all of these to blend together before I will see my scores drop .....and its not perfect. YOU MUST stick with the process, don’t let you playing partners disturb this process, take your time (Make your time up between holes), give yourself prompts to remind yourself of the process you are going through and you will succeed.



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