Improve Your Golf Score by Improving Your Mental Approach (part 1)

This is the first of a two-part series on how a positive mental approach can improve your golf score.

When I discovered the “Triangle of Health,” I immediately realized that it would fit nicely as one of the Principles of Triangulation because it illustrates the idea of how the body and mind must work together for optimum performance of swing biomechanics and mental clarity. The Triangle of Health has three equal sides of which the bottom is labeled as “Physical,” the right side as “Emotional,” and the left side as “Chemical.” When all sides are in balance one experiences optimal health and well-being. When they are not, one is prone to disease or dysfunction.

Consider the following – It is your day to play golf. It is a beautiful day and you are feeling good and you think that you are going to have a good day. Your playing partners arrive and you get ready to tee off. Everything goes good for a few holes and then something happens. One bad shot, then another and you end up with an undesirable score on that hole. You may let the hole go, but if it happens again on the next hole you continue receiving bad vibes and no longer feel good about your game. Your stomach becomes upset and you can’t physically get the club “on the ball” anymore. You end up with a bad round and can’t wait to get off the course and go home.

The above is a good example of what happens when the emotional side of the Triangle of Health goes out of balance. Knowing that the subconscious is mostly in charge when swinging the club, it begs the question of whether or not we have any control over our conscious minds at all during that time. Have you ever made a practice swing that looked and felt great and then when you went to actually hit your shot it seemed like another person was swinging the club and it ended up nothing like the swing you just practiced? This may occur frequently to the average golfer and it is frustrating since they know they can make a good swing. After all, they just made a good practice swing.

So why is the subconscious more likely to remember a bad swing rather than a good swing? According to a study done at St Andrews University, something called verbal overshadowing could be occurring. A famous professional golfer once coined this phenomenon as “analysis paralysis.” What it implies is that when golfers think and verbalize too much about their bad technique between shots, it makes their brains focus more on language centers rather than on the brain systems that support the good skills in question. The result is that they are training their subconscious to pay attention to the bad techniques in their swing and not the good techniques.

Do you know anyone who verbalizes about the bad aspects of their golf swing including when they hit a good shot? Most of us have probably done it to some extent, but if done continually it could disrupt performance. Do it enough over an extended period of time and it could disrupt performance permanently. In these cases, golf becomes more torture than fun for the golfer and for the golfers around him. There is a saying that has been around golf for a while. It goes like this – “Let your attitude control your game. Don’t let your game control your attitude.”

In part two we will take a look at how to retrain the subconscious so that it always wants to make a good shot.

The above article is an excerpt from my book “Triangulate Your Golf Swing.”

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