So, is it hopeless when an average golfer lets the game control their attitude? Not necessarily, providing the mental approach to the game starts getting as much attention as practice and play does. The trick here is to re-train the subconscious mind so that it always remembers and wants to make a good swing. I am assuming here that the golfer in question has a good understanding of golf swing fundamentals and their own skill level.
Next I am going to give you an example of what you may be mentally doing now in a particular situation and then show you how to change your thinking so that you can continually train your subconscious to make a good swing instead of a bad swing. The idea is simply to remember everything you can about a good shot and to forget about the bad shots.
Ok here we go. How do think most average golfers feel when they make a good golf shot? I would venture to say that they are in awe of what just happened and feel ecstasy, joy, happiness, etc. What do they feel when they make a poor golf shot? They might feel disgust, anger, fury and even rage. They would probably verbalize or think to themselves as to what went wrong for the next few minutes and in extreme cases they might even throw their club.
The answer to my next question might surprise you. Which of the above two examples is better for the subconscious mind? The answer is – neither! Oh, it is ok to feel good about yourself when results are positive. However, when you make a good swing it would be more beneficial to remember how it felt overall or how the ball felt coming off the clubhead or how it sounded or to embed a picture of that long and straight ball flight in your head. These thoughts are what you want to register with your subconscious.
As for how you should deal with a bad shot – forget about it! When one famous golfer was asked how he kept from getting angry when he missed a shot or a putt he amiably replied, “I get quick amnesia.” Instead, immediately get back to business and start thinking about what you need to do to play the next shot. This will get you into a positive analytical mode rather than a negative emotional mode. It may not be an easy thing to do at first. Especially if you have developed bad mental habits, but if you practice these positive mental patterns routinely it won’t take long until they become good mental habits.
We have all seen professional tour players lose their composure once in a while. They are not immune to having the same problems average golfers face when it comes to the mental game. Usually, the ones that do the best are the ones that can maintain their composure or get it back quickly. Retrain your subconscious so it wants to make good shots and you are bound to see improvements in your game.
Since I mentioned the words “routine” and “habit,” I thought I would spend a little time talking about the distinction between the two. Routine is one or a sequence of tasks that you consciously do on a regular basis. Habit is an acquired pattern or routine regularly followed until it becomes involuntary or performed unconsciously. As an example, I will use what is called the pre-shot “routine.” It consists of doing several conscious actions as a prelude to hitting the ball. One action might be to obtain a proper grip on the club. If a person has to consciously think about how to say place and close their left hand, then the right hand and then adjust how tight they hold the club, I would consider this a routine albeit within the pre-shot routine. If on the other hand, the day arrives when a person starts gripping the club without thinking about it, it has now become habit. The goal, therefore, would be to turn as much of your pre-shot routine into habit as possible. For that matter it would beneficial to make as much of your golf swing habit as possible.