Optimal Mindset

How do we learn the optimal golf state of mind?

Learning how to practice the inner game of golf is the key to getting better. Afterall, it’s our minds that control our swing and it’s our mind that has to process the results of a golf shot.

Good golf is about positive visualization and feel, and responding correctly to outcomes whatever they are.

Being able to do this has a massive impact on our performance, whatever our handicap. This is easy to say, but how to we learn it?

The first part is easy. Make your practice more about being creative, rather than learning new techniques. Learn to heighten your senses and make shot making part of your instinct. Introduce different shots to your body and make it work to produce different shot shapes. Gary Player (the most diligent golfer ever) that said practice should involve hitting as many different shot as you can – hooks, slices, fades, draws, low and high shots. Enjoy the adventure of being creative. Tiger Woods says creativity is his 15th club in his bag. This is becasue he learns and practices positve visualization and feel as often as possible. I bet Tiger rarely hits the same shot more than a few times on the pratice range. So many golfers think they have mastered the game on the range, because they see the ball flying at the same target shot after shot. This is not the most effective way to practice. Your body put’s that shot in the short-term muscle memory and it’s repetition becomes sub-conscioius.

We need to use our minds to keep our body learning new shots and the feel of shot shapes. This is what will make you a better golfer. On the golf course you are never faced with a straight shot on a level lie, shot after shot. You have to recognize how the ball will move in the air and the optimal shot shape to hit. No shot is the same as it is on the range. Through practicing a variety of shots on the driving range and during our play, good golf will become part of our instinct and we will be able to visual and feel the swing needed to produce it during our rounds. Learning a large repertoire of shots is the key to a scoring game.

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David MacKenzie

is a golf coach and golf publisher and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind a teaching program designed to help golfers eliminate negative mental interference and play with confidence.

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