Mind Power

Apply my Five Cs for competitive golf and bring some mental power to your game

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When a golfer is under pressure, he or she feels as though time’s moving faster than normal. As a result, he or she ends up making quicker (and sloppier) decisions than normal. If that sounds like something you do on the course, take a moment, step away from the shot and assess the given circumstances. How far away am I? What’s the wind doing? Where on the green will I have an uphill putt? What’s my target? Reverting back to the factors at hand, refocus your energy in the right direction.

Golfers under pressure—that is, golfers who typically don’t think straight—risk a lot more than they would under normal situations. I tell my students that the goal is to treat each shot—regardless of its significance—the same and to go through their preshot routine that helps them make the smartest decision. After you calculate what the shot entails (and the risks involved), you’ll more likely be fully committed to that shot. And, once you’re committed, you eliminate a lot of the risk that goes with bad decision making.

Rick Sessinghaus, PGA, coaches all levels of golfers on how to improve both their swing mechanics and mental skills. He’s the author of Golf: The Ultimate Mind Game, is a sought-after corporate speaker and teaches at Chevy Chase Country Club in Glendale, Calif.

THE FIVE Cs, SUMMARIZED

COMMITMENT: Narrow your possible swing choices to only one shot. Either visualize a well-struck shot that you’ve hit before or picture your present one landing exactly where you want it.

CONCENTRATION: Divert your focus from all the negative “what ifs” and focus on what you can control. Visualize a great shot, talk positively to yourself and follow a set routine that’ll ingrain a rhythm and help improve your concentration.

COMPOSURE: After a poor shot, take a “mini timeout” and learn from the shot. Use a postshot routine to figure out what caused the result. After you take the time to analyze, you can move on knowing what caused the poor result.

COMFORT ZONE: Instead of looking at a new situation as something to be nervous about, see it as something to have fun with and embrace the chance to go for it.

CALCULATE: The goal is to treat each shot—regardless of its significance—the same and to go through the preshot routine that helps you make the best and smartest decision. After you calculate what the shot entails, you’ll more likely be fully committed to that shot.



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