Most of us are familiar with the old expression: “Golf is 90 percent mental, and the other 10 percent is in your head.” How true. While ingraining the fundamentals, learning the proper techniques and dedicating yourself to plenty of practice is vital to lowering scores, so is building a reliable mental approach to every swing and every round, especially under the pressure of competition. The following Six Rs of Mental Game Success— which I’ve developed through years of teaching golfers of all levels and studying the best in the game — are competitive skills learned and developed, just like a fundamentally sound grip and setup. Review this list in preparation for competition and take a post-round inventory of how well you performed your Six Rs. Soon your Competitive IQ will be resilient!
Focus on deep rhythmic breathing and calming down your heart rate. An attitude of gratitude, and a quiet mind thinking in the present, is the key to calming yourself under pressure.
Through the bag, from driver to putter, the glue that keeps a swing together is rhythm. It should be a constant thought and feeling of focus, especially when feeling the heat of the moment.
Assess the situation and trust your intu-ition. Let’s break that word down to better understand this powerful tool that we often neglect to use during competition. “In-tuition”: Taking the first part, “in,” short for our inner voice that we often choose to ignore, especially when dealing with a difficult situation, and, the second part, being “tuition,” which is the price paid for skills and knowledge. Your history of being in similar situations and how you handled it, successfully or not, is the price that you have paid. Sometimes our decisions create huge loss and heartache. But as long as we can grow from it, then the tuition paid is well worth it. When we learn to listen to our inner voice is when decisions under pressure will become easier for us to choose the correct way and mitigate damage.
Every great player, past and present, became great from being habitual. Often referred to as the process, it should begin with seeing what you want the outcome to be. Once we have a picture of what we want, we can begin rehearsing the feelings of our shot choice in a rhythmic way. It is now time to walk into the ball because you are on purpose.
Take action without delay, with focus on the target and shot intention. Many players over-think while over the ball, causing fear, uncertainty and doubt to take over and — a mis-hit. When you are ready to go, do it without delay and with intention.
How we react immediately after a shot is often more important than the outcome of the shot itself. If the shot was good, we need to celebrate, because what we give energy will grow. If we didn’t pull the shot off, it’s even more important to replace what just happened with a vision and feeling of what you wanted to happen. You will see the best players in the world making a few practice swings to get the feel back before they move onward. The worst thing we can do is drag it down the fairway with us and into the very next shot. It is inevitable that in tournament golf we are going to make mistakes. How fast we bounce back by focusing confidently and intently on what we want is how to finish on top.
For more on the Brad Brewer Golf Academy, visit www. bradbrewer.com or call (407) 996-3306