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Why is it that when your handi-cap drops, it is such a struggle to keep productive rounds going? It seams that one day you are striking the ball very well and the next, you can't find your swing. My hand-cap has dropped from a 22 at the beginning of the year to a 10 currently.
I've noticed the same thing. This summer I was shooting around a 10-11 handicap but now I'm playing more like a 13-14. I know this is a small difference but its frustrating. I think my deal is that I played nearly everyday this summer and know with football and school I haven't been able to play as much. Can't wait until I can go up the course everyday to return to my 10-11. In your case I think it might be mental. Just don't focus so much on score and just play.
Jim, its called pressure, this pressure comes from yourself in the form of expectations. You expect to play as well as yesterday, you have started hole 1 with pressure.
Don't know what you can do about it, just keep plugging away. Once you get used to playing as well as you have been the pressure goes away...........then you break another scoring barrier and it all starts over again.
I would recommend purchasing either the book or the audiobook on itunes titled "Golf is not a game of Perfect" by Bob Rotella. It has helped me tremendously in a similar situation to yours. Last season I was right around a 10-11 handicap and being up here in Tahoe our season is only about 5 months long. So when this season started I was anxious to see where I was at. I was playing similar, but I couldn't score and was making silly mistakes correlated and/or caused by frustration with myself because I knew I could play better.
I started listening to the audiobook on my iphone and it has helped me tremendously. He talks about how to make the most of your practice sessions on the range, using alignment sticks, and practicing shots with consequence just like on the course. He also talked about how to take your performance on the range to the course, which many of us struggle with. The key is to have two different mindsets when playing golf:
Concsious Function (Training Mentality) - This is your mindset on the range. You break down all the variables of each shot, think concsiously about what you are doing, analyzing your results, and moving forward from there. We are concsiously thinking about what we are doing.
Subconscious Function (Trusting Mentality) - This is the mindset we take to the course. We've trusted that we have prepared to the best of our abilities, we trust how our swing feels, and we are willing to accept the consequences good or bad. The key here is not to overthink whether it be driving, approach shots, short game, and ESPECIALLY putting. Don't think, just do it. Your instincts are your instincts for a reason; go with them.
After putting these practices into play, I have noticed a few differences in my golf game.
1) Consistency - I am much more consistent when I play from tee to green and I think it is mostly to trusting my instincts and letting it flow. I also am scoring and making par more consistently because I am accepting the consequences of my shots more. If I hit a bad drive, miss a green, or miss a putt, I'm ok with that and immediately focus my attention on the next shot. This is extremely helpful to keep you from compounding on your mistakes which leads to doubles and triples instead of pars and bogeys.
2) I am having much more fun. When you learn to accept the consequences good or bad, and move forward and learn from it the game becomes much less frustration and stressful. I have noticed a couples times that I have been able to save par after missing my drive simply by focusing my attention on my next shot instead of getting frustrated which has lead to more pars and even a couple hole outs for par saves, birdies, and even an eagle here or there.
3) Competition. When your are in competition, you need to have a routine both physical and mental that you can count on that will not let you down. When the pressure is increased, the importance of this increases proportionally. Being able to stay calm and steady through a match on just one shot can make the difference between winning and losing. These techniques have helped me a lot in matches.
Sorry for the novel Jim, but I hope this helps. It has completely changed my perspective on the game and I find it much more enjoyable and sustainable for the years to come.
TPI Level 3 Golf Fitness Professional
Truckee, CA | Lake Tahoe, CA
Sounds good Scott. I'm going to have to pick that up!
Thanks for the response. I tend to agree that it may be more mental than anything. Enjoy your days at school, work and no play comes soon enough!
Great insight, that is one that I have given little thought too. I guess it is true what they say, the hardest thing about golf is the space between your ears.
I thought I had the book here, but I guess it is one I better get. Your thoughts are great and I will do my best to incorporate those thoughts and steps into my game.
These are some good stuff Scott. I've read an e-book before on "golf mental toughness". It has also helped me out a lot, positive changes on my game almost similar to the ones you have experienced. Even a friend (whom I didn't get to play with for a year) noticing how composed and relaxed I was now when playing golf compared to before. It is the attitude of staying positive in the course, even when having a bad day. Like other people would say... the hardest golf muscle to work on is the one between the ears!
Happy golfing! No pressure...