Very often, we hear golfers say, "After a triple bogey in the beginning, I lost my cool" or "I got angry and over tried, and ended up dropping a few more strokes". Golfers, especially amateurs, get easily frustrated after a bad shot or a bad hole inviting more bad shots and ruining their game. Why does anger and frustration adversely affect a golfer's game? Lets find out.
When a player swings the club, his entire body moves in unison to make the swing. The ideal swing aims to follow the same swing path each time at an identical speed to make identical contact with the ball. These elements result in the ball receiving an identical amount of energy, direction and launch angle leading to identical shots.
However, when a player gets angry or tries harder to produce better shots, his thought starts to vary. This results in the pre-shot routine changes in muscle tension level leading to minor variations in the club head speed, direction of swing path and ball contact. Changes in the state of mind ultimately change the overall ball strike, hitting it in the wrong direction.
If you watch top players in action, they seem unperturbed after bad shots or bad holes. With experience, I reckon, they are convinced that good shots will also follow bad ones. They realise they have many more holes to play and bad shots holes are as much a reality of golf as good shots. This way, professionals are always able to balance their scores in each round.
So what do you need to do to maintain an identical state of mind and tension level? The answer is simple: switch off interfering thoughts or better still, support the process by training yourself to think identically. Positive visualisation can help it further. The bottom line for consistency is follow an identical routine during shot making, which gives each swing the best possible chance of success. Coupled with patience, it will result in the highest probability of a player optimising his skills.
In this era of golf, we hear about top players doing yoga and meditation to compete at the highest levels. These practises help maintain the tension levels of the mind and body while executing shots on the golf course. As they say, golf is for those who have patience and can keep their cool. Trust me, with routine, faith and patience, existing abilities can produce better results. In the end, it is about putting your belief to practice over a period of time.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Golf Director at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. [email protected]