About a year ago I started working with a new golf instructor, Bill Longmuir. He’s a phenomenal teacher and has completely changed my swing and the way I play the game. When I played my first (and only to date) tournament last February, the one piece of advise he gave me was to trust my swing. When I get out there to play, do not think about the things he’s taught or the positions I’m supposed to be in – just go out, clear my mind as best I can, and swing.
Since golf is really just a mental game, I’ve been working on this piece of advice ever since. And last week I found a trick to help me get there. As you may have read before, I love listening to books while I run. It’s a great distractor and it actually helps motivate me to get up in the morning for those brutally early runs. If I’m listening to one of my usual suspense/thriller novels, I can’t wait to get up the next morning to hear what happens next. It also relaxes me, because I’m not usually thinking about the pain of running. I can get through almost any run because I’m too engaged in the book I’m listening to.
So I gave this same technique a try on the course. I went out for a quick round of nine as a test, put in my headphones, and listened to a book. No distractions, just me, a few golf clubs, and a page-turning thriller. It was the best round I’ve played in a very long time.
I’m a 28 handicap, so consistency is one of my biggest issues. But more important than that is my confidence and ability to trust that I can have a great round of golf. I’ve been trying to break 100 for years now, and aside from the tournament I played a year ago, have yet to reach that goal on my own. This round of golf I shot a 46. And since I was by myself I tried my two worst holes over again, and both I had one less shot on each, which means I had the potential that day of shooting a 44. Not that I was skeptical of Bill’s advise, but I was so pleased with how well I played. It boosted my confidence, so much in fact, that I’m planning to practice now about once a week with my headphones in tow, and I know soon I’ll be able to break 100.
So my own advise then is to find something that will help relax your mind while your playing golf. – music, a book (like me), positive mental imagery, meditation, a glass of wine;) It did it for me, and could help you too!
How do you improve your mental game? Any good books you’d recommend for my next round?