We often spend a lot of time post round reflecting on what didn’t go so well, you only have to sit in the club house on a Saturday afternoon and listen to the tales of woe about how the drive up 9 or the duffed chip shot on 6 ruined what could have been a good round. We don’t tend to see all the good shots as much. Take an average 18 handicapper who’s just shot 5 over their handicap it’s fair to say within the 95 shots during the round a high percentage would have been more than adequate for their standard of golf they expect to play, however they seem to gloss over the good and primarily focus on the bad stuff.
To develop as golfers, we must reflect on what is both bad and good equally and focus our practice to both maintain our strengths and develop our weaknesses. That’s why I believe to truly improve our golf having a fair, clear minded reflection process can help us continually improve our golf. Once we understand what is both good and what needs improvement we can start to structure our practice and tuition sessions around both the good and bad.
I often have conversations with pupil’s regard what needs working on, whether it be improve driving, chipping or putting and when in the coaching room a lot of what they describe of how bad it is or how they can’t play certain shots doesn’t really show up, then I get the “well it’s because your standing behind me, I’m focusing more so I’m playing better today” line. I very rarely hear any pupil come to me with them wanting improve their process to how they approach shots to reproduce the good shots that they know they’re able to achieve that doesn’t come to fruition on the course, it’s always about the technique. Granted often there is some fundamental technique issues that are the root cause of some of the stray shots or duffed chips, but we have to remember for a high percentage of the round those technical issues aren’t hitting bad shots. The best golfers have a wonderful ability to manage their ball around the course irrespective of how good or bad they’re hitting it on any given day. I put most of this down to the mental toughness of being able to stay in their process for each and every shot no matter what has happened on the previous shot. It’s a bit of a cliché but each shot IS the first shot and we should train ourselves to approach it as that. We can change what has just happened and we can’t fully control what might happen in two holes’ time, we can only focus on the shot in hand that we are faced with each time, we can’t fully do that if we are stood on the 11th tee with our minds are still on the 9th tee where we hit a huge slice out of bounds. Which makes be start to think the reason why a pupil on the range tends to hit more good than bad shots is that they are focused on the shot in hand without the mind drifting off about the previous shot or fear of what might happen if they slice it.
If you can begin to develop the skill of treating each shot the same no matter how well or how bad the previous shot was, you will start to see the true golfer that is within. Will you start to play perfect golf each round? No! but you will start to see you start to reduce the rounds where one bad shot causes the rounds to fall away from you and reduce the poor scoring patterns lasting so long during competition rounds. It won’t happen straight away you have to work on it, you have to practice YOU as much as you practice your technique. Something as simple as starting to do your pre shot routine each shot in practice will start to develop a process that works for you, the more you practice it the more you’re likely to reproduce a good process for each shot on the course to help reduce those scores and when not being quite on point reduce the bad scores.