Practicing what you preach: Part five!

by | Practice

Alright, so I have reached the last hole of the tournament. I have passed the previous day’s leader but know that there are lots of other strong players in the field so I figure I probably need to par the last hole to have a chance. I once again go back to my game plan for this hole and back to the tee shot at hand. I mishit my drive a little left, but since our tees were up I knew I could still reach the green in two. I had a tricky lie and had to bring out my 7 wood to try and get the ball up onto the elevated green. I hit a great shot, right on line and just came up a few yards short. Chipping is again another part of my game I have struggled with especially when I am not playing consistently. Again I went back to my external focus of the clubhead after impact. I trusted that feel and hit a chip shot to about 3 feet. These putts in the past have terrified me to the point that I have mishit them so bad that they went further from the hole then I previously had. It was like an involuntary twitch in my right hand or tremor. However, my putting today had been feeling good and I stuck to my external focus for every putt. Just that feel of the putter head after impact was what I had trusted all day and what I was going to rely on now. I stepped up to the putt, exhaled and felt the putter head past impact. My stroke stayed smooth, my body reacted to the target and the ball rolled right into the middle of the hole! I was so excited that my hands stayed steady in my putting the entire round! This was a huge break through for me. I completed a great round of golf but most important I was so proud, and a bit surprised, by how I finished coming down the stretch. I stayed in control and even though my thoughts did skip to the future, which in golf we know can be extremely detrimental, I didn’t let those thoughts ruin my round. I accepted them as being human and being excited about playing good golf, but was then able to refocus at what I needed to do to hit a good golf shot.

We went inside after the round and all chatted about to try and see who won. I knew I passed the previous days leader, but to my dismay another player came from behind and shot a great round! I ended up tying for second place. Although I was momentarily disappointed when I found this out, there were still so many great positives to take away from this tournament that I was still incredibly pleased with my own personal performance. Sometimes that is just how it goes in sport, and I can’t control what other players shoot.

In conclusion, this tournament was my first in over a year and I had had very limited physical practice time. I played some of my best golf, and handled the pressure down the stretch better than I had when I used to be playing all the time. The plan I had stuck to and practiced enabled me to have a sense of confidence throughout the tournament, I was composed, and able to stay focused when the pressure increased. This to me shows the power of mental training, and just how exactly it can make a difference!



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