6 keys to own your golf game and reap results: Dr. Bob Winters

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6 keys to own your golf game and reap results: Dr. Bob Winters

Golf

6 keys to own your golf game and reap results: Dr. Bob Winters

We have all heard the cliché, “Play your own game.” It’s a sad reality, but the masses of golfers who participate in our sport very rarely “play” golf. If they do go play, they certainly do not “own” their games.

Not only do most golfers have problems with the physical requirements of hitting the ball consistently and accurately, many become lost in the mental and emotional aspects of the game. These players suffer from the elements of distraction such as counting, totaling and projecting their end result or score. That is not the sport of dynamic movement and precision shotmaking that master golfers play.

The misguided majority of golfers are mistaking mathematics with body-movement creation. This obsession with the numerical tally interferes with the shot-by-shot creation that is essential to lower scores. I often think these number-crunching players would make great bankers, financial consultants and accountants, but when it comes to golf, they need to let go of the counting and get into the value of creating a one-shot mindset.

Perhaps we need to create a new mantra: “Own your game and play it,” – rephrasing the words creates personal accountability to step onto the tee and provide direction. Taking ownership of what you want to do also gives you emotional freedom to play the way you know you can play without the hindrance of expected outcomes.

I frequently remind my golfers of six keys to what “owning your game” is all about. Let me explain.

Creating a “Play” attitude for the day

It is vital you disconnect from the troubles of your professional and personal world and immerse yourself into a great day of golfing focus and execution. Remind yourself that today is about your performance and enjoyment, not about trying to play perfect golf, impress your friends or to work on your golf swing during the round.

When you enter the clubhouse gates, smile and remind yourself that today you will be the most upbeat and emotionally stable golfer on the course.

Warming up your mental, physical “Oil”

Before you head out to the course and while you are in the locker room, mentally replay the good shots from the last time you played well. It is a good way to plant positive seeds about yourself. It is also a good strategy to imagine handling adversity well and to remind yourself that you can recover if you do get in trouble. This is called coping imagery.

Take the time to actually hit some balls on the range in an organized fashion. Hitting balls in a well-organized warmup routine is a good strategy to compose yourself and gain a feeling of personal effectiveness and control.

Finally, go to the practice green and make a few short putts. I suggest you make five 3-footers before you leave the green. Walking to the first tee after seeing success on the green reinforces your confidence and helps reassure that everything will turn out OK.

Commitment to each shot

Make today about you and your target. Commit to each shot with complete attention and intention. Do not allow yourself to hit any shot if you feel unsure. Become crystal-clear about what you want to do. Committing to your decision about how to play a shot before you step into the ball will help create feelings of confidence and control.

Nothing is more crucial to “owning your game” than knowing you have thought the situation through and are ready to execute.

Back away when distracted

To “own your game” it is imperative that you never, ever hit a shot until you are absolutely sure about your plan and what you want to do.

The greatest mistake you will make as a golfer is going ahead and hitting a shot when you know you are not ready and have doubt or uneasy feelings. Simply back away and start your procedure over.

Trust your process

The ability to trust your decisions and your swing is crucial to taking ownership of your game. Developing an action plan of knowing what you are going to do and where you want the ball to go will help you swing at your target with trust.

Remember, trust is the letting go of trying hard, of trying to shoot low numbers and trying to impress others.

Acceptance and release of the results

Here’s a great strategy for letting go of a result: After a shot has been played, take a few swings to swing away the outcome. Allow the frustration to dissolve before you move on to the next shot.

Failure to accept the past and taking anger into the next shot will produce more difficulties. As you walk to your next shot, allow the frustration with each step to pass from your memory. Get yourself into the next shot with renewed enthusiasm and a positive focus.

Bringing it home

Taking “ownership of your game” is about taking action to play the way you want and being excellent to yourself. Do not become lost in the distraction of score, comparison to others, or the search for the perfect swing. Rather, commit to these six golden keys and relish the enjoyment you will derive from owning your game.

(Note: This story appears in the September 2017 issue of Golfweek.)

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