But when you think about it, 98% of the game is spent not hitting the golf ball but walking around the golf course and 2% is actually spent moving the golf ball from one point to another. The transition from 98%, where the mind and body are in a state of dormancy, to the 2% where the mind is fully concentrated on the visualisation, rehearsal and execution of the shot is critical to success in golf.
I found myself this morning saying to a couple of my players, perhaps it’s a good idea to ‘own’ the shot routine and I used the analogy or comparison of the person in an office who is always walking around with a piece of paper in his hand, or a file with a purposeful stride but actually doing very little, yet nobody will actually challenge them because they look as if they know what they’re doing.
Perhaps this is the perfect solution for the somewhat timid golfer, where if you imagine you are on the golf course and you have a group waiting behind you, your playing partners are all but finished regarding the hole, but you have a tricky putt in front of you which needs some attention. You need to stride up to the hole give it a good once over, stride back purposely to the ball and really project the air of an organised and positive golfer. Performance psychologists call this ‘command posture’ or ‘command body language’, where you take on the persona of somebody who actually knows or looks like they know what they’re doing. Rather than submitting to the peer pressure back on the fairway or currently around the green.
This will have an enormous benefit and change in your thought pattern and inner confidence because very soon you will start believing that you know what you’re doing, that you are organised and that you are a good player. They say if you say something enough times you will start believing it. The same goes for body language and internal self-talk.
I’ve even gone as far to say to some of my players, prior to a shot, that you should feel as if you are a legend about to walk into a room, you don’t have to say you’re a legend, you’ve just got to feel as if you own the room around you. It normally gets a good laugh but when you take the alternative into consideration, you can definitely see the advantages along the ‘legend path’ compared to the ‘fearful impostor’ which is sometimes the language I hear from some of my players.
These players tend to feel because they are new into the game that they are the golfing equivalent of learner drivers. Unworthy of the same respect and deference accorded to the more experienced player. This, of course, is utter nonsense because every player is on a journey, some are going forwards, some are stagnating and some are going backwards. Experience really has nothing to do with it, yet the beginner golfer holds a lot of stock in that point of view.
Next time you are over a golf shot, you feel that you are under a little bit of time pressure, put the club under your arm and start striding purposely looking like you know what you’re doing.
Chances are you will eventually know what you’re doing, but at least in the meantime you will carry it off with a certain element of class, rather than rushing and feeling uncomfortable.
Good luck out there, speak to you next week!