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One of the clearest challenges in golf I personally find in relation to the mental game is what is going through my mind during the round at key moments. By this I mean we play golf over 18 holes for around 4 to 5 hours and at various times my head makes no sense in golfing terms. It may be standing over a putt or on the tee with club in hand and suddenly there are no constructive thoughts to accompany the production of my stroke. Why is this so? I mean for the majority of these situations I have the appropriate stuff upstairs to make things happen. The importance of developing a solid technique in golf stands out in these moments.

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Trusting In Your Technique When It Matters Most

This is where a solid technique can save the day and the golfer can trust his or her swing despite the absence of positive thoughts. I suppose my journey in golf mastery has been toward this status of having a solid enough technique to get the job done. This experience is most commonly felt on the putting green. You just have some putts that you don’t feel right about or aren’t confident of making during a round of golf. In these instances, whether provoked by a difficult read or just an uncomfortable feeling it is a case of making a call and committing to the stroke.

Golf Grinds Away All But Your Technique & Character

This is why technique is so important in the game of golf. Beginners or extreme ‘feel’ golfers – those that rely on their spontaneous responses to situations- without the grounding of a solid technique, will, invariably struggle to achieve consistent results. The game is just too overwhelming in its geographic challenge for golfers to emerge unscathed by misfortune on the score card in the majority of rounds. Compounding errors is the main reason why most golfers remain mid to high handicappers. Without the bedrock of technique and the skill sets that provides there are just too many holes in these golfer’s games. Character is pretty important also, as Stoic golfers know only too well.

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Golfers Come In Different Grades

Obviously we are all unique and different in our mental capacities and ability to apply them to the game of golf. We are likely at various stages of what the game of golf means to us and why we play it. However, golf throws up similar mental challenges to most golfers. Ask any golfer why the game is so challenging and he or she will tap their head and nod sagely. “It’s between the ears!” Standing over the golf ball at address it is in those moments prior to pulling the trigger that can frustrate so many of us. It may be perchance, being assailed by negative thoughts related to the last time you played this hole? Or in reaction to the last stroke you just stuffed up? Thinking too much or not enough about the right stuff? The mind dances to its own tune and sometimes can’t get into step with golf. Some of us try to clear the upper decks and swing in a state of no mind. Here again the body must be drilled in a technique solid enough to stand up.

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Trusting In Your Technique

We can stand on the driving range or practice fairway and execute shots in a perfunctory manner. However, when we relocate to the real deal in competition things don’t feel the same. There is a hyper-awareness of everything you think and do. It is like a super microscope is magnifying everything pertaining to your swing and the situation. There are no second chances in golf without paying the cost on the score card. The penalty areas around some greens are potentially very expensive. The situation may be your closing hole of a rather good round in the making. The pressure builds and your mind is a super sensitive sounding board for the crazy shit golf can make you think and feel. Trusting in your technique is the foundation stone for these challenging situations in golf.

Understand The Nature Of Your Golfing Tools To Develop Technique

Eventually, even dabblers in the game of golf have to ask themselves am I going to go on repeating the same crap or do something about it. What is that saying? The definition of madness is doing the same things and expecting a different outcome. Many golfers live in this realm on the fringes of what the game demands from its adherents. The only way to develop a solid golfing technique is to practice and get some professional instruction from a reputable teacher. Most usually your PGA pro at your club or at a golf centre will help you to move toward developing a solid technique. Commit to a series of 6 to 10 lessons or more to really begin the process properly. If you can learn to love practicing your game and doing drills it will serve you well throughout your golfing journey. Golf clubs are tools and you need to learn how to use them in a variety of settings and situations. We live in a largely theoretical time, where most of us no longer have a lot to do with tools made of steel and graphite of this size and nature. Obviously, some of us do in the trades but even there technology is making its presence felt. Modern humans do not work with their hands as much anymore. Golf is all about working with your hands via the golf club.  The importance of developing a solid technique in golf is paramount if you want to find success.

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The Sizing Up & The Doing In Golf

Experienced golfers and very good golfers all agree that much of the game is played upstairs in our heads. Decision making is crucial in golf. Judgement is another vital essential ability in golf. You must sum up the situation and choose a strategy for playing a particular shot. Get this wrong and you pay for it on the score card. Even when you have come up with a feasible strategy you must execute the shot. I have tried a program where the creator of it divided golf into left and right brain tasks. This was an interesting approach to explore and had some viability, in my opinion. In the end it was not for me, as I have never been the greatest visualiser and the aural based program demanded more of this skill than I possessed. Too many blue and red lights took me away from my more mundane approach to golfing at the time. The distinction between analysing the data and then executing the shot was the key thing emphasised, however, and that is very useful. Trusting that our bodies, if correctly drilled in the task, know what to do without constant direction from the conscious mind is the gold in this golfing narrative. Technique lays the groundwork for performance.

“Golf is a sport that demands precision, skill, and focus. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or an aspiring golfer looking to enhance your game, it’s essential to incorporate effective training techniques into your routine.”

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Easier Said Than Done In Golf

In my experience, these things are easier said than done – like much in life and in golf. Often our technique is nascent, which means fledgling or embryonic, and as such does not cope well with outside pressure. Trusting your swing under the gun is harder than it sounds. It must be forged through experience both good and bad. Many folk say that failure teaches us much more than success. Or perhaps it is just that we notice the knocks more than the steps in the right direction. We can brood upon failures in golf and life for better or worse. The Stoic golfer attempts to walk an even path without getting too worked up over either success or failure during a round and post-round. However, there is always so much to learn from every round of golf – good or bad. Every time I play golf I find that I learn something new because it is such an immense game in terms of scope. There are few or no other sports like it. An effective technique takes time to develop and is always a work in progress. Do not be overly judgemental about your golfing ability. Yes, if you find a weakness get some instruction and practise it. Give yourself the time and space to work on aspects of your game without undue or harsh self-criticism. Make practicing a joy rather than a chore. Too many golfers have their imprint of the stern father in their rear view mirror – I hear it out on course as they self-admonish. Stuffing up and making mistakes is how we learn – if you are paying attention in the right manner. The importance of developing a solid technique in golf rings true in every experience out there on the course.

STFU & Play Golf

I play with too many golfers who spend most of the round loudly reprimanding themselves for poor shots. Hear this – nobody else is interested, so keep it to yourself. OK, we all do it every now and then, me included. Do not make a 4 hour epic out of it with your constant censures and castigations, however. It sucks the life and joy out of golf for everybody. I have written quite a bit about this in The Stoic Golfer: Finding Inner Peace & Focus On The Fairway. You may think that you are releasing your frustrations and getting it all out by venting out loud during your round but you are only making things worse. Your psyche gets off on the drama of it all and your blood pressure goes up. Playing delicate shots with fine motor skills is not best served by this. You will compound the frustration and rage with more f*** ups. I have seen it so many times and I have done it myself on really bad days. Calm and composure. Keeping your cool. Taking deep breaths and letting things go. These are the methods and mindset of golf mastery. It will do you well to remember that playing good golf is like a high wire act on the grass. There are so many things that can go wrong out there it is a minor miracle if you are on or under par. Stay in the moment and in the zone. Ride that wave for all its worth but know that nothing lasts forever.

Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of The Golf Book: Green Cathedral Dreams and The Stoic Golfer: Finding Inner Peace & Focus On The Fairway.

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