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Hands up who experiences this problem in their competitive golf. Why can’t I sustain good golf for my entire round? Four plus hours is a long time and we are not machines. Despite the vastly improved equipment we play golf with it is still a tough ask to maintain your striking ability over 280 minutes. Playing good golf for this length of time, with all the variables presented by the golf course and your four ball, is challenging. Yes, the actual time involved in making golf shots is much less but it comes at unforeseen intervals over the duration of your round.

Why can't I sustain good golf for my entire round -a man wearing white polo shirt holding a golf club
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What Stops Me Playing Good Golf Through The Round

I warm up by hitting a small bucket of golf balls on the range. I do some chipping in the practice area. Plus, I stroke a few putts on the practice green. Often, I start off really well in a competitive round and have a pretty good score on the opening nine. I can walk off the ninth green with a par and saunter over to the tenth tee ready for more good golf. Hopefully, there is not too much of a delay before my four ball can tee off on the second nine. I am feeling confident and keen to get into it on the back nine. Too many times I find things going wrong on the back nine and it can even start to unravel on the tenth hole. Suddenly, I am struggling with my swing and finding fairways, putting my game under pressure to make par and score. This experience is all too common for club golfers, as I have surveyed many of my playing partners and fellow members. Why can’t I sustain good golf for my entire round?

Sometimes I think I only have about 12 good golf holes in me and that the game is too long.

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How To Perform Better For Longer In Golf

The golf swing can be like an old clock winding down and eventually running slow and out of time. Tempo and rhythm is the glue that holds everything together in the golf swing. If we lose our timing it adversely affects the sequencing of moves in the golf swing. The club face ends up in the wrong place at the wrong times in the swing. Outcome – the golf ball goes in directions not desired. Outcome – we don’t hit the ball solidly. Outcome – we stuff up the shot. Golfers of all levels of proficiency will suffer in terms of their shot outcomes.

Why do we lose our rhythm and tempo in our swing?

There are a myriad of reasons why we can lose our tempo in the swing. Overconfidence when we have been swinging well through the round can cause the golfer to speed up and get out of sequence, especially with the driver. The longer the shaft the longer the swing and the more chance for things to fall out in terms of timing. Another reason is over emphasising a swing thought during the golf swing. Many of us take swing thoughts into our golf games, usually limiting it to one swing thought, so as not to overcomplicate things. Hands up who has found a swing thought, which make your swing better for half a round and then goes missing in its effectiveness for some mysterious reason.

Swing thoughts often have limited applications and you need to know when to ditch one that has reached its use by date.

Robert Sudha Hamilton

The fail safe for losing your rhythm and tempo in the golf swing is to have checkpoints in place to fall back on. Ideally, 3 checkpoints where you can tick off moves and positions to get things back on track in terms of where your stance, takeaway, backswing, and follow through should be. It is like a map to help you find yourself again after getting lost in the golf swing.

Grooving a solid golf swing means that you can do it in slow motion in stages and still hit the golf ball.

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Why can’t I sustain good golf for my entire round?

Slowing things down is the first and smartest qualification to bring to your whole golf swing. You don’t need a fast swing to hit the ball a long way. Making solid contact is the key to distance and direction. Things always feel slower than they actually are in the golf swing. Do a few drills on the tee making practice swings that find those checkpoints. Take the time, without causing slow play, to find your golf swing again. You are winding that old clock back up again to get you through the rest of your round. You can recover your rhythm and tempo to resume playing good golf.

Don’t panic, use your breathing to find the rhythm, and fake it until you make it.


  1. Your golf swing can go missing during a round.
  2. It is all too common to lose your tempo.
  3. This causes misguided shots & mishits.
  4. You need checkpoints in your golf swing, where your clubface and body should be at takeaway, turn, at the top, & follow through.
  5. Slowing things down & finding those checkpoints can help you to recover your golf swing mid-round.
  6. Drill your body via practice swings to get things back on track.

Making Smart Use of The Time In Your Round

Returning to the fact that 18 holes of golf takes a long time. We begin our rounds with hope in our heart and an excited optimism about what lies ahead.

However, a lot happens in a four ball during a competitive round of golf.

A lot happens in our own round of golf in terms of good strikes and outcomes, bad shots and outcomes, and the rub of the green. On top of this is the side stream involvement we have with looking for our partner’s lost golf balls. The emotional vortex of losing our own golf balls can suck us into temporary moments of anxiety, which affects us and our game. Four and half hours plus is a long time to wander around a stretch of land focusing on lies, strikes, flights, rolls, bounces, breezes, and it can be an emotional rollercoaster ride if you are invested in the outcome of such things. I play golf with a great bloke who reacts loudly with passionate groans of disgust every time he hits a woefully misdirected golf shot. This can be draining for the golfer who snakes down into chamber of negative feelings with regularity. I can hear the cries at night in the lunatic asylum Peter!

The game of golf can have you twitching in annoyance at things that happen during a competitive round for a four ball.

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On the greens you have four golfers all hell bent on reading their putts to the hole, waiting for their turn to putt by ascertaining who is furthest from the hole, and generally preparing themselves to make a successful putt. Putting involves fine motor skills and fine data processing – twitchy stuff. The experienced club golfer knows that this is where it all really counts- sinking putts on the green. Golf involves 18 chapters every round and each of these chapters concludes on a green. How that chapter ultimately plays out depends on what happens on that green. Great and good shots can be wasted via a missed putt. Poor golf shots can be resurrected through jagging a lengthy putt into the hole. It all happens here folks, so the stakes could not be higher, especially in a championship round. Golf really matters on the green. Over four plus hours your playing partners can really annoy you with their behaviour on the green and you can really annoy them too, I am sure.

Little things can grate at your stretched nerves, as you try to block out extraneous information and focus on the main game. This is the stuff that eats away at your ability to play good golf over 280 minutes.

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We play plenty of bad shots during an average round of golf. Sometimes your playing partners find this amusing and use you for sport. The ability to laugh at yourself in golf is essential if you are to survive such good natured ribbing. On occasion, however, this can unexpectedly bite. 280 minutes of very warm weather or cold inclement conditions can push you over the edge sometimes. Having your high expectations crushed on the 18th hole when you are in contention can prove your undoing every now and then. Sometimes it is just not that funny to watch your dreams and aspirations sink in a creek or get lost in a wasteland.

Stuffing up at golf when you have been playing exceptionally well is particularly galling.

Why can’t I sustain good golf for my entire round? How can we make smart use of the time in our round? Keep things light and don’t get overly involved in the goings on around you. Remember that you are playing golf for one person and one person only when competing. You can be a model four ball partner and retain a certain level of disassociation from the pack. It is essential if you are going to survive four bloody hours on the links in all kinds of weather. Don’t ride your shots and their outcome on the emotional rollercoaster.

Be like the Buddha or such like, with ‘water off a duck’s back’ your mantra when playing golf.

Of course, you do care but don’t overly show it. Don’t get caught up in conversations and discussions within your four ball that take you away from playing golf in the moment.  It is all too easy to get distracted to the detriment of your golf. Grin and bear it, is a quality that we all have to take into our forays of competitive golf. Bad breaks regularly happen in golf because of the huge arena we play the game on. Develop a pre-shot routine that prepares you to play the shot to the best of your ability. A ritualised series of steps that snaps you into game mode and out of socialising mode. Take dead aim, is what Harvey Penick told his many famous golfing students. You need to be able to get into that supreme state of utter concentration just prior to and during the execution of your stroke. Take dead aim!

Robert Sudha Hamilton


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Golf can be a struggle!