With a few months of hot dry weather and then two weeks of high winds and rain (and lush fairways again) us golfers will always find an excuse for a poor game. Visiting a variety of different clubs over the past few weeks, I do enjoy the stories I hear after the round.
As a golfer, you have to accept the course conditions as part and parcel of the game (perhaps that’s what makes golf such a brilliant, yet frustrating, sport)?
After your next round, whatever the outcome, have you considered talking only about your good shots? Now that may be alien to some, as we love a ‘drama’ in the clubhouse or on the patio, and who can resist telling everyone that you were 4 shots under your handicap until you stuck two balls Out of Bounds on the 16th! But seriously, this is not good for building up a bank of good memories that you can draw on at a later stage.
I'd go as far as saying actually WRITE DOWN your best three shots. These could be Drives, fairway shots, bunker shots, chips or putts, it really doesn’t matter, but what is important is to physically document them. Writing down is the ‘doing’ part of thinking and actually engrains the detail in our memory bank. For those that tell us their round was so poor, they didn’t have three good shots, then think again… a six inch putt to finish a hole is a good shot (as long as you are not playing gimme's)!
For those golfers that SERIOUSLY want to improve their game, create a GOB file!
Now in this instance, GOB stands for ‘Glimpses Of Brilliance’… and is a fantastic way to create documented evidence, in your own words and handwriting, of your achievements (incidentally, this doesn’t just work for golf). If you’ve holed a 10 foot downhill putt before (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t 😉), then what will your memories be like standing over the next 10 foot downhill putt? You have clear, fact-based evidence that will increase your confidence. Adversely, if you’ve only ever remembered the 3 foot putts that you’ve missed, again, what memories does that evoke when you are standing over that next 3 footer! Let’s be clear here though, it doesn’t ALWAYS guarantee that you will hole every putt, but the more confidence and fact-based evidence you have, the greater the possibility will become. Try it… you have nothing to lose!
Be kind to the way you talk to yourself, it can lead to all kinds of possibilities.
Why you should ban Gimme's!
Why do we have gimme's in this game? You wouldn't watch a football match and instead of the ball crossing the line, 'to save time, pick it up' (The laws of the game say the ball has to cross the goal line 100%)!
You'd not watch a cricket match and with a ball hurtling towards the boundary say to the opposing team 'Great shot, I'll stop the ball but you can have four runs'!
So why, when it comes to golf do I see gimme's... when the rules of golf say that the ball must be holed? (I totally accept a Match Play situation where your opponent has the right to concede a putt).
It saves time! How many times has that old chestnut been mentioned? If a ball is literally on the edge of the hole then knock it in, pick it up and move on...
But all of a sudden, that 'gimme' is about 2 foot away... and have you noticed, when you DON'T give the putt... time is taken (quite rightly) to mark and line up the putt, a practise stroke maybe... surely if it was a 'gimme' then just knock it in?
So if you want to be a BETTER putter... start knocking EVERY putt in.
Why will it make you a better putter? If you've been holing two - three foot putts all week long, when you are in the next competition consider how you'll feel having to hole out... when you've been practising all week? Adversely, if you've played gimme's all week and are now facing an 18" downhill putt, with a little movement from right to left... what will be going through your mind?
Manage your expectations!
Most amateurs do not expect to hole a 25 foot putt. There's no reason why you can't hole it (line, length and pace, etc.) but it's generally not expected. All you hope for is to leave it somewhere near the hole for a tap-in. As that putt becomes 8 foot or even 3 foot, then the expectation rises that you will hole it.
No one (generally) gets mad at missing a 25 foot putt, but watch what happens when you miss a short putt... and how often does that play on your mind when you are taking the next tee shot?
If you've practised short putts time and time again (and always put some consequence around your practise) then your confidence, belief and probability of holing that next crucial putt goes up massively!
As Gary Logan, former Professional Boxer and now Pro Coach says: 'I putt out every time now and it keeps you in tune for comps'!
And you'd not want to play Gary for money now!