Make every shot count. Never hit a ball without a target in mind. In fact, try to make your practice sessions tougher than the real thing.
“By the way, what do you mean by competitive practice and practicing your mental game?”
Anthony gestures with his right index finger and starts to explain calmly:
“Well, everybody talks about how important the mental side of golf is yet almost nobody thinks about how to improve in that area of the game. I think it’s because they just repeat what they’ve heard somebody else say. But it’s true the better you are able to concentrate and act under pressure the better you can actually perform your golf swing or your putting stroke.”
Jason hits his tee shot a little thin but it stays on the fairway.
“So what do you do if hitting balls is so bad? Practicing your short game, okay I get that lesson. But what about those tee shots and approaches?”
“Well, I always make my practice sessions tougher than the real thing. I aim at challenging small targets on the range. I putt towards a tee or a coin instead of a hole. I try to chip it within three feet of the flag five times in a row…”
“Yeah, I get it, I get it!” Jason says a little annoyed by Anthony’s teaching mentality.
Jason finishes this hole with a PAR and his happy until Anthony nails a long putt for his first birdie of the day.
Lesson V – Golf is a Game of Percentages Details and Inches
“You know, I’m really thinking about if I am able to ever tee it up with you again! For how long have you been playing now?”
“For about two years.” Anthony replys.
“That makes me sick! I’ve been playing for 6 years and struggle more than you do.” Jason says with a tongue in cheek attitude.
“Well, you see that’s what I had to learn as well. Most people think that you get better in chunks. But that’s most definitely not true for golf. In golf that’s more like an improvement in 0.1 percentages and sometimes you even play worse before you get better.”
“I guess that’s exactly what’s happening to me right now. My golf swing’s rubbish right now.” Jason replys smiling.
“Could be. Most people think they’ll play like a pro from now to the next moment, which is kind of ridiculous if you think about it. Golf is a game of inches and you’ve got to improve one inch at a time.”
“Yeah and I am only inches away from a mental breakdown. How about we get back to the range and you show me exactly what you are doing? I think you are on to something.”
Lesson VI – Put Your Thoughts into Practice
(Example Practice Session)
“Sure buddy, why not.” replys Anthony clearly delighted about the learning mentality of his friend Jason.
And so Anthony and Jason decide to take a break from playing the course to get back on the range. They get a bucket of balls each and Anthony walks Jason through a routine he’s been doing the last week.
“Here I’ll write you down what I’ve been doing last week.”
Jason takes a look at the list: