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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Golf


Golf Mental Game - Why Is That Important?

John Davenport

Like other high visibility games, Golf too has its share of stress. Therefore, the mental side of golf becomes very important. In the absence of golf mental toughness you come across instances of golfers literally choking at crucial positions. Greg Norman for instance blew a six shot lead in the final round of the 1996 Masters. In golf, choking occurs when golfers stop enjoying the game and take the tension to heart especially in the final rounds. Physiologically, choking is associated with tightening of muscles, shallow breathing and frequently results in below par performances.

In a mental golf study in Australia, 10 amateur golfers were asked to hit twenty 2.5 meter straight putts on a flat green. Then pressure was progressively increased by throwing in prize money for the achievers. Almost all the golfers showed similar increase in brain activity as the stress levels increased. However, analysis of the five top performers showed that their brain activity was evenly distributed throughout both sides of the brain. Those who scored low had the left side of the brain doing most of the work. This would suggest that involving the more creative right side of the brain is crucial in getting a good result when coping with stress. Mental golf experts suggest some golf mental game tips for engaging both hemispheres of brain like visualizing the target, humming your favorite song or picturing being finished with the job. These cues engage both hemispheres of the brain and enhance performance.

In another study of the mental aspect of golf, it was found that the players were most distracting during the initiation of the downswing. The athletes were not easily distracted during the pre shot phase which indicated they were concentrating more on their golf. Mental Golf experts opine that during the downswing there isn't much need to focus, which creates an empty space in the mind and allows distractions to get in.

To succeed in the golf mental game, golfers must develop a set of skills to sidestep or crowd out distractions. It is much better for example to concentrate on the immediate target and not on possible mistakes like hitting the ball into the lake. As an antidote to this tussle in your mind, mental golf experts suggest filling up the vacant space in your mind with something relevant like picturing the shape of the shot and trying to experience the feel of a smooth shot. After all, distraction is all in the mind.

To discover special tips to improve your golf mental game, click this link: Golf Mental Game Tips.

John Davenport loves golf and writes extensively about how to help players to improve their game. To read his review about Golf Training Ebooks and Programs, click here: The Golf Ebooks Each Player Should Know About.

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