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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Golf


That's Golf Think

Jeff Gustafson

The face of golf is changing. Just look at the likes of Tiger Woods, Camilo Villegas, and many of the other younger chiseled golf-bodies today and you realize that golf fitness is becoming a major part of the game. If players want to compete at the highest levels they have to have a physical routine, watch what they consume, be properly prepared mentally and then develop and follow a defined golf strategy that keeps their focus on the business at hand.

The old days of "golf not being a sport" have changed dramatically. It may still not have physical contact like some other sports but you have to get very physical in order to drive that ball consistently 300 + yards, endure the mental pressure, and walk some of those fairways. And with many of the courses reaching 7200+ yards with plenty of undulation, the game is demanding more and more.

In addition, the margin for error with so many good players is zero. Golf at any level has always required mental focus but today with so many good players that are consistent day in and day out, the mental side of the game has become even more demanding.

The need to play strategically is equally as important. If you look at most leader-boards, the difference between first and second is, in most any professional tournament, less than a stroke a round. But that "less than a stroke a round" equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money - not to mention limelight and endorsements and the spread gets even greater 1 to 3, 1 to 4 1 to is no longer "chump change".

You hear professional golfers talk about staying with the plan; focusing on the course; playing for position; attacking some holes; backing off on others - Without a solid, well-thought-out strategy that "less than a stroke a round" starts to widen considerably. It doesn't take much to lose focus and drop a stroke or two.

Most average golfers don't think about strategy, mental focus, conditioning but they should if only to play more consistently and get more enjoyment out of the game. Today there are plenty or qualified resources to draw from to develop a conditioning program that is specific to golf, mental techniques to help you control your emotions and stay focused on the game and strategy golf techniques to help you develop a clear and well thought-out game plan.

Thinking a bit more about how to approach each hole based on your game can make a huge difference in how you ultimately score. And it is the high-handicap player that has the most to gain. Where a 15 handicapper may pick up 2 strokes a side, let's say, with higher-handicappers it may be significantly more; And what a difference that could make in anyone's "golf attitude" let alone their enjoyment of the grand old game.

Bottom line: give your self and game some attention and see your enjoyment of golf soar.

That's Golf "Think"!

Article by Jeff Gustafson - Pocket Pro

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