I recently went on a ski trip to Japan. I am at best an intermediate skier. Each time I go skiing I invest in lessons to help with my technique and to build my confidence. This was my third ski trip in the last four years so I was familiar with the basic technique of skiing. Although I could always get better at technique my main concern and shall I say it, fear, was getting stuck at the top of a steep run with limited confidence to get myself down.
Before going up a lift I would map out my decent from the top avoiding the black lines and sometimes the reds and favour the green (easier) routes. Although my instructor and ski partner constantly told me that my technique was good enough to get me down the harder black runs, I had it in my head that the red and green ones were where I felt the best and had the most confidence. The comment I most often heard was, “Avoid getting locked into the psychology of the colour of the run.”
Now you are probably wondering how this story relates to golf? Indulge me for a moment and I will explain.
My instructor had taught me well with my technique in that I can confidently parallel turn and stop when I needed to even though sometimes I felt out of control. He pointed out that my technique was good enough to try harder runs and my only focus should be on looking down the mountain, pick a spot to turn and take your time getting down. In other words, trust the technique and map out a course of action (a process) to get down. And that is what I did. Once I committed to a course of action and trusted my turns and my ability to stop, I started getting down some of the steeper runs. this in turn built some confidence. It was the ability to commit to the process and trust myself, knowing I wasn’t perfect, that got me down the harder runs.
Now how does this story apply to your golf game? Think about the last time you dropped your handicap. Did you reach the hole that you lost a shot on and thought to yourself “Oh, no I have to make a good score here because I only get one shot now.” Or do you look at the index of the score card and look for the “hard” holes and begin dreading those holes early? Are there certain shots, holes or even courses you don’t like playing because they are “hard” and you “always” play them poorly? Like my “psychology of colour” you are suffering from a perceived fear of what is difficult. You are focussing on the negative and not embracing the challenge and opportunity that lies in front of you.
Just the same as I had to commit to my technique and a process to get me down the steeper runs, so too do you need to trust your current technique, trust your process and execute a plan to get you through those perceived difficult shots, moments, holes and courses. Remember, you will not lose strokes off your handicap without good reason! You are clearly doing something right and are ready for the next opportunity and challenge.
Each shot requires mindfulness and a commitment to the process. It is a choice what you focus on and commit to in that moment, so choose wisely. Embrace each opportunity and challenge that is in front of you. It is important to note that ability does play a role for certain shots and it is imperative to always plan your execution in line with your current ability.
If you can trust in your current ability and learn to commit to a process for each shot, you will be well on your way to conquering your black runs in golf.
Click here to contact me to get started on creating your own process for better shot execution during your rounds.