So I've been studying the mental game a bit over the past couple of weeks. I mean, when a person can go to the range every night and hit the ball perfectly...when it all goes well on the putting green...when the chipping practice is flawless...when the practice bunker shows no sign of error...something else needs to be addressed when these skills are not translating out onto the course, right?
The book I've been reading is called "Why Bad Golf Happens to Good People" by Glenn Kessler. It's available on the Amazon Kindle for $0.99. I recommend it.
I'm about halfway through, and here are some things I've discovered:
1) I need to have spent enough time on the range and the practice greens to trust my swing. When I'm standing over the ball trying to execute a shot, that is not the time to be wondering about my swing flaws.
2) When I'm standing over the ball, I need to completely clear my mind of all negative thoughts. This needs to happen on every shot. If the slightest doubt pops into my mind, I need to back away and go through my routine again.
3) I need to be aware. This starts with being aware of other things on the course. But it then proceeds of being aware of what is happening inside of my body.
My round on Saturday was the first regulation round I've played with all of these things being attempted. I spent a lot of time on the range last week working on it. My first shot on the course didn't exactly go great, but I was proud of a couple of things. First of all, I took a 10 on the fourth hole due to just a series of unfortunate circumstances. But I recovered nicely. More importantly, though, is that I made nice contact nearly all round long which exposed two minor flaws that were causing me to miss greens all round long. And the few times I did make poor contact, I could point to a single mental lapse that caused it to happen. For example, one time I swung too hard. Why? Because a negative swing thought crept into my head in the middle of my swing. Why did that happen? Because I wasn't aware of everything before I made my swing.
I think most importantly, though, is that I've gained my confidence back around the greens.