But a bad golf day is just that – a bad golf day. You’ll be better next time. Even if you’re in the middle of a competition, there are positive steps you can take to improve the situation.
Adding more stress to your game by being over-critical and trying harder to correct it will simply reinforce your current behaviour and worsen the situation.
Research by John Toner at University College, Dublin, found that when golfers feel under pressure and focus more on their technique, they actually make matters worse. He found those who place their attention away from their technique often get better results. This could include thinking about the hole or a part of the green, as long as they didn’t concentrate on their technique.
So, what can you do to change your current fortune? Here are a few tips. Some may sound like the last thing you should be thinking but, remember, if banging your head against a brick wall isn’t working, don’t bang it any harder!
- Stop caring about how the game is going.
- Don’t try to play correctly – you’ve been doing that already and it’s not working.
- Stop trying so hard – have a passing interest in where you’d like the ball to go and leave it at that.
- Try being amused at your situation.
- Tell yourself you’re going to enjoy the next shot.
- Take in the scenery - would you really want to be anywhere else?
The objective is to break out of the loop you’re stuck in that’s preventing your natural game from flowing. If you can use the odd bad day on the course to discard your pride and try something different, you’ll prevent the blip becoming a dip.