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TOPIC: What is your mindset when playing a round?

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Nickesquire
What is your mindset when playing a round?
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Saturday February 29, 2020 2:21 PM
18 holes is a long time to remain focused on EVERY shot for most amateur golfers. What do YOU do to maintain your focus?

I start off every round the way I presume almost all start a round. My goal is to shoot the best score I am capable of that particular day.

That particular day is the important part of that statement. Shooting a 90 in the winter in blustery, windy conditions certaintly isn't going to reflect it on my handicap... But I could build a case that it may well have been a better round overall that particular day than a low 80's round in the summer under perfect scoring conditions. So getting upset with myself that I am not stringing together a bunch of pars in 25 mph winds is ridiculous. Therefore, keeping expectations reasonable is always a goal.

I wish that I could treat every shot the same. Maximum concentration whether I am even par after 15 holes or 20 over after 15 holes. Unfortunately, I just can't. Therefore, I find it beneficial to have "secondary" goals during each round.

I figure that if I shoot low enough for it to count among my best 8 of my last 20 rounds for handicapping purposes, then it's a better than average round. That is always my goal on #1 tee, to lower my handicap (which in my mind equates to improvement). And I always have a decent idea of what that score would be for each course.

Shooting the lowest round I have ever shot on that particular course is always in the back of my mind. Many may not keep track of such, but setting a new "personal course record" has always stroked me.

Breaking 80 for a player of my declining skill level happens less and less often these days, so that is always a goal. Some days more realistic than others.

Some rounds I can grind alot better than others. Whether that up/down is for a 4 or a 6, I can concentrate equally. Other days, not as successful as I would like concentrating on the 6. Especially true if there have already been too many worse than expected numbers posted on that particular scorecard.

Depending on the day/course, breaking 80 may not always be a realistic goal anymore, but breaking 85 is unless the weather is poor. So that is a good secondary goal during the round, trying to stay within reach by not recording too many blow up holes.

If it was a thoroughly forgettable day and I am +17 with holes to play, keeping it under 90 then becomes a fall back goal.

What about days where no matter what, physically and mentally, you just aren't performing anywhere close to expectations?

If it is CLEARLY not going to be a score that will lower my handicap and all the above is impossible, then I find that these are beneficial to keeping me interested.

Courses I have rarely played but plan on playing again? Maybe time to see exactly which trees or corner I can go over and try shots I would not if I were trying to break 75 on a great day for me. Sorry, but the difference in shooting 90 or 92 does not make me want to take an iron off the last tee, shoot for the middle of the green and 2 putt for par on the last hole.

Making multiple Birdies or the rare Eagle? That works for me. I won't remember 2 weeks from now if I parred the last 3-4 holes of a "throw away" round. And if I didn't at least break 90, the difference in a 90 or 92 is insignificant to me. However, I WILL remember if I made a couple of birdies or blasted a drive, cranked a 3 wood reaching a long par 5 in two and made a putt for Eagle even if it was an otherwise "throw away" round that isn't going to count on my handicap.

So I look for innovative ways to make the round memorable/enjoyable if I'm having an otherwise poor scoring day that would make me scowl.

What do YOU mentally to put yourself in the best position to shoot a good score and otherwise have an enjoyable round?

[[Edited by Nickesquire on Monday March 2, 2020 6:15 PM]]
REPLY
The goal has always been long and straight! But since I can no longer hit them long, hopefully straighter could be achieved more than occasionally?
 Message #93746
Rat-Patrol
RE: What is your mindset when playing a round?
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Saturday February 29, 2020 2:28 PM
The mind is s terrible thing to use during a round of golf.
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 Message #93747 - This was a reply to message #93746
jciapa02
RE: What is your mindset when playing a round?
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    May 1, 2013


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Saturday February 29, 2020 3:42 PM
Honestly, the mindset I have for the round usually starts with visualization the day before if it's a round I plan on taking competitively (about 99% of the time it is). I plan on checking out google maps if it's a new course and seeing the course layout in 3D if possible just so I'm not clueless to what the overall aesthetic of the course is.

Most of the time my mentality is just a single swing thought for each aspect of my game. That can change obviously given recent results but sometimes it'll be get my hands high with full swing, feel the bottom on short game and really feel like the low hand is following through thoroughly on putts. That'll give me something to focus on each shot besides just the flag or my aimpoint. I feel if I get too obsessive over score it's usually to the detriment. The day that I shot even for the first time, I really didn't even realize my score until the 16th hole of the day when I was on the tee box and realized if I par out after the birdie I made on the par 5, I'll shoot 72. That whole day was just: check lie, check yardage, check wind and envision the ball going on my desired path. That's it.

Sometimes the best way to focus is to...not focus. Us golfers are often given this sense of over-analysis...every shot. I could've done this on my backswing or I could've played the shot like this...when sometimes it's just the golf Gods reminding us who's boss. My buddy who is an instructor down at Bear Creek in Chandler, AZ has had some experience with the likes with guys like Martin Chuck and Vision54 and the one piece of his instruction he has gifted me that's stuck with me?

Have a go zone where once you're in it you're entrenched in the current situation . It's like a baseball batter's box...once you start your pre-shot routine narrow your focus like horse blinders. Then, once you finish your shot...go back to thinking about anything.

That's why I'll listen to music if it's okay with my playing partners and if not I usually try to engage in some kind of conversation other than golf, to keep my mind focused when I'm in the go zone.

[[Edited by jciapa02 on Saturday February 29, 2020 3:43 PM]]
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 Message #93749 - This was a reply to message #93746
Nickesquire
RE: What is your mindset when playing a round?
GK Event: Played in a GK Event SCGA GK Golf Club: Member GKGC EAGLE: GKGC Eagle Supporter

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Saturday February 29, 2020 4:12 PM
The mind is s terrible thing to NOT use during a round of golf Jim. And some don't use it whether or not they are playing golf, but that's a seperate discussion. What I'm interested in hearing about are others mental strategies to play their best golf.
REPLY
The goal has always been long and straight! But since I can no longer hit them long, hopefully straighter could be achieved more than occasionally?
 Message #93750 - This was a reply to message #93747
1PLUS1
RE: What is your mindset when playing a round?

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Saturday February 29, 2020 5:35 PM
Well, I certainly don't run through the same 'checklist' you do Nick. If I did, I'd need half a bottle of Tylenol to get rid of the ensuing migraine. For me, I just go out and play...but with far fewer preconceived expectations...and I make sure to select the correct tees in order to avoid placing unreasonable demands on my game and/or level of enjoyment yet still challenge my skill level. Tee it up at 7000 yards? Not going to happen at this point in time but to each his own.

Obviously, my goal is to play as well as possible, score- and ball striking-wise, although the two may not always stroll down the fairway hand in hand. While I'll have a target number in mind (76 sounds about right), I won't think about all-time lows or best rounds at a particular course unless I happen to find myself 'in the zone' as the round progresses. And I won't tabulate my score until I've holed out on #18; I'll know if I'm having a good or bad day but I never get hung up on numbers during the round.

At this stage of the game, I'm fully aware of my strengths and limitations so I make sure to play...and think...accordingly. Most of my 'mental process' is devoted to course management, proper club selection, and putting myself in position to make the most of my opportunities. Granted, on those days when things aren't going so well, I can get as frustrated as the next guy but I try to begin each round with a mind free of clutter and so-called demands.

Expecting to keep your concentration level razor-sharp over the duration of 18 holes is a bit unrealistic...especially for the recreational golfer...so I find Nick Bradley's '7 Step' approach helpful in this regard. Formerly Justin Rose's swing coach, he suggests that golfers stand 3-1/2 steps behind the ball as they begin focusing on the shot at hand. After hitting the shot and processing the result/ensuing feedback, Bradley states that 'closure' takes place once the golfer has walked 3-1/2 steps beyond where the ball lay. This 'plug in, plug out' routine allows the golfer to relax/refresh his mind between shots, preventing the fatigue that results from prolonged, intense mental activity.

Staying properly hydrated and nourished during a round is also critical when it comes to maintaining mental acuity...something overlooked by many golfers. I've got a friend who has a tendency to lose focus after 10-12 holes, at which point he finds it difficult to fully concentrate. As a result, he'll often make self-imposed mistakes that cost him a number of strokes. Making a concerted effort to avoid this mental fatigue has yielded positive results in recent months and the nutrition aspect was a big part of it.

And while a strong mental approach to the game is invaluable, it can be stretched to its' limits during a poor ball-striking round. Unfortunately, there will be times where your golf swing is MIA and no degree of mental gymnastics will make up for it but being able to grind it out during those rounds can oftentimes be more satisfying than an "I could have shot even par today with my eyes closed" experience. How many times have we felt that the scrambling bogey we just made on #12 felt ten times better than the birdie on #11?

One thing I like to do the night before I play is sit down, picture the course in my mind, and do a 'walk-through'. This serves as a reminder to reinforce where I need to place the ball off the tee and on the greens in order to score well. It gives me a bit of a head start as far as I'm concerned and is something I've been doing for many years. Once I'm on the course itself, I'll spend more time focusing on setting up to the ball properly and envisioning the shot I want to hit since my 'pre-game' strategy is already in place.
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 Message #93754 - This was a reply to message #93746
lotrgolfer48
RE: What is your mindset when playing a round?

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Saturday February 29, 2020 8:10 PM
No bogeys.

That's it. That's the list.
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 Message #93756 - This was a reply to message #93746
SBogey
RE: What is your mindset when playing a round?

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Saturday February 29, 2020 8:39 PM
Yeah I like to keep it simple too. My number 1 goal is no double bogies. Only happened a couple times but it's wonderful when it does. Lately I find myself just hoping for no more triples. Would be great if I could just manage that!
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 Message #93758 - This was a reply to message #93756
mpisarski01
RE: What is your mindset when playing a round?
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Saturday February 29, 2020 9:09 PM
My mindset is..... don’t cuss, don’t throw the club, don’t cheat! I normally can’t stick to those standards
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 Message #93760 - This was a reply to message #93758
chevelle
RE: What is your mindset when playing a round?

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Sunday March 1, 2020 6:24 AM
I always try to make the next score count for my handicap as I am always trying to lower it. I always play boggie golf, that is a 90 is my par, that being said I much prefer 89 to 90, but I use boggie golf as my par. So if I take triple on hole 1, i am 2 over not 3, therefore I need 2 pars to get to boggie, or my par golf. I also use 45 (boggie golf) as my bench mark after 9. A 40 to 42 I feel good, a 42 to 44, I am happy. A 45 or 46 I feel i can still reach my goal of sub 90 round. A 48 and now I am just trying to stay below 95. I am also always looking at no 3 putts. Those are just bad strokes that raise your score. It is not that you need to 1 putt every hole, but there are many many 2 putts that are VERY good. If it is a course I have played before, I go thru driver holes or 4 wood holes to tee off. New course I decide on the tee. I have learned that I have to stay hydrated and always eat something by holes 8 9 or 10. And I am really learning to leave the last hole behind and just play the hole you are on. That is a big deal on your mental game. Example. I played Eagle Glen yesterday, I had 5 1 putts and 1 3 putts for 32 putts, I feel really good about that because those greens are large and fast and difficult to putt. Played with a friend who had 39 putts 7 more that me, but I beat him by 3, so allot of my 2 putts were very good.
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 Message #93764 - This was a reply to message #93760
michaelko
RE: What is your mindset when playing a round?
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Monday March 2, 2020 9:24 AM
I tell anyone who will listen:

the less you care, the better you will play.

yes, you should have a routine... you should have a small checklist for your golf shot. you should focus on the execution.

But you shouldn't put so much emphasis on the result.

I know.. that's kind of what matters. but the sooner you realize every shot will not be perfect, and that the pros hit many bad shots even when they shoot 65, the better you will play.

so, who cares if you're short? who cares if you duff it? who cares if you hit it into the water? Don't care during your setup... just make a anxiety free swing, note the result, learn from it, be frustrated if it's bad, but let it go by the next shot. ultimately, who cares? no one cares... you're the only one that cares.... so don't let it ruin your day.

so the less you care the better you will play. but if you don't play better, at least you will be less stressed. and get it next round... or go practice....

but i'll close on this anecdote:

we were on a ski lift, and one guy goes to another, you like golf better or skiing? and the answer was skiing. "why?", he was asked. And he answered:

look around. you don't hear anyone going sh!t! or f'ck! all around you. Everyone is having a good time.
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 Message #93777 - This was a reply to message #93764

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