There are 3 distinct factors that determine the strength of your mental game and your ability to play solid, consistent golf.
1. Attitude. Attitude is everything. Golf is a tough game. If you let your attitude get bad, it’s just a matter of time before your round unravels AND you become an unpopular playing partner because you’re bringing everyone else down. If you can keep a good attitude, good things seem to happen eventually, or at the very least you’ll be better able to cope when bad things happen.2. Belief. Your belief in yourself and how you think the game should be played are also a huge factor in your ability to score consistently. Do you have belief in your skills? Do you believe in taking risks or are you more comfortable playing the safe shot? All play a huge part in how the round will play out.
3. Circumstances. These change constantly during the round. Example: You have to hit from under a tree, it starts raining, you go through a rough stretch, you get a bad break, your playing partner is a tool. The list of these irritants is endless. Changing circumstances can affect the decisions you make.
Mentally-weak golfers are controlled by the one thing they can’t control – their circumstances. Playing golf this way is a lot like being in a casino. You can never predict the outcome from day to day. You will find you will play your best golf when you don’t allow circumstances to determine your decisions, actions and attitude. This will eliminate the rollercoaster effect out of your round. The graphic shows that if circumstances are your foundation, golf is an unstable and volatile game. If your attitude or belief waver in the slightest, then everything falls apart.
A mentally-strong golfer’s foundation is based on the things that he or she can control – Attitude and Belief. Circumstances have little affect on their attitude and belief, so they make better decisions. They can cope with whatever comes knowing that, in the end, they will succeed. It’s like investing, rather than gambling. The mentally strong golfer is disciplined and has a strategy. This allows a golfer to have a high degree of self-belief and a good attitude, even if things aren’t going well.
And, when you play golf, you’re sort of signing up for some degree of misery. Also, remember it happens to everyone. So, if that is the case, why get chewed up over what is inevitable. Adapt and overcome. It’s really your only choice.