Often, having negative thoughts or ‘focus’ on the golf course can be detrimental to your game, and ultimately, your score. After being certified in Golf Psychology in 2011 I began to realize the benefits of positive thinking during practice and competition. It is normal for the average golfer to have doubts about their game……but we don’t seem to realize how penalizing these doubts can be. Below I try to explain the relationship between negative thoughts and poor performance and how we can change our performance – not by spending hours on the driving range, but through the power of positive thinking.
Before you begin – this may not be for everyone – but for those of you looking to be more consistent…..and enjoyable to play with – give it a try!
Your Self Focus (Negative)
MY FOCUS- What I choose to focus on: Why do I always hit the ball short?
= NEGATIVE FOCUS
MY THOUGHTS- The thoughts that result from what I choose to focus on: I Don’t want to hit this short
= NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
MY FEELINGS- The feelings I experience in my body are an indication of the vibration I am sending off: Fear
= NEGATIVE VIBRATIONS
MY PERFORMANCE- The results I get in my game: I hit it short
= POOR RESULTS
To re-gain focus, ask these questions: What is my intended target? What result do I want for my next shot? Am I thinking positively about this next shot? How can I increase my focus on my intended target?
False Evidence Appears Real
At every moment during your round, you experience either a positive or negative feeling. In any given moment you can only experience one feeling at a time. Feelings act as your internal guidance system, because they let you know what you’re subconsciously focusing on at any moment during your round. If you’re feeling negative, then you are subconsciously focusing on the results you don’t want, and if you’re feeling positive, you’re subconsciously focusing on the results you do want.
As you can see from the Self Focus Loop shown above – negative focus creates negative thoughts and feelings which lead to negative results. Let’s see what happens if we change our focus to positive…………
Your Self Focus (Positive)
MY FOCUS- What I choose to focus on: I am going to hit this close to the pin
= POSITIVE FOCUS
MY THOUGHTS- The thoughts that result from what I choose to focus on: I am going to hit the ball pure
= POSITIVE THOUGHTS
MY FEELINGS- The feelings I experience in my body are an indication of the vibration I am sending off: Confidence
= POSITIVE VIBRATIONS
MY PERFORMANCE- The results I get in my game: I hit it close to the pin
= POSITIVE RESULTS
Without a doubt, it is beneficial to be optimistic before every shot. What good does it do to say “oh man, I always chunk my 7 iron” before you hit? Why not instead say “I’m going to hit this within gimme distance!” Obviously, we are not going to do so every time but putting yourself in a negative frame of mind before a shot is an easy way to guarantee a poor outcome . Act as though you are going to hit every shot perfect – but be prepared to accept the outcome if you do not. No one reading this (or writing it) plays on the PGA Tour….so remember – golf is meant to be fun. Think Happy!