The Psychology Of Championship Golf

by David Jenyns on February 21, 2011

golf swing

In championship golf, sharp changes of fortune are common. You may find yourself several holes down. But if you seize the chance when it comes it may well turn out to be the start of recovery. And the player whose lead is being eaten away is under greater pressure than his opponent who is fast making up leeway.

Always keep in mind that you are not beaten, neither have you won, until the final putt drops into the hole.

Make up your mind to go on playing each stroke as it comes, giving your undivided attention to that particular stroke, regardless of what may have happened before or problems which may or may not lie ahead. In this way you will learn, with experience, the invaluable yet elusive art of stringing the strokes together, one of the subtle virtues in which many professional players excel.

I am often asked what should the player think of when he plays the shot.

Now, it should not be necessary for me to tell you that you cannot have a series of do’s and don’ts running backwards and forwards in your mind as you address the ball and move into the swing. This is the surest way to wreck your hopes of a good shot even before you start.

Many experienced players declare that they think of one feature of the operation and no more. I go along with them up to a point.

For example, if you develop a tendency to hasten the movement from the top of the swing you can make sure that you smooth out the movement back to the ball by taking care to start the downswing with the slow gentle drive down with the hands and left forearm.

But heed this warning. Over-concentration on any one stage of the swing may lead to exaggeration with a consequent distortion of the swing as a whole while playing championship golf. We are aiming at a smooth balanced movement all the way, and I maintain that when a flaw has been eradicated you must place your entire trust in the mental picture of the shaped swing and the delivery you have built into it.

The more you can discipline yourself to do this and keep doing it in spite of all distractions and changing circumstances the more natural it will become, both physically and mentally. The intention is formed in the mind. The muscles must be trained to obey, not to take charge.

I repeat once again. Your swing and the delivery you have fitted into it will do all that can possibly be done to give you YOUR peak performance. You cannot augment it in any way, but you can quickly turn the chance of success into failure by “thinking” a vague something else into the operation.

In golf there is no trick transition from rabbit to tiger class. With regular, careful practice there will be the gradual shaping of a sound, smooth swing which, once acquired, will stand up under pressure if given the chance.

Such should your objective be. Keep in mind a picture of the shape of the swing you need to acquire until you can sense the shape developing. You will then be on the road to becoming a successful golfer and a worthy contender in championship golf. Keep going!

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