The Mental Game of Golf: How One Little Remark Ruined Me

Golf is a mental game, in more ways than one!

Do you believe that what you are thinking when you are swinging has any influence on your golf shot?

Here’s a story to prove that it’s true. A couple of months ago I was in a golf tournament. It was a fun event, no major prizes, all for bragging rights and a pair of golf socks! (This was truly a low key tournament!) Still, my team was focused and ready to win. We were playing “Pink Ball,” a simple golf format that requires each team to carry a pink ball throughout the round. The ball rotates among the four players in order. For each hole, two of the four scores are taken and added together to make a team score. The trick is that one of those scores must be the score of the team player with the colored ball. One little caveat: if you lose the pink ball along the way, the team is disqualified.

I had played the course many times and felt confident I could easily get over the water hazard that ran just in front of the first tee. I convinced my teammates to give me the pink ball first. No problem. I grabbed my driver and the pink ball and teed up at the red markers.

Now I must explain… at this golf course, like many others, the first tee sits right next to the starter’s hut and all the other players are gathered around waiting their turn to play. Just as I was about to hit, one of the waiting golfers said, loud enough to be heard by me, “Don’t hit into the brook!” I should have stopped, backed off from the tee or let one of the other players on my team go first. But no, stubborn as I was, I just shook my bootie in defiance and swung my club, sending the lovely pink ball right into the water hazard! I turned and glared at the player who had spoken, but I was really glaring at myself. What a dufus! The rest of my team immediately scrambled down to the hazard, but no matter how we tried, we could not recover the ball. Our team was out of the tournament even before it began! Thank goodness they were all easy about it, and our team played the full round even though we knew there was no chance of winning the socks. Back at the clubhouse I bought them a round of drinks to make up for my losing the magic pink ball.

As to the talker, what could I say? She was sorry, I was sorry, and no harm done. We all learned a lesson which I pass on to you. She learned to keep her thoughts to herself, and I learned that Golf really is a mental game and if something like this ever happened again, I needed to stop, shake it off, regroup and then hit with a clear mind, because for me, my head got in the way and that one little remark really screwed up my game.

Good thing we weren’t playing for serious money!

  4 comments for “The Mental Game of Golf: How One Little Remark Ruined Me

  1. Pat Mullaly says:

    Caleb, thanks for your comment. I need to train my brain! Especially if I am not playing well. I must refocus everytime and imagine a great result for every swing.

  2. Caleb Scorsone says:

    great post! Not only is golf a mental game, but an emotional game. Learning to manage emotions will produce greater consistency in your motion (performance. This comes from mental conditioning and re-wiring the brain for the desire success. The mind does not know the difference between vivid imagination and actual experience. So you can create and train your brain for the desire performance state or mode.

    Caleb Scorsone

  3. Pat Mullaly says:

    It is a matter of self discipline and training to keep really focused. I’m learning slowly but surely. Thanks for your comment.

  4. terence says:

    I think when someone tries to or gets in your kitchen inadvertently….it will only take hold based on that particular persons ability or experience. For example, if you see a public speak and judge from the couch you have no idea what it takes ot address people in public forum(at least most of us) Yet, once faced with it yourself in any situation like a wedding speech or something of that nature on a smaller scale you appreciate the difficulties it presents. So, in relation to golf i think you have to just become immune to those types of outbursts by way of repetition. Could you imagine a pro player saying they choked because of a fan saying something? NEVER NEVER NEER would you hear those words regardless of how they felt due to it being a state of mind and training the brain to not allow outside distractions and filter positive from negative.

    GolfMoolah Iphone golf betting application

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *