Playing one shot at a time is considered to be the best way to approach the game. Many golfers talk about it because it can be a game-changing factor.
Golf is a complex game. You need to practice your skills and work on your physical condition. You plan your game to adjust your strategy to a particular course or tournament. Not only that, but you plan your approximate score. Very often, you feel you are under pressure.
The Pressure is Self Induced
Your mindset is a very important element of your game. Your performance is directly affected by the way you think about it.
Many golf players focus on the score they want to achieve. It’s natural. You play to gain the score. It is perfectly normal to think about your results so far and to have the motivation to be better in the future.
Most probably, the player would be playing way better if he didn’t know his score during the game until the end. Keeping present the past and future results is the burden of many golfers.
Still, when performing the golf shot, focusing on the result is the last thing you should do.
Our mind tends to stick around the thoughts that cause stronger impressions. Remembering your great shot makes you want to repeat it. Thinking about your last failure makes you nervous. Keeping your mind on the score does not relax you at all, quite the opposite.
By now, you understand that you are the creator of your tension.
You need to practice your mindset to focus strictly on the present shot and to denoise everything else. But when you find yourself on the course, the ball is on the tee, and you’re about to swing your club, you realize that controlling your thoughts is easier said than done.
The Winning Mindset of a Golf Shot
As much as you practice your swing, you can benefit as much from building up your mindset.
Let’s presume that your thoughts and your attitude can make you nervous or relaxed just the same. What is that you can do to direct your thinking to be calm and focused?
Here you have some well-known facts:
- Each and every golf shot is an independent action.
- The conditions are different for every shot.
- The present shot can’t be affected by the previous one, nor can it influence the next.
- Playing one shot at a time, your performance is much better
You will agree to this, won’t you?
Building up the right mindset is continuous work from one situation to the next. While in practice or at the tournament, it is important to know what raises your tension and what is distracting you the most.
The next step is to establish the pre-shot routine that helps you quiet your mind and be fully dedicated to the present moment.
“Do not obsess about the outcome and give the shot to present 100% of your mental energy.” is a piece of advice by David MacKenzie, the performance coach.
It sums up pretty much the “one shot at a time” philosophy.
When you are able to do your best performance every time you hit the ball, you will have the best result in the end.
Methods to Improve Your Focus
You need to find the routine that you will practice prior to your stroke. Relax your muscles, breathe, clear your mind. Once you have it established, keep on repeating it until it becomes almost automatic.
Quiet your mind by detaching yourself from all distractions. Try not to think about the past or future. Keep in mind only the golf ball in front of you and the club in your hands. At this point, your hands and arms should be relaxed, making the perfect grip of the handle. Focus on the moment. It is you, the ball and the green, and nothing else matters.
Be careful how you handle the negative outcomes and errors. It is expected that you will make some mistakes. You need to work them out, accept them as they are, and leave them aside until you finish the competition. Analyzing errors is important for future improvement, but it should be left for later.
Use the “mental game scorecard.” Instead of keeping your eyes on the actual score, you can make the card of your mental goals in your game. Keep tracking how successful you are in eliminating all distractions during your game. Note how many of your mental goals have you accomplished. Did you follow through with your pre-shot routine? Did you make well your errors during the play?
The general advice is to keep your focus on performance and not on the outcome. Performing your best one shot at a time is going to lead you to your best score.