“Tiger Woods just has this uncanny ability to just turn it up another level when somebody gets close to him”. That was the comment made by Chris DiMarco after he shot a very impressive final-round 68 at Hoylake, yet he still fell 2 strokes behind Tiger at the end. Tiger Woods would simply not give in. Tiger is mentally tough under pressure.
Would you like to have that same mental toughness? How can you gain that mental toughness?
Let’s just take a look at just one part of your game as an example – your putting.
How do you practice?
Are you like most people who practice putting by throwing a number of golf balls down at the local practice putting green and try to knock a few into the hole? Or do you have one of those long indoor putting practice greens in your office. You know the kind. You have a long strip of green felt going up to a cup, you simply stroke the ball up into the hole and some kind of mechanism knocks it back to you. You do this over and over, maybe a hundred times a day, thousands of times a week. And yet, when you want to play in a foursome with your friends, you can’t sink that last left to right putt that would win you the game. And you can’t understand it – you had practiced so hard!
The reason you could not sink the putt is simple. You have not built yourself into a mentally tough putter. Notice I said you missed “that last left to right putt”? Like most people, all of your practice came on a flat green that offered no real challenge. Whether you realize it or not, once you stand on a real green with the surface that runs left to right, right to left, slopes up or down or in any number of ways, you are not really ready. Why not? Because you did not practice that way. Like any other sport your practice needs to simulate how the real game plays out in all its infinite variations.
And when did you put pressure on yourself to sink a putt in your training? Most people feel it is just a matter of practicing your putting stroke and transferring that over to the putting green. But what about the mental aspects of the game? Have you built that part in your putting drills to transfer over to the putting green as well? Do you know how to? Do you have a method that measures your ability to sink a putt and to know whether you are getting better or not?
Becoming a mentally tough putter requires practice that mimics the real game of golf. Make sure you set up your practice routine to groove your stroke but also to build the mental characteristics of a Tiger Woods.
Author: Lee MacRae
Golf from Inside your Head
Putting is one of the most important parts of the game of golf. It requires a solid mental game as well as good mechanics in order to do it well consistently. There are many putting styles that can work well for you so it is simply a matter of practing.
I spent Monday to Wednesday doing loads of putting practice and also two practice rounds on the course. We had wonderful weather during these practice days which was a fantastic change after last week. But come first tournament round, delays, delays, … I psyched myself up 5 times for one round of golf, it was a great mental challenge.
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