Sunday, May 23, 2010

Golf Winner: How Well Do You Play Golf Without the Ball?

How To Play Golf

How well do you 'play' when you're not with the ball?

In my journey of mental game mastery, I've discovered many insights and discoveries along the way. One of those bigger insights is that connection between playing good, consistent golf and how we, as players, organise our thoughts when we AREN'T with the ball.

Because here's the thing. Have you given thought to how your game can ever make progress when you only attend to 15-20% of it on a regular basis! Yes, you read that correctly. That's the time we spend WITH the ball.(Actually I'm being over optimistic, it's probably nearer 10%)

The MAJORITY of players hardly ever attend to that other 80- 85% at all. Does that seem like a solid strategy for you?

Just in case you were wondering, the percentage comes from what the typical player does in a routine round. If the average round is 4 hours and the average player spends 30 seconds with the ball per shot, a round of 90 shots takes up 45 minutes of the total. How do you manage the other 3 hours 15 minutes!

Now of course, I'm not suggesting that for one minute that the time with the ball isn't a vital part of the strategy but have you considered that how you attend to the other 80% of your time on the course has a huge influence on the ball striking 20%. Interesting?

The reality of players I come across is that they understand the importance of thinking well on the course, managing that time between tee shot and approach or bunker shot and putt. They totally get that to have a strategy in place to cope in those moments after making double bogey would be a useful tool. But then convince themselves will have to wait until they spend another hour on the range sorting the 15% out! Or rush off to check the next golf magazine or online coaching product to convince themselves this week will be different.

Question time for you - HONESTLY, how much time do you spend rehearsing skills that you can rely on, for when you're not with the ball? Or have you absolutely no idea what I'm talking about?? Don't worry because you're in good company, a huge majority of players don't even consider this aspect.

But, if you're looking for the difference that makes the difference, isn't it time you explored how you manage yourself away from the ball. It might just get you that edge in the club competition, win you valuable money or merit points on that pro mini tour or heaven forbid, you may even enjoy your golf more!

If you find yourself making the same mental errors on the same holes, chances are it's because you've never rehearsal what you'd like to do instead. Blindly following the same poor strategy in the hope 'it will come good' just doesn't cut it. Identify what it is you're consistently doing to undermine your golf game and start from there. By all means go to the range, the putting green, get tuition and understand your golf swing; that's a key ingredient to making progress. But it's also about how you 'play' without the ball, how you ensure the 80% is supportive of the 20%.

Players I coach invariably make great progress in a short period of time and yet I never discuss their swing or technical ability. I firmly believe it's because they understand that the total game requires attention, not just the 15% we spend with the ball.

So this week, have a good look at your game. Develop the ball striking element of playing the game but do in partnership with your skills away from the ball. Only then will you truly make that 15% count and deliver the game you're seeking.

You have a huge amount of time away from the ball, underestimate its relevance and you'll risk sabotaging the time you are with the ball. Look at the big picture, it's a total game plan you need. As I asked, 'How well do you play without the ball?

For strategies on how to manage this aspect of your game, get in touch and start working towards TOTAL GOLF, not just PART GOLF!