Do You Become Intimidated by Competitors?

How to Play the Golf Course, Not Playing Partners

Have you ever been paired with better golfers who are known for shooting low scores, having a high ranking or achieving impressive accomplishments?

Did you feel intimidated to play in that group?

Were you fearful that you would embarrass yourself by finishing the round in a double digit deficit?

When you focus on the accomplishments and skills of other golfers during a round, you put them on a pedestal.

Focusing on the talents and the accomplishments of other golfers has several problems:

  • Focusing on other golfers ignites a sense of fear. Fear of shooting a low score, fear of embarrassment and fear of not measuring up to others cause a lot of mental distractions throughout the round.
  • Focusing on other golfers makes it difficult to rebound after a poor shot. Every mistake, bad shot and missed opportunity creates a sense of panic. In attempt to make up strokes, you might try to do too much leading to further mistakes.
  • Focusing on other golfers distracts you. Instead of staying immersed in what you need to do in the moment to make the best shot possible, you start worrying about how well the golfers in your group are playing.

This only adds to the pressure, tension and anxiety you were feeling.

Of course, it is difficult playing against top competition, but you will NEVER play your best golf when you are focused on other golfers.

Top competition is exactly what Gaby Lopez faced at the 2018 Blue Bay LPGA Championship in China. Lopez was ranked No. 136 heading into the tournament.

In the final round, Lopez was paired with No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, who has already wrapped up LPGA player of the year honors, and No. 2 Sung Hyun Park.

Despite the tough competition, Lopez held off the top two players in the world to win the tournament by 1-stroke over Jutanugarn.

LOPEZ: “You know, probably this was the biggest challenge that I’ve ever faced on the golf course, being in the same group as World No. 1 and World No. 2. I was just very fortunate and very lucky to have that challenge, to face it, knowing I had to play my best game because they were going to play good. I knew they were going to hit some great shots, and I had to keep up with them.”

If you notice, Lopez twice mentions the word “challenge.”

Even though Lopez said, “I had to keep up with [Jutanugarn and Park],” she was focused on “playing her best game”.

Since you cannot control how other golfers will play, focusing on those golfers will be both futile and detrimental.

Playing your best golf requires you to focus on your game one stroke at a time.

Play the Golf Course, Not the Competition:

Play the golf course, not your competition. The mission is to score your best on the golf course that day, not compete stroke for stroke with your competitors.

Instead of focusing on the accomplishments or skills of other golfers, think about your accomplishments, your training and your preparation.

This strategy will help your confidence and keep your focus where it belongs… on playing the golf course!

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What are mental game customers saying?

“I want to tell you how much I appreciate all your help. You have made an enormous amount of difference in my game. I feel much better because of your help; I don’t feel the tension like I did before. You should feel very good about what you do for people—it is truly a gift!. I know my students and myself have benefited enormously from Dr. Patrick Cohn’s teaching.”
~Jim Dahline, PGA Professional

“I would like to thank you again for our last mental coaching session, which did offer me yesterday my personal best round ever! On a golf course where I had never scored better than 77, I scored a 73 in competition. I cannot believe the incredible inner work this simple session has produced on me and I would like to thank you again for that.”
~Emmanuel Grizaud, Amateur Golfer

“Dr. Cohn has helped me improve confidence and build a consistence pre-shot routine that helps me stay confident, and learn how to play one shot at a time during competition. He also taught me that I don’t have to hit every shot perfect to score well.”
~Brian Belden, Winner 2003 AJGA Steel City Junior Classic & Marsh Junior at Hawk Pointe

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What are our mental coaching students saying?

“After working with you at the end of 2001, I went from 51st to 18th on the money list. Mentally, I am a much better player now. Your golf psychology lessons on setting goals, playing without expectations, and reacting well to mistakes has made a big difference. Thanks for all your help and I look forward to continuing to improve my mental game.”
~Tjaart Van Der Walt, Tour Winner

“Thank you for the past 4 months working with me under your golf psychology coaching program. My golf game has improved dramatically since we worked together last year. My greatest accomplishment to date was shooting under par for 4 straight rounds of golf. Never in my forty years of playing this great game did I ever accomplish that. Thanks again for all your knowledge and input.”
~Steven Fink, scratch golfer

“I am so grateful for your insights and experience. My focus is sharp and I feel relaxed but ready to meet whatever challenge comes up. If I make a mistake, I am able to let it go and move on immediately. You have really helped me allot to get back on track and get things going again.”
~Suzanne Strudwick, LPGA Tour

“Just wanted to say thank you Patrick for the many years of golf psychology training you have given me to help all the players the Good Lord sends my way and all the knowledge you have assisted me with over the years at the various seminars, tapes, and reading material. It is not often enough that we thank those who have played a significant part in our growing as instructors in this great game of ours. You have helped me in many ways and many of my players are that much better because of your influence in me.”
~Joe Thiel, PGA Master Golf Professional

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