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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