How does momentum affect performance during a competitive round of golf?
First, let’s define momentum as it pertains to golf.
“Momentum” in golf is being on a roll. It’s a sense of rhythm where the game is flowing naturally. When you experience positive momentum, you are making good decisions and seamlessly executing your plan for each shot.
What are the characteristics of positive momentum?
* Immersed in the moment – In this state, you are not overthinking, overanalyzing, or overly concerned with your score or the leaderboard.
* Focused on the process – When you are on a roll, you have a consistent approach to each shot. You quickly assess the factors that affect your current shot, plan out your strategy, commit to the shot, perform your pre-shot routine, and then strike the ball.
* Trust in your abilities – When you are in a rhythm, you trust in your ability to execute your plan for the shot in front of you. You feel confident and refrain from second-guessing your plan while standing over the ball.
* Unfaced by an errant shot – Positive momentum doesn’t mean you will always achieve positive results. Instead, when you have momentum on your side, you maintain your poise despite the outcome of a shot.
In our Golf Mental Game Survey, a collegiate golfer asked the following:
“How can I keep a good round going or regain my momentum after a bad shot?”
The number one reason a golfer loses momentum is becoming consciously aware of your thoughts such as, “I’m playing so well, I hope I don’t mess up,” “I always hit this shot into the sand,” or “That was a stupid decision to play the last shot that way. Now, I’m going to bogey this hole.”
Doubts break your rhythm.
Maintaining or regaining positive momentum requires bringing yourself back to the present moment. Focusing on taking a few deep breaths can ground you in the present and help you refocus on the task at hand.
At the 2023 Grant Thornton Invitational, a mixed-team PGA-LPGA Tour event, Lexi Thompson and Rickie Fowler were partnered with each other. On the back-nine, the pair got on a roll after a birdie on the ninth hole, scoring 5-under 31.
Fowler commented on the team’s momentum and how they found their rhythm.
FOWLER: “When we made the birdie on nine it was kind of just like that finally got us going a bit. Then, once we made a couple more, Lexi hit a great shot into 11, she had another good one into 12, I made a good putt. Just kind of got some momentum going. So at that point, it’s not really thinking too much about the score; it’s more just keep going.”
The pair gained momentum by immersing themselves in the game rather than thinking about the score.
Of course, you cannot stop thinking, but you have power over your focus.
When you learn how to be the master of your thoughts, you can easily achieve positive momentum while golfing.
Use deep breathing to ground yourself in the present. Before each shot, take two deep breaths. The purpose of the first breath is to relax your body, quiet your mind, and release the last shot.
On the second breath, focus on the air going in and out of your lungs. This technique will help you move your focus back into the present moment.
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