How to Play With a Functional Mindset in Golf

Playing Functional Golf Without Your “A” Game

Sometimes, good enough is good enough.

That is a hard concept for many golfers to accept… Many golfers feel if they don’t have their “A” game, then they don’t have a chance to win.

This mindset is the reason why some golfers lose their focus and spiral out of control. When their game is off a bit, they start focusing on the outcome of the shot, rather than the shot itself.

You can probably relate to this experience…

You are playing a great round, everything seems to be clicking and feel like you can’t miss.

Then you hit a bad shot.

You probably don’t give it a second thought… It was just one shot.

Then you hit another bad shot but you still think, “This is just one bad hole.”

Then you drive a tee shot off course.

You start questioning your ability to get back on track.

Before every shot, you over-analyze and overthink your swing, your strategy and you notice other golfers are catching up to you.

You lost trust in your game and your game falls off drastically.

When you don’t have your “A” game, sometimes your “B” game is good to play a solid round. Don’t just throw in the towel if you are not fully on top of your game.

It’s a matter of staying focused on your next shot, rather than trying to predict what your score may be after the 18th hole.

There are many examples in golf where good is good enough as long as you stayed focused on the thing you need to do next.

For example, Webb Simpson won the 2018 Players Championship to end a four-year drought but it wasn’t without challenges.

Webb was on a tear for the first three rounds building a 7-shot lead over the field heading into the final round of the tournament.

Simpson wasn’t on his game during the final round but he was good enough and finished the final round of one-over 73 four shots clear of runners-up.

Simpson didn’t have his “A” game on the last day of the tournament but played sound golf with pars on the first six holes, but Simpson never panicked; he did what he did to get the job done.

Simpson admitted it was difficult to not get distracted by the outcome of his shots and his final score towards the end of the tournament but continually tried to refocus despite not having his best stuff.

SIMPSON: “It’s hard not to future cast and start thinking about 7:00 p.m. and what might happen. But you do your best to not stay in that place, and I kept reminding myself today that the only thing that matters is my next shot. It’s easy to do on Thursday. It’s a lot harder to do [the final round].”

Just like Simpson, when you hang in there and stay focused, despite not having your “A” game, you still have a chance to get it done and play successfully.

Tip For Playing Successfully Without Your “A” Game:

Have a functional mindset is critical, especially when you don’t have your “A” game.

A functional mindset helps you grind out the round without worrying about how you are getting the job done.

The goal is to score and have the lowest score at the end of the tournament. As Bob Rotella said, golf is not a game of perfect, the title of one of his books.

Sometimes when you have a big lead, it’s easy to protect your lead.

Don’t get obsessed with how your shots feel or look to the point you can’t grind out the round and score with what you have…

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