Why Mindset is Important
PGA of Saskatchewan Professional Sam Wills
How many times have you stepped over a golf ball wondering whether you will be able to hit the shot you want or not? Tough carry over water? High shot over some trees? Most golfers are scared or doubt themselves before they even hit the ball when it comes to situations like these. Do you think that would have an impact on the result of the golf shot? The impact is bigger than you would think.
Every golfer on this planet has some sort of “inner demon” with some part of their golf game. Shanks, yips, tommy toppers, chunks, thin shots, lefts and rights are all “misses” that golfers are afraid of. For example, my biggest fear is chunky wedge shots. These things happen to everyone at some point in time and after it happens, it puts a sense of fear in you that it is going to happen again. I am not going to tell you how to stop doing all of things because that is what taking a golf lesson is for. I am going to tell you how to use your mind so those things do not happen as often.
What goes through your head when you step up to the golf ball? No matter what you do there will always be a thought or something in the back of your mind. This is called self talk. Everyone does it whether they notice it or not. Now I want you to think about what you say to yourself before you hit a golf shot. Is your self talk positive or negative? I will tell you right now that everyone who plays golf will have some negative thoughts when they are on the course. What does this do to the result of your golf shot?
Best selling author, Eckhart Tolle states that “The past has no power over the present moment”. I want you to think about how true that statement really is. You are scared that you are going to hit a bad golf shot because you have done it before. We need to realize that those bad shots, whether they were shanks, tops or chunks, are in the past. The longer we dwell on negative results the more often they will reappear.
Your brain will respond to your thoughts just as fast as you create them. But there are a few words that your brain does not respond to. Words used to tell yourself not to do something like “can’t” and “don’t” do not register when you are talking to yourself. For example; you are standing over a tee shot and you say to yourself “don’t hit it right”. You are now focusing on hitting the ball right even though you think you are helping yourself by trying to tell yourself not to do something. By saying “don’t hit the ball right” your brain is now focused on the word right. What do you think the result will be? I want you to reverse that thought process now. You are standing over a tee shot and you say to yourself “I’m going to hit the ball right down the middle of the fairway”. Where is your brain focusing now? Your brain is focused right down the middle of the fairway. Positive self talk can be a game changer on the course. Unfortunately, it is a lot easier to be negative than it is to be positive. Positive self talk takes some work but it is something that absolutely everyone can do!
Now I want to challenge you. The next time you play a round of golf, pay attention to your thoughts. Think about how you talk to yourself before hitting the ball and what impact your thoughts will have on the result of the golf shot. Practice telling yourself that you CAN do something. This is a skill that can be used not only on the golf course, but in life. As Napoleon Hill puts it “A positive mind finds a way it can be done; a negative mind looks for the ways it can’t be done.”
Sam Wills / PGA of Canada – Saskatchewan Zone Professional
Sam is an Assistant Professional at the Deer Valley Golf Club in Saskatchewan. Sam coordinates the junior program and facilitates beginner group lessons in the spring, and is an accomplished player having previously won the Deer Valley Junior Club Championship, competed at the AAU Junior Olympic Games Golf Championship in 2015 and finished 10th on the PGA of Canada – Saskatchewan Zone order of merit in 2018.