Your "Right" Mind
So much is made about the mental side of golf, and I am totally a believer that, for anyone that has played for very long, your mental state has a huge influence on your golf, whether it be a particular shot, a certain hole, a full round or a sequence of rounds. One of my favorite books about this game is “Golf In The Kingdom”. In it there is a sequence where the author is advised by Shivas Irons that “it takes perfect balance to play your best” (or something like that; it’s been a while since I read it). Shivas goes on to explain that while physical balance in your set up and swing is certainly important, just as crucial to good golf is that your life be in balance. Your business, your personal life, any issues troubling you will make it difficult to find your “right mind” while trying to enjoy a round of golf and doing your best.

I have found over the years that the “shortness of my fuse” on the golf course is directly related to how things are going in the other aspects of my life. For me, of course, any business challenges are hard to put aside because my time on the golf course is not very far from what I do for a living. My closest golf buddies are doctors, insurance guys, investors, beer distributor, real estate guys . . . . so, going to the course is a total escape from that world. For me, it’s not much more than a change of venue, like the difference between the classroom and lab. So that presents its own set of challenges – how to turn off the “business” of golf, and immerse myself into the game.

But no matter what you do for a living, how things are going for you professionally and financially will be “there” in your mind when you go to the course. When things are not going as you’d like them in your personal life, that tension will find its way into your golf game more often than not, putting you a little closer to “the edge” than you may normally be.

That’s why I am watching Tiger’s return to professional golf with interest and observation. Can he put all this “stuff” aside and totally focus on his golf? That’s a tall order for any person, even one with Tiger’s acknowledged and renowned focus and determination. It will be interesting to see how he does. Many are already calling him the favorite to win. Personally, I’d be surprised if he does all that well. I think it would be just as good a bet that he misses the cut.

Until he gets out there, even he won’t know how he’ll really deal with it. Tiger has been notorious for not making close friendships with fellow players, and not spending that much time with the fans and press. But he’s also promised to be “different”. To respect the game more. So, there’s another part of his preparation that is now on his mind, isn’t it? Can he totally steel himself against the reality of his “new world” that he’s created? Will it affect him to know that everyone that sees him – fellow players, marshals, fans, media – know that he’s not the superman we had always seen him to be? Who will he surround himself with for personal support? These are all questions that he needs to find answers for, and until he does, I don’t think we’ll see the Tiger of old. We might never see that guy again?

On the other hand, he might be so strong mentally and emotionally that he can block all that out and just make his clubs be his spokesmen.

We’ll know in a couple of weeks.


photo source
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[ comments ]
Swingem says:
In my opinion, The round of golf the Michael Murphy plays with Shivas Irons and Bally MacGiver in "Golf in the Kingdom" is nothing less then the finest guide to the mental game of golf ever written. You can throw out all your other "mental game" books, get "golf In the Kingdom" on audio, and listen to this one section over-and-over. Everything you need is there, and it will make a difference.
3/26/10
 
Kurt the Knife says:
Dunno 'bout you but I have been advised occasionally by Chivas.
3/26/10
 
Kurt the Knife says:
"Will it affect him to know that everyone that sees him – fellow players, marshals, fans, media – know that he’s not the superman we had always seen him to be?"
I doubt he ever thought of himself as a superman.
Supremely, pathologically entitled, maybe.
3/26/10
 
Banker85 says:
I notice when my life is feeling pretty screwed up i have trouble focusing on my game i get upset a lot faster. As far as Tiger i cannot wait to see how he handles himself in the future. Miss the cut?! PLEASE! the chances of him winning and missing the cut are not the same. i say 50% chance of winning 5% chance of missing the cut 40% within top ten 5% somewhere else.
3/26/10
 
Agustin says:
Kurt the Knife says:
Dunno 'bout you but I have been advised occasionally by Chivas.

LOL, Johnnie, Jose, Remy and sometimes Jack (from Tennessee, not the golden bear) have given me poor advice one more occasions than I would like to admit. They always insist I can make every shot no matter how difficult. The ones that screw up my game the most are the ones I actually hit and then end up trying ovrr and over since I manged to get lucky once or twice.
3/29/10
 
birdieXris says:
i used to have a short fuse on the golf course. Now i use golf as my escape. I make sure to enjoy the game when i'm out now. I don't try to score and sometimes i don't even keep score. You have to remember that unless you're playing a tournament, there's really no reason to be upset with anything in particular on the course. I think it's about time the average person got back to golf as relaxation and stopped being so worried about pulling off crazy shots and being the next tiger woods. practice and stress on the range... enjoy and relax on the course.
3/29/10
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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