Have you ever wondered what is it that makes golf so special? Undoubtedly, it is the peace of the game that is the most decisive – if you can adapt to it. From the hours and hours needed to complete a round, only a fraction is spent playing in the strict sense of the word, leaving the rest of the time to think about everything and nothing. Practically during a golf game time is spent mostly walking between shots, observing other players or preparing your own shots. A rough approximation shows that very good players hit the ball 68 times on average, while most golfers go over 100 hits. If we consider that with each strike the club is in contact with the ball for let’s say 1/100th of a second, practically the ball is “played” for only 1 or 2 seconds during a four and a half hour game.
That’s why most people prefer other sports that have comparatively a very short playing time and a very high playing speed. In sports like football, ice hockey, hockey, baseball, basketball, polo, tennis the speed of the game forces the players to act on instinct or miss their chance to score. Most of the time you have only a fraction of a second to make the right move and a carefully orchestrated strategy is useless if you cannot react properly to the situation at hand.
On the other hand, golf offers plenty of time to plan your moves and a multitude of options:
What type of club is best? What type of shot is best? (a fade, a draw, a bump and run?) What angle is best for the shot? What is my partner doing? What is my opponent doing? Is my skill good enough for this shot?
But even these ‘dilemmas’ leave more than sufficient time to think about things like:
* How is my score of the day?
* How will it affect my handicap?
* Am osing the bet?
* Am I up or down in the match?
* Can I keep it up or do I have a chance for a comeback?
Consulting some books on the mental aspect of golf can be very interesting, they explain a lot of what’s really going on because practically 90% of the game takes place in your mind, or as some put it “golf is played over 5 inches - the 5 inches between your ears”.
Tiger Woods considered himself the best player – mentally, and is is a well-known fact that his late father worked especially on this part of his game.
Learning to play golf is somewhat similar to learning to drive a car. At first you have to pay special attention to a lot of things, but sooner or later you will perform them without even thinking about them. If you drive long enough you will do it automatically, guided only by instinct, without any effort from the conciuos mind.
This can also be achieved in golf, making the game much easier and enjoyable, by:
1. Frequent games.
2. Regular and rigorous practice.
3. Proper mental training.
Ideally improvement should come as a result of many games and a lot of practice, but who can sacrifice that much time for golf?
So a much more practical way is the mental training, for which the time and the place are less relevant. The best players, Tiger Woods himself too, balance their day-long practice sessions and
The complete focus required when taking the shot – that state when the mind is literally void of all else – may sound easy but in fact requires some practice. It can be achieved but it also has to be trained regularly until it becomes second nature