Short Term Memory Is A Good Thing In Golf


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011

My virtual swing coach Mike Southern usually does a swing analysis of the winner of the tournament from the previous weekend. The latest installment featured D.A. points, winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

This post was very informative about his swing but it also gave me a little lesson about a certain mentality that I should bring to the course. Mike ended his post with this thought.

"You don't have to be perfect to get it close, just solid."

This statement reminded me that I do not have to perfect with every shot. And when I am not perfect, I have to remember that I still have a chance to get it up and down to save par. Sometimes after shots where I miss the green, I psyche myself out by thinking, "now I have to scramble to save par and hopefully not make bogey."

This way of thinking is too negative. My thoughts should be, make a good swing on my next shot. If I make a solid chip, or a solid sand shot, that will put me in great position for a par. Michael Breed shared this on the latest episode of The Golf Fix. He said, "If don't, then don't." If we are standing over the ball and we are thinking, I don't want to hit it into the bunker, then don't take the shot. Clear your head of the negativity first and then hit the shot.

I'm starting to understand more and more that golf is a game of perspective. And that perspective can have a positive or negative effect on the outcome of my game. As amateurs we have different beliefs from the pros. We believe that if we end up in the bunker, there's a chance we might leave it in the bunker, and then we do.

Professional, however, have a different way of thinking. They may get a little upset as well, but they know how to release the negativity very quickly. We always here that golfers should have short term memories. Any negative thoughts from our last bad shot will transfer into our next shot if we do not learn to just let it go.

We do not have to be perfect, we just have to build a solid game. D.A. points had a solid day in his short game because he put himself in position to do so. That stemmed for having a solid day off the tee. With his shots into the green, he left himself with shots that were up and around the green. And from there he had the confidence to get up and down. He never let his mistakes effect what he did next.

So I'll continue to work on building a more solid and well rounded game. That will come from practice and remembering that I do not have to be perfect. No one can be perfect at the game of golf. It's impossible, so there is no reason to beat myself up if I miss a green. All I have is the next shot and that is all I need to concern myself with. Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here.

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Comments (4)

  1. February 17, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Sometimes it's not that we're negative, Dex. Sometimes we just demand too much of our shots.

    Have you ever seen a player hit a shot that wasn't great (but it wasn't that bad either) and then heard an announcer say, "Well, that wasn't up to his expectations"? I always want to ask How do you know that? Maybe the player would have liked a better result but made a bad swing and is actually relieved that he or she got the result they did. Maybe the player was nervous that the ball wasn't going to hold the green and actually feels he or she got a great break that the next shot will be a putt.

    Now think about your game. How often have you stepped up over a difficult bunker shot and, rather than just saying "make sure the next shot is off grass," you tried to hit a perfect shot that stops 2 feet from the pin? The next shot gave you more bunker practice, didn't it?

    Sometimes the best swing thought you can have is Just take your medicine. There was one hole I used to play -- a dogleg par-5 where the tee was higher than the dogleg and the green was higher than the tee -- and my tee shot frequently ended up behind a couple of scrawny trees right in the middle of the dogleg. I used to make doubles and triples on that hole all the time... until I learned to just chip out from behind the trees. Making my third shot from the middle of the fairway meant I usually made bogey and sometimes even a par.

    You aren't Tiger or Phil; consequently, you'll play better if you don't expect Tiger or Phil's results. Giving yourself permission to hit bad shots often means you relax and hit good ones.

    As long as they don't start charging for golf "by the shot," I wouldn't let a few squirrelly ones get under my skin. ;-)

  2. February 17, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    "Now think about your game. How often have you stepped up over a difficult bunker shot and, rather than just saying "make sure the next shot is off grass," you tried to hit a perfect shot that stops 2 feet from the pin? The next shot gave you more bunker practice, didn't it?"

    I swear that sometimes you are there with me during my rounds or have some kind of super power that allows you the ability to read my thoughts.

    Yes, it has happened. And yes, the results were less than desirable. It's funny to hear the announcers talk like that. I would take any of those "that wasn't up to his expectations" shots.

    Not taking my medicine was the reason I recorded that 9 during my last round. I let my ego get in the way of that situation. Felt I had something to prove I guess. The only thing I proved however, is that I am still thinking like an amateur. Time starting thinking like a pro.

  3. February 18, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    I do have a super power that allows me to understand your problem, Dex...

    It's called experience. ;-D