What stops serious golfers from realising their potential?
I’ve made a career out of trying to help golfers like you maximise your abilities. However, in my opinion, the things I see lots of you doing is often what is holding you back. The reality is that most players are generally distracted by what’s not important, no matter what their level, and will have some common characteristics:
In the list below, I share 10 of the most common distractions I see and hear during coaching and playing with clients and a few alternative ways that might help.
Not focused enough on the object of the game Most golfers seem to forget that the object of the game is get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes. Trophies are not issued for the best swing, the best putting stroke or most balls hit.
Not enough pressure in practice
Most players have non productive practice. The intensity of feelings between the range and the course are too different. Focus must be a part of all practice. Add competition and outcomes to sessions so some reality is created.
Too much practice time on full swing
The data is clear — most shots in golf happen from 100 yards and in from the green. If the majority of practice time is not spent on these shorter shots, practice time is wasted.
An obsession with the look of the swing
Players are not generally prepared to own their own swings and embrace the differences that make them unique. Obsessing over swing mechanics is a major distraction for many players. They convince themselves that if it doesn’t look “good” on their iPhone, their swing won’t get results.
No structure with the shot
Since scoring is the main goal, a consistent, reliable shape to each shot is important. My experience has been that if players are trying to go both ways, that is a sure-fire way to elevate numbers on the card. Pick a shape and eliminate one side of the course. Predictability from this increases a player’s confidence to put the ball on the fairway/green more often, creating more opportunities to score.
Expectation that they will hit the ball well everyday
Many players have the unreasonable expectation that they will hit lots of fairways and greens every time they play. This expectation leads to constant disappointment in their game. Knowing that the leading professionals in the game average about 60% driving accuracy and 11.8 greens in regulation per round should be a good benchmark for the expectations of all players.
Trying to be too robotic and precise in putting
Some players get so caught up in the mechanics of putting that their approach becomes too robotic. They become obsessed with precision and being perfect. Feel, flow and instinct have to be a central part of putting. This can get lost in an overly robotic mindset trying to be too precise and perfect.
No process for assessment and reflection
Players generally do not have a process for assessing practice or rounds played. Therefore, the correct and relevant details are not consistently taken away to ensure step-by-step improvement. Knowing how to assess practice and play to ask the right questions is key to development.
A focus on the negative before the positive
A default to the mistakes/flaws in the round before looking at the highlights and what worked. When asked about their round, most players highlight three-putts, penalty shots and any errors before anything else. Emphasis should always be on what went well first. Refection on what needs improvement is second.
The blame game
Golfers love excuses. Course conditions, weather, coaching and equipment are a few of the areas that are often targets, deflecting responsibility away from the themselves. Too many players do not take full responsibility for their own game.
I hope this provides some insights on the hurdles that could get in your way on the path to reaching your targets in the game. Whether it’s lowering your handicap, winning a tournament, or just general improvement. I hope that by considering some of these observations it might just help you shorten the road to get there.