5 Keys for Golfs Mental Toughness – #5 is Crucial!
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Getting yourself ready for the competition takes a special kind of attitude.
I have always admired players who never give up. They keep on trying no matter what. Gary Player immediately comes to mind, but there are dozens of players who have made a nice living by never quitting and ending up birdieing the last few holes to suddenly jump from 12th spot to 3rd! On the PGA Tour, that’s a lot of money! Check out these 5 keys for golf toughness written by John Haime for golfwrx.com
Are you “golf tough?”
Do you have what it takes to deal with all of golf’s situations and challenges and really use your talent and capabilities?
While there will be some ebb and flow in your rounds, let’s face it, most rounds of golf look like the ticker tape on the stock market — way up and way down. Is your game like the stock market?
I think you might know what this looks like for you. Things are going well, and then, unannounced, a string of bad play or that nasty triple bogey creates the big black mark on your card — there goes another round! The symptoms of this syndrome are quite recognizable.
1. The Bum Drag
An important area I work on with athletes is resilience or mental toughness, as some call it. For our purposes, we’ll call it “golf toughness.” It really is a separator between those who have consistent performances and careers, and those who struggle. The line in competitive sports is fine — and wasting a shot here and there because of a lack of golf toughness can be the difference between winning and losing, a great season or a mediocre one, or a great round and an average one.
Over dinner at the Masters a few years ago, Butch Harmon was asked the difference between good golfers and great ones. He apparently didn’t take long to answer.
“The ability to recover from adversity faster than everyone else,” Harmon said.
You need golf toughness to reach your capabilities and develop consistency in your game.
I just returned from watching a high-level junior event and it is fascinating watching the kids and seeing the heads go up and down — the body language come alive and then sag as they go through the peaks and valleys of a typical round. Peaks and valleys are a reality in golf, but it’s how long they last that separates players. For some kids at the junior event, this feeling lasts for one hole, some for four holes, and others more.And, junior events aren’t the only events I see bums dragging! I see the spectrum of “golf toughness” at all levels and ages.
2. Bouncing Back
You are probably familiar with the PGA Tour’s “bounce back” stat. It calculates the percentage of time a player has a bogey on one hole and then comes back with a birdie on the next. It’s an important stat because it suggests resilience in a player — how quickly they are able to turn things around and not allow mistakes to dictate their play. The top three leaders in the bounce back stat in 2015 are Jordan Speith, Bubba Watson and Jason Day — all in the top 10 on the money list. J.B. Holmes, who has had the ultimate “bounce back” from brain surgery to the PGA Tour, is having a great year and well up on the bounce-back list.
J.B. Holmes underwent brain surgery in 2011. He regained his form and is once again a top Tour player.
Golf fans probably also saw Rory McIlroy in the recent WGC-Cadillac Match Play get down late in matches to world-class players, but he stayed the course, played to his strengths and turned the matches around. His “golf toughness” led him to the eventual win.
And like yours, the rounds of PGA Tour players ebb and flow, too. But how players recover from the “valleys” often determines the size of their paycheck. The bounce back stat demonstrates that there’s a definite relationship between resilience and great results.
I assess the emotional competencies of many players during the course of the year, and one interesting thing to note about their results is the link between emotional self control, focus and resilience (or “golf toughness”). As I have mentioned in previous articles, emotions run the show in golf and if emotion bubbles to such an extent you don’t have a handle on it, the ability to focus becomes a problem and the ability to bounce back also becomes difficult. All are intertwined and this performance drop can lead to extended trips on the bogey train, big numbers and overall inconsistency.
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