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The Struggle of Putting Together a Full Round
Strokes of genius and then just lots of strokes
I started the round out with five pars on the first eight holes. Until my friend commented, “Wow, you are really putting a round together.” Then I got a seven on the ninth hole and an eight on the tenth and just spiraled downhill until 16-17-18, which I played one under.
What the hell happened from 9-15?
I think to understand that, I have to think about what went right on the first few holes:
1) I was playing a new course for the first time, and I had zero expectations of how I was going to play. So, I was for sure playing “loose”.
2) Since it was a new course, I had to be in the moment and take in each hole. Because I was in the moment and had no expectations, it made it so I didn’t think a shot was “good” or “bad” just more of a “what do I have to do next” mentality.
What went wrong:
1) Once I started thinking about the score, I was playing with expectations vs playing loose which leads to you playing tight. Playing tight means, you are going to play poorly.
2) The bad shots started and just compounded on themselves really taking me out of playing in the moment.
This isn’t a new phenomenon for me. I can play well on the front, then I will fall apart on the back nine. I can play badly on the front, basically give up on playing, and then play great on the back.
Not caring produces the best results for me. I’ve read a few books on the mental game of golf and understand that playing loose and in the moment provides the best results. What I don’t know how to do is trick my brain into not caring. I’ve tried to take in the surroundings around me and breathe, I’ve tried to use a rubber band on my wrist to snap when I had negative thoughts, and I’ve tried a few drinks on the course (which, while fun, is not sustainable).
I need to work just as hard on my mindset and mental ability as I do on my swing. And I am not sure I have the answer to that yet.
How do you make sure you are playing loose?