Getting negative thoughts out of your mind about your game?

Bullitt5339

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I was looking back through my posts today and noticed that I've been becoming increasingly negative about my golf game. Any threads that are game related I have responded to negatively about my own game. Like rating my confidence at a 1.5-2, saying that I'm always the worst player in the group, etc. I told everyone how horrible I was playing at the last THP event and then par'd the first hole, but then the wheels fell off and I couldn't even hit an iron or wedge after the thought got into my head.

I wasn't always like this. Just a year ago, I was very optimistic about getting my game back, but I feel like golf has beat me up and my handicap has shown it. I've went from an 18 back to a 21 in the past 3 months. No matter what I try to do to improve, those negative thoughts about how bad I am creep in and no matter how hard I work, how many lessons I take, how much practice I put in, I always seem to leave with a negative attitude lately in regards to my game.

I absolutely love walking the course. I absolutely love the time spent with my golfing buddies no matter how I'm playing. I rarely get overly mad on the course and keep a fairly level head even when things are going horribly. I think I am putting too much pressure on myself to get back to where I was a few years ago (a 12hc) and it really makes me tense up on the course. I seem to expect a bad shot and am surprised when I hit the ball well.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's ever felt this way about their game and I'm wondering how to become more positive about my game? I could understand if I wasn't having a good time on the course, but I'm always having a good time I just don't have any confidence that I will hit a good golf shot ever. With one month until the Invitational, this is my focus. I will still be trying to improve and play my best golf, but I really want to improve getting negative thoughts about my game out of my head.
 

lmh3

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That's a really tough hurdle to get over, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect and Zen Golf are two really good books about the mental side of the game. I'm sure people will suggest others as well. Good luck.
 

ATLGolfer

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At the end of the day, I try to remind myself that golf is fun, and it beats the hell out of working.

That usually gets me out of the funk. Playing with THPers certainly does it.
 

Trout Bum

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I think it happens to all of us at one time or another buddy and the secret is not to acknowledge the negative thought when they come. Focus on anything positive you can find. You had a good game at one time Rich, and you had some extraordinary circumstances occur in your life that created a hiccup in your game buddy, I've played with you and I know you have greatness in you, you can be better than you were in my opinion. We have to acknowledge what we had rather than mourn it buddy, you were good and now you're going to work hard and become better.

Easier said than done I know because that crap haunts me too, but if you practice positive reinforcement you'll eventually think positive thoughts more than negative.

We need to hook up soon and play.
 

blugold

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No reason to have negative thoughts. It's a silly game
 

Bullitt5339

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I think it happens to all of us at one time or another buddy and the secret is not to acknowledge the negative thought when they come. Focus on anything positive you can find. You had a good game at one time Rich, and you had some extraordinary circumstances occur in your life that created a hiccup in your game buddy, I've played with you and I know you have greatness in you, you can be better than you were in my opinion. We have to acknowledge what we had rather than mourn it buddy, you were good and now you're going to work hard and become better.

Easier said than done I know because that crap haunts me too, but if you practice positive reinforcement you'll eventually think positive thoughts more than negative.

We need to hook up soon and play.
This weather isn't cooperating on that, is it? I will see you at the Invitational and if they ever nail down a course, I'm going to come down and meet all the SC folks in Columbia. I don't know how much I will be playing before the Invitational because I'm trying to get some practice in and trying to keep this sciatic nerve from flaming back up before then. My doctor is talking about doing another epidural in a week or so if I still have any pain. Last time I had one, I went 6 months with absolutely no pain.
 

ForTheLovOfGolf

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That's a really tough hurdle to get over, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect and Zen Golf are two really good books about the mental side of the game. I'm sure people will suggest others as well. Good luck.
Zen golf was a very good book. Sometimes a little out there for me but gave me a new prospective on how to approach the game.
 

KellyBo

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I read several Rotella books. "Your 15th Club" talks a lot about this exact subject. I highly recommend!
 

Paladin

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I don't read a lot about the mental side of golf. Maybe I should, but a lot of my mentality is derived from the military, which is pretty big on "negative reinforcement." I know you come from that background, which really focuses on the idea that you could always do something better. I've had a lot of days at the range where I've just gotten very wrapped around the axle of, "I could do this perfectly. I should be able to do this more precisely." It all inhibits the relaxed, free-flowing swing that produces the best results.

My suggestion: Take a lesson with a new coach, if possible. Odds are, unless he's someone who is going to start off with overhauling your swing, he's going to start with what you do right with your swing. Stick to the mindset of what both you and that coach like about your swing. Sure, he'll have some tweaks and improvements, but a fair amount of that lesson will hinge on doing what you do well, only doing those things better and more frequently. Build out from what you like about your swing or your game.
 

KellyBo

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I'll add that what Rotella says to do is forget the bad shots after a round and keep a diary of all the good shots. You don't have to do it for long to see there are a lot of good things going on too.
 

Bullitt5339

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I don't read a lot about the mental side of golf. Maybe I should, but a lot of my mentality is derived from the military, which is pretty big on "negative reinforcement." I know you come from that background, which really focuses on the idea that you could always do something better. I've had a lot of days at the range where I've just gotten very wrapped around the axle of, "I could do this perfectly. I should be able to do this more precisely." It all inhibits the relaxed, free-flowing swing that produces the best results.

My suggestion: Take a lesson with a new coach, if possible. Odds are, unless he's someone who is going to start off with overhauling your swing, he's going to start with what you do right with your swing. Stick to the mindset of what both you and that coach like about your swing. Sure, he'll have some tweaks and improvements, but a fair amount of that lesson will hinge on doing what you do well, only doing those things better and more frequently. Build out from what you like about your swing or your game.
That's a good point. Being Artillery Fire Direction where perfection is not only expected but was required may be a factor. I've never thought about that before, but it is something that's rooted in me deeply after 22 years.

I finally found a great instructor that has made a huge difference in just 2 lessons and 2 practice sessions. The problem is that he told me yesterday that he's accepted a job at TPC Boston as an Asst. Pro. Talk about mixed feelings. He's an awesome instructor, it's a huge pay increase (he said 7x more than he's making now), and at a world class course. But I really enjoy the way he teaches, so finding a replacement is going to be difficult. He's so laid back it's inspiring.
 

rickterp

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I find myself getting mad at myself from a couple of times each round for poorly executed shots. I'm getting better at telling myself to forget it and move on to the next one. Negativity can really take a good round south quickly for me. Good thread topic, I don't think enough of us hack's take the time to acknowledge the impact of our self loathing on what is supposed to be a enjoyable game.
 

thewitt

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Getting negative thoughts out of your mind about your game?

Though I can get frustrated over bad shots, I don't dwell on them. I just remind myself that the best golfers in the world hit bad shots virtually every round. Watch the guys on tour NOT in the last two groups...
 

lightningbolt44

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If I am in a golf funk I sometimes will take a week or two off. During the round I try and forget what I am shooting as hard as that may be it keeps me pretty level headed.

If my swing is really bad for a period of time I will then concentrate on my putting and chipping even more. I know this sounds like the opposite but chipping a ton seems to lead to better ball striking for me and putting well I dont think as amateurs we can spend enough time practicing with the putter.
 

deuce

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I finally found a great instructor that has made a huge difference in just 2 lessons and 2 practice sessions. The problem is that he told me yesterday that he's accepted a job at TPC Boston as an Asst. Pro. Talk about mixed feelings. He's an awesome instructor, it's a huge pay increase (he said 7x more than he's making now), and at a world class course. But I really enjoy the way he teaches, so finding a replacement is going to be difficult. He's so laid back it's inspiring.
Ask him to recommend a new instructor to you. I am sure these guys all know each other and know each other's styles ... He may be able to hook you up with a new guy who has a similar style.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

robmypro

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I am not going to say I know how you feel, because I won't play my first round in 30 years for another two months. But I am going to go into the season knowing I will be bad, but try to get a little better throughout the season. So my expectations are very low. Sort of expect the worst, and be pleasently surprised if you hit a good shot. It is a process. Take the long view. You stay at it, and you will get better. No need to put too much focus on any one shot, hole or round.

On another topic, one thing I am trying to avoid this year is becoming obsessed with technique. If I have to be so mechanical, and remember 50 things before each shot, that is going to feel like work. I am going to fine tune the natural swing I have, but I am not going to be a robot. I believe golf is a game of feel, and i don't want to try to do too much.

As a test, just go out and play 18 without overthinking it. Just do what feels right. Just hit the ball. You might be surprised.
 

HarlettoScara

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Is a tricky one, and a lot easier said than done. One thing my old man always says, which I think is spot on, is that "there are cemeteries full of people who wished they could play this badly" Always raises a smile!

Deep breath, take a look around you and just enjoy the surroundings.
 

Tedfroop

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Zen Golf by Joseph Parent or Fearless Golf by Gio Valiante. Both excellent books with solid strategies for dealing with and understanding fear. Some solid advice for use in everyday life too.
 

Borss

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Try focusing on having fun and concentrating less on your score. It will work wonders for your game.
 

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