The question “how to play golf?” is such a challenging one, that a whole book could be written about this subject. There are so many different ways to play the game. For starters, you can play the game left handed like Phil Michelson, or right handed like Jack Nicklaus. I think the most important question to focus on is “how do I play the game of golf to the best of my ability?”; this is where the Black Belt Golf mentality comes in to help you achieve this goal.
Everyone wants to hit the ball further, and get the ball into the golf hole in the fewest strokes. Most of us also play golf to have fun, get fit and healthy, or just because we are hooked!
Once you get past the basics of learning the proper grip, stance, take away, and the transition into the golf ball, the game of golf is mostly played between the ears – i.e. the mental game of golf.
If you are a beginner, how do you start playing golf? Taking lessons from an honest pro who is all about teaching you those fundamentals that will stay with you as long you play the game should be your first priority. Then you must put in the time and effort on the practice range. Learn how to hit half shots, so you learn the timing of the golf swing, and learn how to hit pitch shots, chip shots, bunker play, and putting. All of this takes time to learn, so as a beginner have patience with yourself. It is vital to learn how to warm up and stretch properly whether you’re a beginner or an advanced golfer and maintaining good health as well as eating right are also very important. All of these factors will contribute to how well you learn to play golf and how well you play the game.
If you learn all of the fundamentals of golf, but do not put a lot of time into your practice, then you will stay an average golfer. An average golfer is not particularly positive about their game. For the most part, they only go out and play golf without putting the extra time and effort into really learning how to play golf. In order for an average golfer to improve, they need to change their attitude towards their game. If you are an average golfer and do not have a lot of time to go out on the driving range to work on your long and short game, then set something up in your house or backyard and work on it there for 20 to 30 minutes a day. The key is to be consistent and seek out help if you feel your fundamentals are off track. Just like the beginner, you should keep your general health and eating on track to give yourself the energy and motivation to play this great game.
The low handicap golfer knows how to play golf, but might not be as consistent as they would like to be. For them, it all about feeling good, keeping their form, maintaining a positive attitude, keeping their practice and routine up, and enjoying the game. Sometimes, the low handicap golfer is so focused on shooting a low number that they forget to enjoy the game. The low handicap golfer might find themselves spending a lot of time on their game but not improving much. If this is you, then sometimes stepping away, taking a break, and working more on your mental game might help you get your feel and form back. Some low handicap golfers simply love to play; others just love to practice. Too much of either can affect your ability. If either applies, then you need to address the balance between both in order for you to get the most out of your game.
Professional golfers and great amateur players understand themselves, understand their ability, and play within that range. They never try to hit a shot in competition that they know they can not pull off. They are very positive; they know where the ball is going, and they send it there. Even great golfers have weeks where they struggle to get the ball in the hole. However, these players do not allow the bad weeks to affect them negatively. They simply brush it off, seek out help when they need it, and move on to the next week. If you are one of these golfers, then your key focus should be maintaining confidence as this can be dampened when you do not play well for many weeks, and miss a lot of cuts. Great golfers, however, always find a way to get their mindset and confidence back on track, meaning their golf game also gets back on track.
Golf can become more challenging as a player increases in their ability, and then expects more from themselves as they improve. This is why developing the right mindset and attitude, as well as keeping your body in tip-top shape is very important. A Black Belt Golfer is a golfer who knows that “feel” can change at any time, but they strive to seek out the positive from a change in their feel. They choose to see their golfing journey as a fun and exciting one. They know that some days are good, and some days are bad. They let go of the bad ones. They focus 100% of their mental and physical ability during practice. They know that mental and physical practice is the way to a better golf game and also a better life. They strive to become stronger, both emotionally and physically, but they know that it is a lifelong process. They listen to their body and what it is telling them as they understand the importance of balance in both golf and life, and the necessity to take a break from time to time to avoid both mental and physical burnout.