As I have discussed before, once you have come to grips with the fundamentals of golf, the game is played primarily with your mind. This is why it is essential to continually work on the mental side of golf, and to always strive to improve your mindset and attitude. Not every game you play will go your way, and your success will depend on your ability to stay focused and keep going no matter how the game pans out, and to always remember your mental game of golf.
Let me give you two real life examples of when this has proven to be true for me. The first story involves a tournament a friend of mine and I play in each year during the month of November. The final score is based on the best score each hole between you and your partner. Everything was going well until the 11th hole, which was a short but very narrow hole. My friend went first and hit his ball ob (out of bounds). This really threw me, and I became nervous over my shot and ended up completely blocking the shot right. The ball hit a tree which prevented it from going out. My second shot was a long one, and I hit a big cut, and that ball was out. Then, I hit a provisional and hit that one poorly as well, and so had to hit a third ball. Well, it turned out that the first one was in play. Now I had about a 60 yard shot, but I had to keep it very low because I was in the trees. I hit a pretty good pitch shot to about 15 feet. From there I had a huge left to right putt. I’m talking about one of those putts that if you miss, you will have at least a 6 to 8 feet coming back. I hit the putt, and it dropped in. Routine par!
The second story was when I played in the U.S. Mid-Am Qualifying, and right before my tee shot, the nerves kicked in, and I completely blocked the shot way right. I hit a provisional, not as bad, but still it went right enough to go into the rough and my third ball found the fairway. Well, I got up there, and the marshals couldn’t find either the first ball or the second. The first one was so bad that I thought it had gone into this huge creek. The USGA told me that unless I actually saw it go into the creek, it would be deemed a lost ball. I had about 2 minutes left to look for the ball, and the marshals said they would go on to the other side (they needed to take a cart all the way around) to look for my ball. At this point I thought that I was going to have to play that third ball and be lying 5 out there and hitting 6. It could have easily been an 8, 9, or 10 right off the start. Well, the Marshall found my ball. They took me round to the other side, and my goal was just to get the ball out. I hit it about 30 yards short of the pin, hit a pitch shot to about 3 feet and made the putt for par. Another routine par!
What I want you to take from these experiences is that during a game you never know what is going to happen. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t, but you just have to keep going with perseverance, a good attitude, and the strength of mind to overcome the mental side of golf.