Golf Psychology

Golf Psychology

No one will forget the shot that won Bubba Watson the Masters at Augusta in 2012. Watson was so deep in the woods late Sunday afternoon that he couldn’t even see where he was going. With his golf ball nestled on a bed of pine needles, he hit a gap wedge that shot out toward the fairway and hooked some 40 yards and onto the elevated green.

Walking down the fairway toward an uncertain lie, he and caddie Ted Scott recalled their credo — “If I have a swing, I’ve got a shot.” That confidence is often the difference between making a shot or duffing the shot.

This week’s tip:

Play to play great. Don’t play not to play poorly. There’s a fine line between playing to play great and playing recklessly. Reckless players hit driver off virtually every tee. They fire at sucker pins they have no business aiming at, because they’re convinced that’s what playing to play great is all about. It isn’t.

Golfers who are playing to play great love a great drive more than they fear the rough. They like making putts more than they care about three-putting. They love chipping it in more than they loathe not getting up and down. But they may have a conservative strategy for certain holes. The conservative strategy is what permits them to always make a confident, even cocky swing. When the moment is right, when they’ve got a scoring club in their hands, they take dead aim at the hole. But only when the moment is right.

“Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work.” – Jack Nicklaus