Lower your golf scores by switching off

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“Golf is like acting in that both require concentration and relaxation at the same time. In acting, you can’t push emotion. You have to let it rise from you naturally. Same thing in golf. You have to have a plan and a focus; but then you need to just let it happen and enjoy the smooth movement of the swing.”Jane Seymour

By Ian Hardie

A golfer I was talking to a few weeks back was complaining about their recent poor scores

The response to my suggestion as to how to change that was;

‘How could you possibly lower your golf scores by switching off?’

‘And just what exactly needs switching off to do that?’

We’ll get to that soon but first think about this;

Most golfers are under the impression that to play golf well

They need to ‘concentrate’ or focus for the whole game

In reality that means that they are putting their attention on their golf

For the entire time it takes to play a round

Which for most of us is generally four to five hours

Attention of course is “the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things.”

While doing that seems an entirely logical thing to do

And seemingly standard procedure for most of us males

Who are pre-disposed to doing that anyway

It’s not what good golfers do

Not even close

While the ability to focus is an incredibly important factor that goes into making a golfer

And therefore good scores

The human brain simply can’t do it for an entire round of golf

Consider the following I found on Wikipedia on the subject of attention span

“Common estimates for sustained attention to a freely chosen task range from about five minutes for a two-year-old child, to a maximum of around 20 minutes in older children and adults.”

So a golfer who is trying hard to focus for ‘the whole round’

Is extremely unlikely to be able to maintain it for more than a hole or two at best

Read that again to make sure you have that!

Not to mention that the level of their focus will be affected by

“Fatigue, hunger, noise, and emotional stress reduce time on task.”

At least 3 out of 4 of those will be present during almost every round to some degree

Whether you like it or not

But one positive point that you may not know

Is that it also appears that the more skilled the golfer is

The easier it is to maintain focus

“Attention is also increased if the person is able to perform the task fluently, compared to a person who has difficulty performing the task, or to the same person when he or she is just learning the task.”

That’s something I wasn’t aware of but in thinking about it I guess it makes sense

Most importantly though

The final part of what I found on Wikipedia though holds a clue

As to what is necessary to lower your golf scores by switching off

“After losing attention from a topic, a person may restore it by taking a rest, doing a different kind of activity, changing mental focus, or deliberately choosing to re-focus on the first topic.”

So what has all this got to do with being able to lower your golf scores?

If like most golfers you head out onto the course and try ‘to concentrate’ for your entire game

You will find that as you go through the round

One of two things will happen

For most golfers during the course of the round

The effectiveness of their ‘concentration’ will diminish

They may start well

Then make a couple of minor mistakes after a few holes

Some slightly bigger mistakes early on the back nine

Then finish poorly

As the brain is unable to ‘concentrate’ for more than 20 minutes at a time

And as the effects of ‘Fatigue, hunger, noise, and emotional stress’ start to ‘reduce time on task’ during the round

It generates a spiral of diminishing returns

Which even though that is an economic term

Perfectly describes what is happening to most golfers who try ‘to concentrate’ for the whole round

Unless they find a way to switch off between shots

Which is what the good golfer does

The other possibility

Which is a result of a golfer’s effort to purposely sustain ‘my concentration’ for the entire round

Is that the golfer effectively plays the whole game

In a sort of mentally created ‘long tunnel’

Which seems useful but in reality it’s a long tunnel of fuzzy thinking

A sort of ‘twilight zone’

That you ‘enter’ on the first tee and then ‘exit’ after the eighteenth hole

Because as you have already learnt

It’s not possible for the brain to be completely effective while doing that either

The result of doing this

Is one of those rounds that you may have experienced

Where nothing really bad happens

But also nothing really good happens

The sort of round that you look back on afterwards

And wonder why you even played

So what’s the solution I hear you ask?

Switching off between shots

As you read above ‘a person may restore it by taking a rest, doing a different kind of activity, changing mental focus’

So the secret is to be able to train yourself to ‘switch on your focus’ prior to and while you hit each shot

Then as soon as it’s over ‘switch off’ and take a mental rest

I’ll let you know a powerful yet simple way to do that in ‘Lower your golf scores by switching off – part two

Until then

Play well

 

Related Posts

A quick way to lower your golf scores

The gap between holes

Lower your scores by switching off – part two

3 quick ways to gain consistency

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