Golf – The Power of Negative Thinking

Much of the game of golf is played in the mind and I am going to show you how powerful negative thoughts can be and why you should avoid them at all costs. I'll even give you an exercise that you may dare to try!

The first example I would like to give is of my own problem on my home course. The 18th at my home club is the number 1 stroke hole (that is to say it is the most difficult on the course). It also happens to be the toughest par 4 in New Zealand with an average score of 6.8. The hole is a right angle dog leg right with tree lined out of bounds on the right, a lake on the left and a very narrow entrance to the corner. The corner being where the dog leg begins. Believe me it is a tough hole. If you do get it down to the corner there is about a 220 meter second to an uphill green. The green is at least 30 feet above you as face your second shot. And just to add a bit of insult to injury the wind is predominately against you. To be honest a bogey is a very good score.

Anyway the point is I stand on the tee and KNOW that I am not going to score on the hole. Invariably that is exactly what happens. But …… the other day I played with a fellow who has resigned himself to the fact that he can not par the hole. His tactic is now to play short, go over the trees and cut the corner with his second and then play the third on to the green. This means his club selection is anything from a 3 wood to a 5 iron off the tee (depending on the wind) followed by a 6 or 7 iron over the trees and then anything from an 8 iron to a pitching wedge on to the green. Hopefully he can two putt and walk away with a very respectable bogey. I tried this a couple of times and I am now far more positive about the hole.

Try this next time you are out on the course. Take a look at the hole you are playing and make a mental note of where you DO NOT want to be. Say to yourself "I definitely do not want to go right" (or left as the case may be). Take a swing and see what happens. I can almost guarantee where you said you did not want to go is where you land up!

So what use is this to you as a golfer? Well quite simply you need to eliminate negative thoughts, in particular the last thought before you hit the ball. Do not think "I do not want to go left", replace this with "keep the ball right".

You may find this hard at first but if you keep consciously practicing it it will become a sub-conscious habit.

I've also observed people in match play situations say seemingly innocent things for their opponent to "accidentally" overhear. Things like you do not want to be short, long, left, right, that side of the fairway etc. Invariably what happens is that which exactly where the player goes as his subconscious has now been programmed to get him there.

So to conclude be aware of your thoughts and make certain they are positive.

Who was it that said something like "if you think you can and if you think you can not you are right"? Truer words have never been spoken.