By: Lynn Bernadett, LPGA Golf Educator/Teaching Professional
Emotionally, everyone has good days and some bad days. In golf, you have to learn to keep your emotions under control or on an "even keel," that is if you want positive scoring results. The complete opposite can happen if your emotions get out of hand. Just by outwardly expressing too much happiness, anger, or disappointment, poor scoring will immediately follow. Poor shot making will result because of what these emotions can do to your body. No matter what extreme emotion that you express, your body will become tight; and tight is not conducive to a good golf swing. In golf, we need to be loose enough for a great amount of flexibility and balance control to take place. Tightness is not an option in golf.
Are you way too elated after a one-putt or a birdie? Do you explode with anger when your ball goes into the woods or water? Emotionally, these are opposite sides of the coin, but afterwards they create similar amounts of tension in the body.
Emotional control is like a glue-like blanket to all of your swing mechanics. In order for them to be in good working order, you have to develop an emotional calm then practice it over and over until it becomes habit. Practicing your emotional control is as necessary as practicing your swing mechanics.
Some people seek advice from a professional sports psychologist; others make these improvements on their own for continued success. No matter how you reach your emotional goals, you will have to "flat-line" them to achieve success in golf. It may sound therapeutically repetitive, but thinking of a positive/calming situation in your life is key: thinking it, owning it, and then playing golf with those thoughts. These calming thoughts do not have to be pertaining to golf itself. This is your own imagination within your own mind, choose your thoughts wisely. Additional ways of achieving your emotional goals could be to walk at an unhurried pace and to avoid unnecessary conversations. These suggestions will encourage you to play within yourself and will give you a chance to listen much closer to your own positive/calming self-talk.
Thinking about positive memories or just by changing your behaviors on the golf course, emotional control needs to be a part of everyone's improvement plan in golf. Train your mind to train your body.
Lynn Bernard is an LPGA Golf Professional and Robson Resident
Courtesy ofRobson Publishing