I ADMIT THAT IT’S a trick question, but take a few seconds to give this some thought: What do you think is the most emailed article at GolfDigest.com?
Asking you to name the exact article is unfair, too much to ask. Just see if you can name the topic, issue, or person. Anything come to mind?
If I were guessing, I’d say Tiger Woods in a heartbeat. I’d be wrong.
The most emailed article at GolfDigest.com is “Dr. Bob Rotella: Inside the Golfer’s Mind.” Yes, the same Bob Rotella who helped 42-year-old Darren Clarke tame his putting demons, which helped the Northern Irishman win the Claret Jug, his first major championship.
Rotella is a longtime mental guru who has helped many a tour pro and countless other golfers. He knows the golfer’s mind. It isn’t pretty. It’s pretty creepy, actually. This is your brain. This is your brain on golf.
If Rotella can help you, or me, or Darren Clarke change a thought or two, he can help change our minds about this bedeviling game. And that can produce better results. (Hint: But don’t think about the results too much, or at all.)
From the popular article, following are Rotella’s “10 things a player must do in a competitive round.” Please note that he explains each of the following points in detail in the article.
1. Play to play great. Don’t play not to play poorly.
2. Love the challenge of the day, whatever it may be.
3. Get out of the results and get into the process.
4. Know that nothing will bother or upset you on the golf course.
5. Playing with a feeling that the outcome doesn’t matter is always preferable to caring too much.
6. Believe fully in yourself so you can play freely.
7. See where you want the ball to go before every shot.
8. Be decisive, committed and clear.
9. Be your own best friend.
10. Love your wedge and your putter.
What do you think? Have you tried any of these mental approaches on the golf course or in tournament competition?
I’ve definitely been guilty of playing not to play poorly, a scared, defensive brand of golf. I’ve done reasonably well at focusing on process rather than results. But that can break down if I realize I’m shooting a great score for me. I’m pretty good at being my own best friend. No use beating myself up if things are going badly. My little on-course pep talks are helpful.
What about you? Does any of Dr. Bob’s advice seem particularly helpful? Does any of it strike you as hopelessly unrealistic?
By the way, the second most emailed article is also by the good doctor: “Dr. Bob Rotella: My 10 Rules on Mental Fitness.”
Further proof that we’re all a bunch of mental cases. But that’s OK.
−The Armchair Golfer
(Photo credit: VancityAllie, Flickr, Creative Commons license)