Here's a great piece by GolfWeek regular contributor Dr. Bob Winters, an internationally renowned sport psychologist who works with champion golfers, that ran in the February 2017 issue. Winters shares his :60 second strategy to get your head in the right frame of mind as you begin your round.
His 60 second countdown echoes several of ShoeTips' key swing thoughts and definitions--like "breathe/focus", "visualize", "feel", "commit/trust", "alignment", and "swing plane".
Winters rightly points out that, “Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus once said the opening tee shot is one of the most critical in golf because it sets up the entire round. …If the first ball is hit well, the golfer is in a great mental state. If it’s hit poorly, the player is done. ...Preparing for the opening tee shot is vital for creating the proper mindset and mood for the day – perhaps even an entire tournament.”
Here's his advice, which he divides into 6 10-second increments:
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION
… As you walk to the tee box, tell yourself that no matter what happens, “Today is my day, and nothing is going to stop me from playing the way I want to play.” … give yourself the emotional freedom to simply play golf and enjoy whatever happens.
FORGET ABOUT OTHERS
The moment you step onto the tee, you must detach yourself from everyone around you. … Don’t give your power away to others just because they are watching you. Forget about them and focus on the task of the upcoming shot.
CREATE A SAFE AREA
…This mentality permits you to visually focus only on your target (out into the fairway) and not allow your thoughts and eyes to drift back into the crowd milling about on the first tee. This strategy keeps you task-focused on the upcoming shot and not worried about what other players may be doing or saying.
MAKING A CLEAR DECISION
…create an informed decision about what type of shot you will hit. This can be done quickly sometimes or with much deliberation… The more decisive you are in your shot and club choice, the better chance you have of hitting a great shot.
CREATE A SPECIFIC REHEARSAL SWING
…“pre-set” a feel or sequence of motion that helps to grease the wheel for your upcoming shot. By pre-programming the correct movement in your active rehearsal swing, all that is left is to step up and replay that same movement without conscious effort or thought. The actual swing is merely a reflexive effort versus one that is forced or overly manipulated.
COMMIT TO YOUR TARGET AND SWING
…After you have committed yourself to the shape and flight of the ball, you step to your ball and align your club and body to your target. During these last few seconds, there is very little active thinking. This is an automatic process. After you step over your “trust line” and align yourself to the ball and target, you simply take a last look and come back to the ball and swing to your target.
His post shot advice is equally important:
ACCEPT THE SHOT
Acceptance is the final part of every shot – good or bad – and any particular shot is not over until you place closure on it. When you are able to accept your result and move on to the next, you are truly becoming a player of the game.