Hello golfers and welcome to another Tips & Tricks. Firstly, how hot is it?! Whether you like it or not there is no escaping this Great British heatwave and in my opinion this is when golf gets the most fun. This week I’m going to let you know what I’ve been up to during my week off, how you can use this weather to your advantage on the golf course and how to be mentally stronger with your game.
For those of you that didn’t know I was off work last week down in beautiful Cornwall. The sun was shining and I managed to squeeze in 9 holes at Trevose Golf Club. If you haven’t been there I would highly recommend it for a golf trip. The main course is a championship course that has hosted some world class events. They then have two 9 hole courses, one of which is 9 full length holes and the other is all par 3s. I only played the par 3 course, mainly because it was too hot to play any proper golf, and realised just how much the ground conditions impact the way a golf course plays.
The last time I played golf on a course was probably about April time and that was on a parkland course. Since then we have had some seriously warm weather and when I played last week it was on a proper links course, just like in the Open at Royal St George’s. The way that the golf club reacts with the ground at impact, the way golf ball flies through the air and then reacts with the ground are all completely different during different seasons and on different types of course.
If any of you watched the Open Championship (which I’m sure most of you did) you would have seen the players attempting shots you would never think of playing. This comes down to experience and also imagination.
There is a time and a place for certain types of shot. Lots of you that I know and teach like putting if you’re just off the edge of the green because you trust this more than a chip shot with an iron and this is fine if the ground conditions are suitable. When you’re playing a links course in a heatwave you can probably end up closer by putting it from 30 yards than if you were to try and hit a lob wedge because the margin for error is so much higher with a putter. There is also a lot more run on the golf ball when the ground conditions are harder meaning the ball will travel a lot further. The warm conditions also help the ball travel further through the air so this can be taken into consideration during club selection.
On the golf course there are many things that can be controlled and focusing on the these should be prioritised. Examples of controllable factors are pre-shot routine, club selection, preparation for the round, warm up, mental approach to shots, visualisation. Examples of uncontrollable factors are weather or ground conditions, the bounce of the ball, slow play in front. Improving your approach to both sets of factors can improve a players mental approach to the game significantly. Don’t get frustrated and angry when the uncontrollable factors don’t go your way and try to focus on improving what you can control. If the weather is bad it’s the same for everyone, if the group in front is slow, relax and have some refreshments.
My main bit of advice this week is to stay calm even when things aren’t going your way. Golf is hard and you can often be punished for hitting a good shot. There will be days when everything seems to go your way and other days when you wish you hadn’t bothered. Put it all down to experience and take the good with the bad. Work hard on practicing with structure and improve your approach to the mental side of the game, this way you will be more equipped for dealing with the good and the bad.
My background in sports psychology has helped me appreciate this and because I very rarely play I have to make the most of it and enjoy when I do play. We are all very lucky to be playing a sport we love and I would love to help you get even more out of it. If you would like to talk to me about goal setting or mental toughness I would love to help you with this.
Don’t forget to put suncream on and stay hydrated in this warm weather!