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  • Writer's pictureCarol Alford

New Season Begins

The start of a new golfing season is always exciting, no matter how long you've been playing the game. As we head back to our courses after a long lockdown in England, many golfers may find themselves falling into the golfing trap that can severely hinder their performance and enjoyment. So to help prevent this happening to you, take a look at my top 3 tips below: Top Tip 1 - Keep your expectations in check A common trap for golfers after a long layoff, is failing to keep their expectations in check. Typically golfers tend to do all sorts of things when not playing golf.

  • There will be those who methodically cleaned their clubs and equipment safely storing them away, whilst not giving a second thought about playing or even swinging a club.

  • Others continue practicing regularly at home hitting balls into nets and buckets or putting along the living room carpet to hone their skills

  • Many will be checking out latest videos, books, articles and podcasts to keep them informed and up to date on the latest equipment and gadgets to improve their game

Whichever camp you sit in, my advice to you, is to throw away any expectations you may have if you haven't played for several weeks. Going out to play with expectations will simply put you under pressure and add to the frustration when you fail to match those expectations. In an interesting article this week, it suggested the average golfer will play 5 shots over their handicap when returning to play after several weeks layoff. So don't be disappointed by your first few outings, this is to be expected and don't fall into "fools golf," if you have a first great round followed by a few bad rounds. Reality is it's tough to maintain or improve your level of play when you've not been playing for a while. Instead set your expectations to zero and accept that your game will be rusty, but just like when you learnt to ride a bike as a kid, with practice it will come back Top Tip 2 - Tap into the Feel Most golfers will agree that your feel for shots is lost or diminished when you've not played for a while and this will be most evident in your short game. Most golfers don't lose the ability to fully swing a club, but their soft touch with chipping and putting can often be affected if you've not kept up the practice. I would highly recommend that you take some time practicing with your wedges to recalibrate your body and mind on length and speed of swing, as these shots are where most of us lose out when competing. Also get a feel for the speed of putts by using your practice routines to improve your feel and technique. Time spent on your feel in the short game will pay dividends in the long run Top Tip 3 - Changing Habits I've been reading a fascinating book titled "Tiny Habits" by BJ Fogg. It explains why we frequently fail to meet our goals. Our assumptions are that we lack motivation, but in reality the change we have chosen may be dramatic and how we propose to carry it out often is too difficult to maintain. For example if we want to lose weight, a logical process to follow would be to set a goal of working out at the gym 4 times a week. In reality working out 4 times a week can prove to be difficult to achieve due to the challenges with our daily lives and so after the initial flourish we find excuses not to go. Before reading the book I put this down simply to my motivation lacking after the first few sessions. However the book suggests the winning formula is to finding easy solutions to implement that are small incremental changes that require minimal effort. Taking the example of losing weight, instead of making the goal working out at the gym 4 times a week, incorporate 2 squats whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. Here's why this works

  • The thought of 2 squats isn't taxing

  • It doesn't require equipment or clothing

  • It's easy to do, requiring minimal effort.

You may think it's a crazy idea but depending on how many cups of tea or coffee you have in a day, the number of squats completed in week soon mount up. It may sound small, but very soon you will feel able to do more squats e.g. 10 or 20 and before you know it you're starting to build your training regime. A regime that builds gradually and feels easy to do that you are able to stick with and eventually reach your goal.

Now consider how you could use Tiny Habits to help you in golf. It could for example be to ensure you practice regularly to improve your golf. Taking the usual trip to the range or course may not always be easy to do due to time commitments or the weather being bad. You could take the shaft of a chopped down club and place on your desk. Each time you stand up from your desk take practice 2 swings. Or have a club in the kitchen that you practice your swing take-away each time you make a cuppa. Over time you will see improvements. Give it a whirl and let me know how you get on If your would like more information on these techniques please contact me to arrange a session

Hope you found this blog interesting, if you would like to learn more about mental toughness please visit our website and get in touch. Drop me an email and let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you. Visit our website and check out our other blogs, there's something in there for everyone.


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