Commit to your Golf Shot
Commit to your shot on the golf course
Last time, we talked about commitment. As a helpful review, we discussed how using our own genetically programmed instructions for propelling us to golf improvement can be very powerful. The second part about the word “commitment” and how it applies to golf is what happens to us on the course. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, “commit to your shot.” Shoot, it’s not like I made this idea up myself. Golfers from over 100 years ago have been saying this and for good reason.
It’s because probably the greatest shot killer is not that you have a bad swing, or that you failed to align properly, or that your equipment stinks or any other reason that you normally come up with. The greatest shot killer is DOUBT! Yep, the slightest little hint that you’re unsure of whether or not you have the right club or not and it’s “all over but the crying” as some of my smart aleck friends say when they are about to whip me in a game.
I mentioned a perfect example of this with the Jack Nicklaus story about the 79 Masters when he couldn’t decide whether or not to use an 8 or a 9 iron and he used the 8 and sailed it over the green after not trusting his instincts and committing to the shot.
Also remember Brad Faxon’s words: “most golfers just suffer from too much doubt when it comes to putting.”
If you haven’t experienced doubt on the putting green before and seen it’s ugly effects, then you are already the greatest putter in the world and I want to know your secret. So many top pros have recounted in interviews that the best putting they ever did was when they were in their teens. Why? Because they had their best mechanics? Because they have a more steady nervous system in their youth? No, it’s because they are full of confidence and have reached a basic fundamental skill level. They have very few past failures and disappointments to cut into their natural cockiness.
And that’s all you need! The best putters in the world have long recognized this. Do you remember being a teenager and you felt invincible? Like you could do anything and nothing bad would happen to you? As we get older, things happen to us and we become more afraid to try things and we get closer to our own mortality.
When I was a teenager, I can remember being unafraid to go swim out to 10 foot waves in the ocean so that I could ride them in with my little blow up raft! Getting rescued by the lifeguard one time cured me of that real quick. I went river rafting once and after running a class 3 rapid, walked back up to the beginning of the rapid and SWAM it! I can also remember jumping off a 50 foot cliff overhanging a lake without knowing what was under the water. I look back at those times and think “how in the world did I ever survive being a teenager?” Could you go back to that time, in your head and create that state that is stored in your unconscious mind for confidence? Of course you can.
Let’s get back to commitment, which is an easier, more do-able route to achieving confidence, the opposite of doubt. See, it’s real easy for a golf psychologist or pro to tell you that you have to have “confidence” on every shot. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you how to manufacture this when all you have is a bunch of doubtful thoughts running through your head. Your standing up there with a shot that’s in-between clubs and all you can hear in your mind is “is it a long 9 or a short 8?” I know, I’ve been there. You’ve got 2 choices here now to get rid of that. You can either distract your mind with something else so that little voice gets crowded out, or, you can PRETEND that the choice you made is the right one and do it strongly and forcefully. You are going to ACT AS IF the choice you made is the best one for that situation. Commit to it! And you will repeat that conscious thought to yourself, maybe even out loud again with something like: “The 8 is the correct golf shot, the 8 is the correct shot.” Once again, fake it ’til you make it.
That’s the secret to commit to your golf shot. Now some help with making the right choice. This is simple: 90-95% of the time, your first choice is your best choice. You may have heard this before as I did but didn’t quite know why and because you didn’t know why, you didn’t trust this old idea. You might have even heard this concept as it relates to taking tests in school. I am now fully convinced of this having read a book called: Blink. The power of thinking without thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. And because I am convinced, it’s easier for me to make the choice and commit to it.
This book is loaded with scientific studies that support the conclusion that our unconscious mind learns things way before our conscious mind does and is far more accurate. Now, I’ve talked about the power of our unconscious mind in the Mental CD but I didn’t know it could do that too. I’ll give you one example of this power that we can use to help you become convinced so that you’ll learn to trust your choice and then commit fully to the golf shot since being logically convinced will only help you be fully behind your choice.
A few years ago, a group of scientists at the University of Iowa did an experiment. They set up a simple card game where there are red cards and blue cards in 4 separate decks. On the other side of each card was a money value. “Each card in those 4 decks either wins you a sum of money or costs you some money, and your job is to turn over cards from any of the decks, one at a time, in such a way that maximizes your winnings. What you don’t know at the beginning, however, is that the red decks are a minefield. The rewards are high, but when you lose on the red cards, you lose a lot. Actually, you can win only by taking cards from the blue decks, which offer a nice steady diet of $50 payouts and modest penalties. It took on average about 50 cards turned over before the subjects figured out that the blue cards were the way to go.” Here’s the interesting part: They hooked the subjects up to sensors that measure the sweat glands in the palms of their hands. The scientists found that after only 10 cards being turned over, the sensors registered a stress response and the behavior of the card turner began to favor the blue decks 40 cards before the subject was able to say they had a hunch that the blue decks were the way to win the game.
What does this tell us? That the unconscious mind accurately learns far faster than the conscious mind. This doesn’t mean that your first choice is infallible but, if you are really undecided and there is no VERY strong evidence or condition that comes up to change your mind about your first choice, then that is the way to go. And it must be a very strong new piece of information that wasn’t available to you when you made your first choice. Once you make the choice, then PRETEND that Tiger Woods himself is standing by you telling you that you have the right club or have chosen the right line on the putting green.
Commitment is the backdoor method to gaining confidence and defeating doubt for your golf shot.
Now go for it!
Greens and fairways!