Most golfers spend a majority of their time on the practice facilities, grinding away hitting balls, pitching/chipping and spending hours upon hours on the putting green fine tuning their craft.
A high percentage of golfers understand the importance of spending a majority of their time focusing on their short games and putting, as these 2 components make up a decent portion of where most of their shots are played from. While spending time on these aspects of the game will certainly help your ability to score, it has limited benefits when its time to execute under competitive pressure.
If you have read the content on the Standard Procedure page of my website, you will realize that everything I focus on building with my clients is specific to what they will need to call on over the final 6-9 holes under intense competitive pressure. Elements such as-
*Accessing Peak Mental State
*Controlling Brain Function
*Being comfortable in being uncomfortable
to name just a few.
Now the question I ask myself when working with clients is 'what practice plan and mental exercises do I need to build that will help that client access all of the above when under competitive stress?’ I cannot stress enough what you practice, the way you practice it and how long you practice it for is CRUCIAL in building your dominant patterns that will take over once you hit that pressure-packed competitive moment. That moment for some people is earlier than others, for example leading heading into the 3rd round of a tournament might be when their stress triggers are activated, for others, it might be once they see their name on top of the leaderboard with 9 holes to go. For club golfers, these stress triggers are many and varied, 1st tee nerves, getting 3 up on their HCP or playing with a low marker, yet all of these stress triggers will be as detrimental to their performance. If they haven’t specifically prepared for these moments and built the necessary dominant patterns to withstand these stress triggers, then they will struggle to perform near their best under these important competitive moments.
If you ever feel like your game consistently goes missing when under the competitive stress, take a close look at what mental/emotional patterns you feel are not supporting your performance, begin to seek out the right strategies and processes that will help you to perform at your best under any stressful competitive situation.
A great example of the benefits that come from building a practice plan and processes/patterns that YOU need to activate over the back nine came from last weeks Rocco Forte Open on the European Tour. Lucas Herbert was putting together a solid tournament, shooting a -5 in the 3rd round to slip inside the Top 20 and give himself chance to play himself into another Top 10 on the European Tour.
As Sunday's Final Round began to unfold, Herby found himself closing in on the leaders and starting to feel that competitive adrenalin kick in. Herby birdied the 15th and 17th holes to get to -7 for the day and 2 shots back from the leaders. After he pumped a drive down 18, standing over his approach shot into the 18th and possibly one of the biggest occasions of his Pro Career, Herby noticed the following thought float up before he pulled the trigger-
I stood over the shot on 18 and thought 'there is nothing I would do differently to have prepared for this moment’
Herby proceeded to hit a great iron shot to approximately 10ft, then rolling the putt in dead centre to shoot -8 63 and finish 1 shot outside the playoff in T3, equalling his best result on the European Tour .
When Herby mentioned this to me during our Post Tournament de-brief, I knew that we had built a great recipe within both his practice plan and processes. The big key now is to stay consistent and committed to this plan over the next 6 weeks in preparation for the British Open.
Do you know what ingredients make up your recipe for success?