Golf Mind Play: Trusting your Gut Instinct

By: Tracy Tresidder

Are you listening to your instincts?

Accomplished golfers regularly rely on their instincts and play their shots accordingly. An old adage states that in any given situation, your first instinct is usually the right one. We have all experienced making a decision that result in failure, and in retrospect realised that we ignored our "gut feeling". It is human nature and is often acknowledged by saying, "I knew I was going to do that!" Instincts come from knowing deep down inside what your true capabilities are. Second guessing your first instinct or doubting your "gut feeling" is usually signalled by a moment of hesitation and when uncertainty begins to take over the mind. When a player experiences indecisiveness, it is difficult to mentally prepare for the shot and the player's flow and swing mechanics are affected. For example, you are walking up to your ball with a club that you've chosen, and then find yourself second guessing your club choice while addressing the ball. With hesitation, you switch clubs, but before swinging the club, you question whether you made the right choice. Meanwhile, you're uncomfortable with your decision and it has caused doubt to enter your mind, and consequently you hit a poor shot. Sound familiar? A common first reaction is to blame the poor shot on the club choice, under the assumption that sticking with the original club would have resulted in a better shot. Although it is a very common mistake, it's unlikely that the club choice in this scenario is to blame for the poor shot.

What causes the poor shot in these situations is the pervading uncertainty that distracts the player while addressing the ball. Either club may have been a reasonable choice, but a lack of confidence while swinging the club will cause you to hit the ball ineffectively. By trusting your primary instincts, or intuition, you can make decisions with confidence. If you can learn to listen to your gut instinct and react accordingly, you will make better predictions and know what to expect rather than taking chances and hoping for the best.

Are you taking unnecessary risks?

Take care not to go for the "hero" shot when the risk reward ratio is high. If you are contemplating a shot that, realistically, is out of your capability it is better to take on a shot that you are confident you can execute. Believe in your own abilities. Self-doubt will only weaken your capacity to focus and perform. You know what works for you; don't let a temporary lack of self-confidence affect what you have originally planned for a shot. Of course, that is not to say that you can never change clubs, it just means when you do, be confident that you made the correct choice and don't doubt the reasoning behind your decision. Once you've made that choice, stick with it and rest assured that it will work for you.

Tips

1.Listen to your instincts. Second guessing yourself will lead to poor shots because doubt divides the mind, disabling your ability to focus.

2.Be confident with your choices, stick with them and rest assured that they will work for you. A temporary lack of self-confidence can affect what you had originally planned for a shot.

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