Control Golf Emotions like a Major Champion
Golf is a game of emotions. If is difficult for any golfer to stay calm after a double-bogey or four-putting a hole. Some golfers even experience that urge to throw their club far as possible after a bad hole.
Many athletes try to control golf emotions but, in reality, it is often very hard. It’s quite normal to experience an array of emotions on the golfer course. The trick to success is to manage those emotions to the point where you can keep your head in the game.
Jason Day, winner of the 2015 RBC Canadian Open, knows about the importance of effective emotional management and how this can translate into success on the golf course. Jason turned professional in 2006 and won his first PGA Tour win in 2010 (HP Byron Nelson Championship). After his 2010 victory, Jason experienced a string of frustrating second-place finishes.
It wasn’t until 2014 that Jason won his second PGA Tournament. Jason has continued his successful tournament run in 2015 by winning the Farmers Insurance Open and RBC Canadian Open, and recently his first major the 97th PGA championship.
After the RBC Canadian Open, Jason talked about the highs and lows of golf and provided advice to young golfers trying to breakthrough to that next level
JASON DAY: “Yeah, highs and lows. You want to try to keep it as neutral as possible… [Losing control] is an easy way to kind of kick yourself out of the tournament, get frustrated, and start throwing clubs and all that stuff… It’s never the time to do anything like that because you’re never out of the fight… Don’t quit. Just never stop. Even though it can be tough at times, give it a hundred percent… But never get frustrated with yourself. Always learn from the downtimes.”
Jason has some great insight into the game of golf and remaining emotional neutral.
First, understand their will be ups and downs. That’s not to say expect the worst and hope for the best; it’s more a matter of having realistic expectations.
Second, continue to fight but know that you cannot fight effectively when you give into negative emotions. During a round of golf, there are always opportunities to improve your score if you stay poised.
Lastly, learn from bad shots. Giving into frustrations eliminates all learning and prevents you from breaking through to the next level.
When practicing your golf game, commit to developing your skills of emotional management.
If you hit a bad shot, you want to try to return quickly to a neutral emotional state.
Here a few practice drills for you to practice over he coming weeks.
One simple tip to help you stay emotionally neutral is to take a step back and imaging someone else has played the poor shot. Practice doing this for 6 holes.
Another tip is to practice being completely objective about your poor shots. Simply describe what happened to the ball in a totally unemotional way. In doing this you prevent your mind and emotions from going into a negative response. Practice this drill for 6-9 holes.
Believe it or not, emotional reactions are habits, so by creating new post shot habits, you can shape your response to bad shots.