I find myself talking to people a lot about the impact their attitude can have on their game. I’ve even touched on it a few times in my columns. Recently I had what I think was my most memorable “attitude conversation” ever.
I was visiting with a group of our less experienced golfers when one of them asked me how I played a particular hole where the 2nd shot requires a carry over about 130 yards of water. There was absolute silence – 6 men focused on me waiting to hear the magic of playing this shot – the key, the secret of getting a golf ball to stay airborne over such a great expanse of water.
I told them, “First take plenty of club and swing smooth, because short is wet and long is dry, take a big enough gun to get the job done”. I went on to explain how I visualized the smooth swing, the flight of the ball arching over the lake with a slight draw, landing on the green to the right of the hole and taking one hop and then spinning back and left towards the hole. They were speechless, captivated, as though I was describing a beautiful woman – which I guess in a sense, I was.
In an effort to break the resulting silence, I asked them what they thought of when they played the hole. Well, they all stammered as though that beautiful woman had come over and tried to strike up a conversation with them. I said, “Let me guess. You get up to your shot and you visualize it something like this: You have checked the yardage and take the club that, if hit perfectly, will get you there. You visualize a powerful swing, the ball flying towards the hole, and then it skips 2, no, 3 times on the lake before it sinks out of sight. And, that’s pretty much how your shot goes, right?”
Now they are really speechless!! Having never played with most of them, I somehow knew their thought process and how they actually played. They knew the ball was going to end up in the lake. They just weren’t sure exactly what part of the lake.
The next day I met them all on the practice tee. I had them take their 150 yard club and hit a few shots. Long, high, straight, beautiful. When I had them visualize the lake starting at the end of the tee extending to a hill about 130 yards away, they suddenly had trouble getting the ball in the air. I assured them water has no effect on a golf ball in the air, so they should use their normal swing rather than trying to lift the ball over the lake. Since then, they are all playing the hole with much more success. And, one of the players who had never cleared the lake has done so 4 out of the last 5 rounds.
If you’re having trouble getting your mental game into shape, have your golf coach give you a few tips to improve your thought process. You may find your problems are not coming from your swing after all!
Kim Anders is Director of Golf at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at Kanders@estrelladelmar.com or call 1.888.587.0609, Ext. 3010. Find out more about the golf resort by visiting www.estrelladelmar.com.