Karl Morris: Change your negative golf attitude

Golf Tips

Why you should start remembering your good moments too..

Do you have a positive golf attitude?

A short while ago I completed my Mind Factor course which I run once a year, every year in Manchester for players and coaches who wish to improve their game.

It was great to be involved with such a diverse and wide ranging group of people, with the likes of European Tour stars such as Phil Archer, Olivier, who is a French fighter pilot and a golfing nut, Nick Middleton, the inventor of the Green Stage, and Dave O’Sullivan, one of the best physios in professional sport.

The group interacted fantastically well with a common goal of game improvement and a willingness to share information and experiences. It is something that as golfers we don’t do enough of.

It is very easy to become cocooned in our own little world and lose the opportunity to share and develop by learning from other people’s successes and challenges.

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 3: Augusto Nunez of Argentina reacts to missing a putt on the ninth hole during the third round of the Shell Championship at the International Links Melreese Country on December 3, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

A couple of key themes emerged from the course, most notably developing our ability to use time more efficiently. Not just time as in hours and minutes in the day but time as we perceive it as human beings.

As far as I am aware we are the only creatures roaming the earth who have the capability to look back on the past and also the ability to imagine and create a potential future.

This is a tremendous skill to have but unfortunately it’s one we don’t tend to use well. How often do we actually take the time to look back on what we did well? How often do we spend time remembering the occasions when we performed close to our potential?

It is almost as if we are hard-wired to look back with a pessimistic and overly critical lens. Even a player who shoots a sub-par round will often say “yes it was a good score BUT…..if only I hadn’t taken a double on the 16th or if only I hadn’t had that couple of three putts!”.

TARRAGONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 30: Kevin McGivern of Mannan Castle Golf Club reacts as he misses his putt on the 16th green during the Golfplan Insurance PGA Pro-Captain Challenge - Day One at Lumine Golf & Beach Resort on November 30, 2016 in Tarragona, Spain. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

The past can be a fertile ground for breeding the successes of the future. I am not for one minute saying we should live in some kind of Pollyanna state and ignore all our mistakes but to look back and review in detail the things we do well can build a tremendous sense of what could be possible in the future.

For many years I have had some of the players I work with complete what I call the ‘three shot diary’. At the end of a round when you get home, instead of dwelling on the mistakes, write out in detail the three best shots you hit that day. They will be in there somewhere!

As you write out those three good shots you are vividly recalling the experience and making the memory trace much stronger. Whatever we recall, we rehearse – this is a very important phrase to remember.

It makes so much more sense to recall and rehearse the parts of your game you performed well as opposed to those you didn’t. I am not saying ignore your faults – you need to work on some of the weaker parts of your game – but by recalling your successes you begin to build a stronger sense of belief of what the future could hold.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - DECEMBER 02: Tiger Woods of the United States celebrates a birdie putt on the 16th green during round two of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, The Bahamas on December 2, 2016 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By writing these experiences down you then have evidence of what you are truly capable of. The irony of it is, when we play bad golf and we are on a bad run we think we have never played well. The three-shot diary is a reminder you can and you have played this game well.

So just become more aware of how in your mind you utilise the concept of time. Make a promise to yourself that you are going to dwell a little bit more on the good stuff from the past and build a powerful sense of what could be possible in the future.

By doing this it also has the potential to inspire you to work on the parts of your game that could be better. A compelling future tends to make us far more proactive in the present.

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