Justin Rose offered some fascinating insight into how he copes when he's not playing well. And there is plenty we can learn from it
Anyone who has ever picked up a club knows the level of frustration that can build from playing golf. Even those who haven’t will have probably had to listen to sorry tales from someone they know at some point. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the game or a total beginner, golf wins more often than not. So how do you limit the damage when things aren’t going to plan? You could do worse than follow the example of former World No. 1 Justin Rose.
How @JustinRose99 copes when struggling…
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 11, 2019
I know as well as any the mental battle that ensues each time you step on the course. Having first struck a ball at the age of seven, I’ve experienced my fair share of struggles. That’s why I find it so interesting when the best players in the world give a little insight into what they do to arrest a slide.
So I’m going to break down in a little more depth some of the techniques described by Rose following his second round at the Italian Open.
Justin Rose mental strategies: Break the round up into chunks
This technique was first introduced to me four or five years ago and involves breaking your round up into smaller ‘chunks’. I don’t know how Rose does it but I’ll pass on the advice I was given.
The task of compiling 18 good holes can seem like a daunting one at the best of times, but especially when you’re not quite on your game. In order to alleviate some of this strain, try playing in six groups of three. Start each new three hole stretch at even par and depending on the level you’re at, set yourself a realistic goal.
But here’s the important bit: Whether you achieve it or not, once it’s done, reset completely and go again.
Over time this will ensure your attention has a much narrower focus and will allow you to rid your mind of any negativity that’s come before.
Justin Rose mental strategies: Matchplay challenge against the course
Like the previous technique, you can use this from the start but it’s probably better suited for when things have started to get away from you.
Break the monotony of strokeplay and set yourself a matchplay challenge against the scorecard. Again, make sure it’s realistic to your ability.
For example, if you’re following Justin’s lead and trying to win from 3-down with eight to play, take your handicap into account and give yourself a fighting chance of making the comeback.
This is a great way to break up the remainder of the round and focus your mind on one hole at a time. Who knows? It may even save you the agony of a handicap increase. It’s one I’ll be trying next time I’ve got a card in my hand.
If you’re struggling with the enormity of the 18-hole task or you need something to ignite your round, take some inspiration from Rose and give these a go.
However, I must stress the need for patience. Adopting a new mental strategy, like making a technical change, requires a degree of dedication and persistence.
And like a swing change, if implemented properly, you’ll reap the rewards.
Do you have any mental strategies? Let me know in the comments or tweet me.