Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How To Game Plan For Your Next Round

"How To Game Plan For Your Next Round"
By Sean Mysel - "CrossGolfDude"

Sunday a record television audience watched as Kyle Williams became the poster child for football fan tirades due to his two fumbles in the NFC Championship game.  People scoff and jest at Williams' expense because of the two gaffes and cannot understand how he could have possibly made two critical errors.  But it happens and happens to a lot of people.  Many golf fans might remember this video:

Coverage by Sentanta Golf

Two epic collapses in two completely different sports but with one common denominator.  Did each athlete plan their course of action before engaging the critical moment?  On a few of Williams' returns, he looked unsure of whether he was going to catch the ball and run or let it go.  Van de Velde didn't adapt his game plan when he had the Claret Jug seemingly in his grip.  For this post, we need to look at how we attack a golf course.  Too often we approach each round based on the idea that each shot will be struck perfectly and on line.  But what do we do when it doesn't happen?  Could we play a safer game and lower our scores?

Recently, I read Dr. Bob Rotella's "Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect" where he discusses the mental aspects of playing golf.  Rotella interviews golfers of all skill and ability levels to see how their mind works when playing at the highest levels.  In one of his chapters, Rotella talks about scripting your game before you hit the golf course.  This is something I believe can help many golfers when they encounter situations they might normally dread.  What this means is to dissect the golf course by each shot and planning accordingly.  For instance, when we get to that par 3 where we have water on the front and right, bunkers on the left and a bailout area in between...what is our strategy?

Imagine now if the 49ers special teams coach, and perhaps this did happen pulls young Kyle Williams aside and says , "Ok, you only catch this punt if you don't have to move for it, otherwise let it bounce!"  Williams goes out on the field and instead of diving at punts, getting near them and running them back only to fumble, Williams sees he can't stay stationary and lets the ball fall harmlessly to ground while he moves away.  Or van de Velde who had a huge lead on Paul Lawrie at 1999 British Open says and I'm sorry I don't speak French, "Ok, it's a par 5, I'm going to hit 5 iron, lay up with another iron, pitch it into the green and give myself three putts for the win."  As Rotella talks about, you play cocky, but swing aggressively knowing you've already planned out the troubles in your swing.

Try doing this, say your first hole is a par 5 with bunkers about 260 yards out on both sides, decide to play a three wood short of them, pick a spot to lay up and go after the pin.  A birdie done with a layup is the same as a birdie where you hit the green in two and two putt.  Even PGA pros don't score tons of eagles, but they do know their limitations and how to manage them.

If you haven't checked out Dr. Rotella's books or website, you can go here:  http://www.practicelikeapro.com/Dr._Bob_Rotella.php

For more information or questions on the mental game you can see us at www.crossgolfpros.com