I worked with a golfer as she was playing a round of golf just a couple weeks ago. I had discovered that whenever she stood over a shot, she immediately focused on the trouble in front of her. She focused in on the out of bounds, on the sand trap in the fairway, the lake just in front of and to the right of the tee. Her focus was on all of the places that she did not want to hit the shot. Never did she settle in and pick and aim at a small target that she wanted to hit the shot to. Due to this constant negative perspective her game had deteriorated to such a point that she could not shoot even a respectable score. This is a golfer that up to this point had consistently shot in the 70’s.
Along with the focus on all the trouble in front of her, she was also visualizing the shot slicing to the right or hooking to the left — always out of the fairway and into the trouble areas of the course.
During her next round, I walked the 18 holes with her and spoke with her on each and every shot — discussing the shot and the best approach to playing it along with a strong emphasis on focusing on and swinging to her target. She had to clear her mind of any thought or image of the different trouble areas in front of her and stay focused on her target. This focus put her in the present with no thought of the outcome — her only job was to hit the ball to her target with a smooth, effortless swing. For example, if she made a double bogey, her very next thought as she stepped on the next tee was “What is my target?”
By changing her thoughts and focusing on only the present shot, she was able to shoot one of the best rounds of the season, comfortably back in the 70’s. It is vital, if you are going to take your game to the next level, to work on your thinking and focus in the present moment.