Inside the Inner Game of Golf.
Finn Havaleschka Focused Golf Inside the Inner Game of Golf Focused Golf Inside the Inner Game of Golf Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 2 Focused Golf © Finn Havaleschka. The models and methods contained in this publication are copyrighted and may not be used or reproduced without the prior written permission of the author. Illustrations: Morten Ingemann Graphic: Garuda Research Institute Printer: Børge Møllers Grafiske Hus Front page photo: Mike Kemp, Getty Images st st 1 edition, 1 impression June 2008 ISBN 978-87-983165-5-8 (EAN 9788798316558) Published by: Garuda Forlag Voldbjergvej 16A 8240 Risskov Denmark +45 8746 8600 E-mail: email@example.com www.garudahr.com www.mental-scorecard.com Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 3 Contents Introduction 1. Focused Golf Four types of golf and golfers 2. Gray Rounds The Baser Golfer The Baser Golfer’s Contingency Plans 3. Red Rounds The Results Golfer The Results Golfer’s Contingency Plans 4. Blue Rounds The Integrator Golfer The Integrator Golfer’s Contingency Plans 5. Green Rounds The Development Golfer The Development Golfer’s Contingency Plans 6. Putting Yourself in the Center Choose your Focus Your Energy Converter 7. The Mental Scorecard™ 8. Examples of Focused Golf Rounds Focusing on Intuition Focusing on the Sweet Spot Focusing on the Line Three-Focus Rounds 9. Conclusion 10. Mental Scorecards Scorecard for Grey golfer Scorecard for Red golfers Scorecard for Blue golfers Scorecard for Green golfers Golf Profile Tests 5 6 12 19 27 35 42 46 49 54 56 64 Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 4 Introduction We all know that it is not just physique and technique that determines how far you can take your golf. It is just as much about your ability to find and execute optimal solutions, when you are under pressure. That is where the mental part of the game begins. The ability to play your best under pressure will not come simply by telling yourself not to be nervous. Just as the prerequisite for developing a great golf swing is practice, the same applies to developing a good golf mentality. The mental part of the game also requires training; hence, we call it Mental Training. I like to emphasize that there is nothing mysterious about mental training. It is not about revealing deep-seated psychological issues or sitting in a lotus position and meditating. On the contrary - the exercises are quite practical, interesting and enlightening. What you learn here can be applied to many other areas of your life; in any situation where the ability to keep calm and make optimal decisions under pressure makes a difference. I wish you great progress and pleasure with your golf. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 5 Chapter 1 Focused Golf How you play golf, the decisions you make and the goals you set are aspects of your personality. Your strengths and weaknesses with regard to getting the best from your technical and physical abilities are a consequence of your personality. However, there are billions of personalities so we need to simplify matters. For this reason, we have divided golfers into 4 personality types. The first type I call the Baser Golfer. This is the more careful player, who rarely makes a decision out on the course that he is not sure he is capable of carrying out. The opposite applies to more risk disposed people, who often take a chance and fire away at the ball. This type I call the Results Golfer. A third type is the Integrator Golfer, who is the social person whose decisions is somewhat dependent on the expectations he believes that others have of him. The final type is the Development Golfer. This is the creative type, who cannot help but experiment with various strokes. They often try out new ideas in an attempt to get themselves out of trouble.1 My contention is that for 99 out of 100 golfers, no matter what their level, most of the rounds they play do not improve their game. Most rounds do not help bring you up to a new level; they just give you some experience that allows you to maintain your game at the same level. In order to improve your game you need to be able to play all four of the aforementioned types of golf. Sometimes the situation requires a security oriented and safe approach, sometime you need to take a chance, sometimes you need to try out something new and sometimes you need to free yourself from the pressure of other people’s expectations – making independent choices. But if your personality leans toward result oriented golf, you will always be ready to take chances, hit it hard and long, even in situa1. Baser Golfer is a self-made term. The idea is to make you think of something basic, the basement, the foundation, all of which have to be in place in order to build a solid swing. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 6 tions where, objectively evaluated, it would be wiser to choose a more security oriented strategy. And, if your personality leans toward safe decisions, you will always be careful and make safe choices on the course, even if you could benefit from a more risk-taking, result-oriented strategy. To improve your game you need to be aware of your normal game style, and you need to learn to change your approach from one to another of the four types of golf. That is, to learn to choose the approach that gives you the optimal result considering the situation. We didn’t miss that short putt because of a lack of physical ability or technique, but because of insufficient control over our emotional and mental resources. And we didn’t score that double bogey because of lack of skills, but because we chose to tee off with the driver. Mental training is about learning to use our emotional and mental resources to help ourselves do what we need to do to make the best possible score. When you start a round of golf, perhaps you have an idea that you want to test a certain technique, to practice keeping your left foot planted firmly on the ground during the swing, for example. After two or three holes, however, you forget to do it because things are going well; you are starting to score, and everything is coming up roses. But then comes a downturn. A triple bogey at the next hole brings you right down to earth again with a thump. Circumstances have moved you from one type of golf to another. You forgot your focus and left it to your instinct to decide what to do. This is the area in which we can make the greatest gain with the least amount of effort. I believe that the unconscious mixing of different types of golf is the reason why most rounds you play do not improve your golf game and do not help raise your skill to new levels. What we focus on and the way we perceive, approach and tackle different situations is very much determined by our personality and temperament. Therefore, your starting point is the Golf Profile, a questionnaire designed to map your type, your approach to the game. You can find the Golf Profile questionnaire at the back of the book. Before you read any further, I recommend that you fill out this questionnaire and find your Golf Profile. Once you have done that, then we’ll start. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 7 Four types of golf and golfers Golf is about playing the ball as it lies and the course as you find it. Your job is to adjust your approach to the situation, taking the lie, the course and your skills into consideration. You cannot pretend the ball is on the fairway if it is in the rough. Therefore you cannot take a 3-wood and hit it over the hazard 200 yards away, at least not with any substantial degree of security. But many try anyway. They want to win, they want to score. Therefore they let their instinct decide for them. That’s our mentality, that’s not something we are focused on, or think we can do anything about. But it sure is! You can win more, lower your score and have more fun, by learning to focus on the mental part of the game. You not only have to take the lie and the course into consideration, you also need to consider your mentality, your instinct – the mental part of you. The fun thing is, you cannot change or control the lie and the course. The only thing you can control is yourself. You can take out the driver knowing that only in 1 out of 3 times, you will be able to hit a perfect shot and experience the fantastic feeling of self-realization when you do. That’s the short term satisfaction. But you also know that 2 out of 3 times, you will end up with a double bogey or worse and ruin your chance to win the match or lower your handicap. It’s a choice between short-term satisfaction and long-term satisfaction, one perfect round. Which do you prefer? A solid round in your handicap or lower that you can enjoy thinking of for weeks, or a perfect drive on hole 3 followed by a poor shot on hole 4 leaving you with a triple bogey? To help you focus on the mental side of the game, Focused Golf is divided up into processes of four different types. You should become familiar with these so that you are always conscious of what kind of golf you’re playing, so that it is not chance, not your score, not other people’s expectations, and not your sense of ego that determines the choices you make. In reality, you can choose to walk four different rounds, each of which will allow you to develop and integrate four different and highly crucial mental elements of your golf game. Basically, you can choose between a Gray, Red, Blue or Green round. The most important thing is for you to always be aware of which focus area you are in. Do not let factors, such as your scores or the reactions of the people you’re playing with determine what you focus on, what you do and thus what you learn and especially what humor it puts you in. To make you more aware of what you want to focus on and of what you are doing, you can use the illustration in Figure 1.1. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 8 Figure 1.1 The Four Focus Areas for Golfers The model in the diagram and the key words in the four fields illustrate the four focus areas that represent the four types of rounds: Gray, Red, Blue and Green. The key words also characterize the four different types of personalities players have. Most of us are usually highly focused on one or two of these four areas, with a lack of focus on the others. Some people are even clearly focused in a negative way on one or two of the areas. However – and this is the whole point – if you want to improve your golf, both with respect to handicap and the pleasure you get out of the game, then you will have to learn to focus equally, and in a positive way, on all four areas, and to change your focus deliberately, depending on the situation, so that you make optimal choices. Players who learn to make conscious shifts from one focus area to another will be better able to handle some important mental aspects of the game. On balance, that will result in a lower score and – what is equally important – more happy hours playing golf. Let me give you a brief description of the four types of golf. Gray rounds are primarily played by Baser golfers. Gray golf is about focusing on technique, grip, swing and pre-shot routines – all the basic things you need to play golf at the desired level. A Baser golfer is typically a thorough and careful player who takes his time, keeps his temper under control and is on top of the details. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 9 The self-controlled, detail and security oriented golfer. Red rounds are primarily played by Results golfers. Red golf is about focusing on results. The objective here is to score, hit farther and be better than everyone else. A Results golfer hates to lose and is typically quick to make decisions, impatient and willing to take risks. The risk willing, impatient and result oriented golfer. Blue rounds are primarily played by Integrator golfers. Blue golf has to do with the social and mental aspect of the game and how we react to the reactions and expectations of others, when we are up or down. Integrator golfers are usually highly aware of and sensitive to the behavior of other people. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 10 The social, adaptive and sensitive golfer. Green rounds are primarily played by Development golfers. Green golf focuses on experimenting, testing the limits of what you can and can’t do with the little white ball. Development golfers are typically visionary and imaginative. Even a very simple shot can be executed in many different ways. The playful, creative and easy going golfer. In the next few chapters, I will present a systematic description of each type of round. After an explanation of what characterizes each type of round, there will be a description of a typical golfer who plays that kind of golf. The main purpose is to make it possible for you to identify the type of golfer you most often are, and thereby make you much more aware of the choices you make on the golf course and, equally important, the choices you very seldom make because they are not a part of your personality. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 11 Chapter 2 Gray Rounds Gray rounds of golf are about focusing on the basics, on what is fundamentally necessary – at a purely technical level – for you to get the ball to go where you want it to go. This means that Gray rounds have to do with being systematic, trying to do things consistently; repeat the same swing, follow a game plan, make well-thought-out decisions, and carry out – or, in the beginning, learn – some effective pre-shot routines. The better player records statistics, such as scores, fairways hit, greens hit in regulation and the number of putts, so that he can get an idea of what he should target in his training and during the next few rounds. This also tells you what Gray rounds are not. Gray rounds are not about experimenting or about socializing and making small talk or taking risks. For some people, this method of tackling, viewing, living and playing golf is a wholly natural part of their personality. Let’s take a closer look at the Baser corner of our golf diagram in Figure 2.1. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 12 Figure 2.1 The Baser Corner The Baser corner is where you learn the basics of what will bring you closer to your next golf goal. As you can see from the key words in the diagram, this kind of golf has to do with reflection, being systematic, taking your time, making and following a game plan, practicing and performing pre-shot routines. Some of these things are pure technique; others have more to do with attitude and the mental side of the game. However, these two aspects go hand in hand. The Baser Golfer The profile in Figure 2.2 is that of a male golfer with a very clear Baser focus. He is now a teaching pro. Formerly, he played on the Challenge Tour but didn’t make it to the European Tour. Figure 2.2. The Focus Areas the Baser Golfer Chooses This is how to read the diagram. The more the profile goes into a corner the more the golfer focuses on the type of golf described by the key words in that corner. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 13 The key words in the Gray corner of the diagram show what he focuses on when he practices and plays, such as planning, making statistics, having a game plan, preparing thoroughly, being systematic and taking his time to be sure. These are definitely some of his strengths; a sharp focus on the technical side and on being systematic and thinking things through – being in control. He can work on his technique for hours, learning every little physical detail of his swing, stance and grip, and perfecting his swing this way. When our Baser golfer gets to the course he thinks carefully about what he is going to do, and he takes the time he needs to prepare and carry out his pre-shot routines. Nothing is left to chance. However, what happens during a round if his technique isn’t working? Or if his fellow players start getting irritated at the way he plays: the time he takes to read a putt, re-peat his practice swing and change irons in the middle of it all? To answer this question, we must look at the aspects of the other focus areas that he does not choose. See Figure 2.3. Figure 2.3 The Focus Areas the Baser Golfer Rejects The key words in this diagram illustrate what the golfer does not focus on when playing. Note the key words in the Blue corner. Social adjustment, avoiding conflicts, cheering up, being positive etc. are not things that are in his focuses when he plays. In the Red corner, you can see that he also rejects risk-taking and playing fast. Looking at the Development corner, it is clear that he is not an impatient person who seeks variation, exchanging ideas, receiving advices, or trying new things. He wants to do things his own way. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 14 Our Golf Profile software contains a simulation model with which, using the golfer’s answers to the questions in the questionnaire, we can try to predict what will happen if he comes under pressure. For every action, there is a reaction. Clearly, this golfer will react to pressure, as most Baser golfers do, by holding on even tighter to his routines and playing style. In other words, he will move even further out into the Baser corner, becoming even more systematic and thorough, and thus exposing himself to an even greater pressure; mental pressure, which makes it even more difficult for him to get his technique and mental pre-shot routines to work. In other words, he initiates a negative spiral. When things go in accordance with his plans and expectations, the Baser approach is his strength, but when this approach doesn’t seem to work for him, he becomes even more Baser oriented. All of his strengths turn into weaknesses. You can see in Figure 2.4 what happens when we run our simulation model. The kiteshaped area bounded by a thin line is the normal profile of our Baser golfer. The area outlined by the thicker line is his profile when he is under pressure. This shows that when he comes under pressure, when things start to fall apart, then he focuses even more on his technique, on his game plan, on being systematic, on his pre-shot routines, etc. You have probably met this type; the more pressure he is under, the longer it takes him to read the line. Figure 2.4 The Baser Golfer Under Pressure Once you are way out in a corner, your chances of straightening anything out are very Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 15 slim. Unfortunately, most of us get caught in the trap of automatic thinking. What are the alternatives? Well, one is changing your approach and focus, of course, but that’s easier said than done, especially for our Baser golfer, who already has negative scores in the three other focus areas. To get out of his misery, he could choose to move down into the Red corner: play faster, stop thinking so much, take some chances, let go of his technique, and just fire away. Or he could go up into the Blue corner, accept what other people think about his striving for perfection. He could face it with a positive attitude and say, “Okay, I accept that you think I’m slow and I’ll try to get better at playing faster. I’ll do my best, but don’t expect any miracles!” Another option is for him to move up into the Green corner and play Green golf; accept that things are not going well, that his technique seems to be out of tune right now, and that his score is not going to be as good as he had hoped. Then he could begin experimenting: moving the ball a bit forward in his stance, a little more wrist action… or just take a shot. The point is that changing focus might be the best way to get back on track. Or to put it another way; he is unlikely to solve the problem and get back on track, by the use of the same method, the same approach, the same way of thinking, that de-railed him in the first place. What should this player do to learn how to shift his focus deliberately? We don’t change our personalities on command or because we are under pressure. The only thing we can do is modify our behavior. The most basic prerequisite for being able to do just that is to have a plan for what that alternative form of action could be, what we could choose to focus on instead, and how. It is actually quite simple: Unless you have first visualized something in your own mind, you will not be able to carry it out consciously on a practical level in the physical world. In other words, if you do not become aware of what your perceptions are before you react, then your reactions will be automatic ones, reactions that you will repeat over and over again without even thinking – much less have any kind of control over. So, if you do not want to be pushed all the way into the Gray corner, you will have to have alternative patterns of action devised in advance, contingency plans. Baser golfers need at least one of three possible contingency plans; a Red one, a Blue one or a Green one. Probably the most important is the red. The Baser Golfer’s Contingency Plan For the Baser golfer, the Red contingency plan is about playing faster: not thinking so Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 16 much, taking some chances. Allow technique to remain just that, and simply follow your intuition and let the body do the work without the interference of the analytical left brain thinking. Be more ambitious; go for a green or landing area you wouldn’t normally try to hit. It is vital that your plan be about speed, shortening routines, taking chances and being ambitious. Imagining your plan should be like running a movie in your head, a movie in which you cut half your pre-shot routines out: you put the tee in the ground, place the ball on it, identify your landing area and hit the ball. However, you have to practice it before you can deliberately do it, and before that, you have to do it, see it, and feel it mentally – in your head. Your contingency plan has to be programmed mentally in advance. It is your alternative, when things are not going in accordance with your plan and ambitions. Mental training is simply a matter of programming alternatives to your usual choices. You can do most of the mental training you need to on your couch at home and in your car on the way to the golf course. All you have to do is choose to do it, and do it systematically. Remember that when you use your mental contingency plan on the course, during a round, you have also made a psychological contract with yourself about why you are doing it, which means you have already accepted the consequences of your decision. I mean, you cannot expect to be successful the very first time you try to execute your alternatives. If you accept that, then you are over the worst hurdle. What can happen? If you score a triple bogey because you took a chance or played a little fast, it’s no disaster, but if it goes well, it may well bring you back on track. Figure 2.5 The Baser Golfer’s Alternative Focus Areas The little Head-Heart-Leg™ figure in the corner symbolizes: • Head - the way we approach problems • Heart - the way we relate to other people • Legs - the way we realize our ideas and create results Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 17 Figure 2.5 illustrates the three alternatives to Baser golf. Make a mental picture of the model and next time you are in trouble on the golf course, or anywhere else for that matter, recall the alternatives, recall some of the key words, and ask yourself if some of them represent a solution, an alternative, to your normal way of solving the problem. Remember; you have to have it in your mind before you can execute it in the physical world. The tool to help you learn to do this is The Mental Scorecard™ that I will present to you in chapter 7. In the Scorecard, you define and describe your alternatives, pre-shot routines, fast play, taking chances, et cetera, and by practicing these alternatives mentally and during practice rounds, following the Scorecard, you will learn to initiate alternative actions, stay focused and play under pressure, even when things are not going your way. As you read this section of the book, about Baser golf, you are probably thinking of some of the Baser Golfers that you recognize. One of the most absolute Baser golfers I can think of is Bernhard Langer. Bernhard Langer: A perfect model for Grey golf BMW International, 2007 Bernhard Langer is an extremely successful Baser golfer. He doesn’t count lengths in whole yards, but in half and quarter yards. He doesn’t change the swing weights in his irons in grams, but milligrams. Langer is known for his elaborate planning and his attention to detail. He has to be under terrific pressure before he tries anything that he is not sure he can accomplish. This does not mean that Langer can’t handle the three other mental elements, that he can’t also play Red, Blue and Green golf. Of course he can, and at a far higher level than most. It simply means that Baser golf is his dominant style. Think of Langer if you have difficulty moving into the Baser corner. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 18 Chapter 3 Red Rounds Red rounds are about focusing on obtaining the best possible score at each hole, while accepting the risk and consequences of a disastrous score. It’s about setting high goals – being ambitious, making quick decisions and playing fast. If you have made a birdie just once at a particular hole, red golf is about pursuing a birdie every time you play the hole, even if it means that you have to take chances and try out something you know you can only do one time out of ten. This also tells you what Red rounds are not. Red rounds are not about deep thinking and analyzing. It’s about following your hunting instinct, not thinking too much about what other players think of your style, decisions and play. And it’s not about focusing on techniques. The mental attitude should be: Grip the stick and swing the thing the way you instinctively feel is right for you – at this moment. If you are not a red player by nature, this approach can be difficult for you to execute, and if you are a red player, you certainly need some alternatives to keep you on track or to get you back on track. Both ways requires mental training. Let’s take a look at the Result corner of our golf diagram in Figure 3.1. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 19 Figure 3.1 The Results Corner The purpose of Red golf rounds is to set high goals for yourself, to target these goals and to allow yourself to have ambitions. Results golfers concentrate a great deal on their physique, using their muscles, hitting hard, movement and tempo. From the key words in Figure 3.1 you can see that Red golf is about a Devilmay-care attitude, having ambitions, setting high goals, accepting uncertainties and playing fast. The problem with starting a round with a results-oriented attitude is in accepting that you aren’t going to get consistent scores for all 18 holes. Most of us push a bit too hard sometimes and instead of accepting a bad result, we try to hit even harder, and the whole thing goes down the drain. There are just as many ways to react to this as there are people, but there are generally a few patterns. Maybe you get cranky, snap at other people, isolate yourself, or pretend you don’t care. Another reaction could be to start experimenting with your stroke, since you aren’t going to get anything out of this round anyway. That releases you from any obligations, and then you won’t disappoint yourself. A third pattern is to decide to look at the humor in the situation. You become more social, joke around a bit, and primarily concentrate on having a good time. You know best how you react. Red rounds are designed to allow us to put pressure on ourselves. If you start out the round with that attitude, it is much easier to forgive yourself if it doesn’t work, and then you can learn something from it instead. Probably the most sensible option for the Red golfer is to decide that you are going to concentrate on getting the basics down pat: no more experiments, no more pressure, no aiming to get the ball over the pond, etc. That is, to learn to play Grey golf when you choose to, not letting your instincts decide for you. Let’s take a closer look at a Result golfer. The Results Golfer The profile in Figure 3.2 is of a male golfer in his early 30s. He has been playing golf for 2 years and currently has a handicap of about 15. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 20 Figure 3.2 The Focus Areas the Results Golfer Chooses As you can see from the key words in his profile, this is a goal-oriented, impatient player who is willing to take risks. He is energetic, ambitious and not afraid to experiment and test things. The driving range is not his primary place of learning. For him, the course is where the action is. There, the rewards – and penalties – for good and bad strokes are real and immediate. When he does go to the driving range it’s not for very long at a time, and he doesn’t practice the same thing for more than 20 balls at a time. You know the story: a bit of instruction, 20 shots with the driver and then out on the course to try it out, and if it doesn’t work from the beginning or stops working after three or four holes, we return to the old style. Looking at his profile, you can see he is also focusing on some key words from the green area. Experimenting, trying new things and results orientation are clearly his strengths, and they are what has brought his handicap down to 15 in just two years. However, these same factors was what kept him from reducing his handicap further, because what he is rejecting are the virtues that a Baser golfer possesses: being systematic, establishing routines, taking your time, practicing pre-shot routines, planning, preparation and repetition. See Figure 3.3. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 21 Figure 3.3 Focus areas the Results Golfer Rejects He mentally rejects (or should I say, rejected until he started his mental training) everything that would lay the groundwork for his continued development as a golfer. Nor is he especially social while he’s playing – at least that’s not the reason why he’s playing. What consequences does this have when he comes under pressure, when things aren’t working for him? What does he do then? Perhaps our simulation program can tell us a bit about that. The thin profile in Figure 3.4 outlines the focus our Red player has when things are going well for him. His pressure profile is the thick one, going way out into the Red corner and far out into the Development corner. When things go well, they go really well; that’s when he drives those nice, long, straight shots. But then he starts to be more ambitious and testosterone takes over. He wants the ball to go even farther, because look how well he’s doing, it’s a fantastic feeling! As a result he starts making long shots into the woods, and just how is he going to fix that? If he hits a ball into the woods, he certainly can’t afford to lose one more shot. He has to get that ball out, and ends up hitting the ball even further into the wood in the attempt. If this is you, just remotely, why not have a contingency plan? Why not have something that can bring stability and calm back to your game and to your body, and bring your adrenaline levels down to a more controllable level? Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 22 Figure 3.4 The Results Golfer Under Pressure The Results Golfer’s Contingency Plan The only sensible thing for this golfer to do is to begin playing Gray golf. At his level, he certainly needs to have his pre-shot routines down pat. Pre-shot routines are intended to ensure that you focus on what you are doing right now, making and executing wellconsidered decisions to the best of your ability. The first step in developing efficient preshot routines is putting together mental images of yourself doing exactly what you want to be able to do. Once you have conjured up your mental pictures of how you’re going to get from the Red field into the Gray field, and once you have run the movie in your head often enough to play it clearly and in sharp focus, sitting comfortably on your couch, then you have also made the necessary psychological contract with yourself. You are mentally prepared to choose the safe solutions on the course; not trying to hit the ball so far, not trying to hit the ball from impossible lies directly onto the green, etc. This means you have also accepted that it might not be the fantastic round you had hoped for – and perhaps it is precisely this acceptance and focusing on Gray golf that will make it come true. The Gray contingency plan for Results golfers presumably have more to do with course management than the Gray plan for the other three types of golfers. Perhaps the following Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 23 will inspire a few thoughts in this direction. In a survey published in the February 2003 issue of Golf Magazine, 78% of a representative sample of American golfers indicated that they would be willing to pay a pro trainer one thousand dollars if they could guarantee to help them reach scratch within a year. When Golf Magazine asked these golfers where they most wanted to see improvement in their golf game, the largest group (22%) said, “Drives from the tee.” Only 2% wanted to improve their course management skills, to which the magazine remarked, “Of course, every instructor we’ve ever talked to says that’s where golfers need the most help."2 So what is this “course management” that instructors think most golfers need to work on? In the same issue of Golf Magazine, Annika Sörenstam gives us a good example: If you won’t be able to reach the green in two, there’s no advantage to hitting driver off the tee. And……Unless you can get your second shot fairly close (within 20 yards of the green), lay up so you have a full third shot. And……Whenever possible, I lay up to 80 yards, which leaves me a full lob wedge. If there’s trouble at that distance, I lay up to 95 yards and hit a full sand wedge.3 The conclusion is that at least 80% of all golfers want a lower handicap, and most of these golfers believe that they can improve in that direction primarily by playing better strokes from the tee rather than by better course management. It would perhaps be a good idea, especially for red golfers, to include Ms. Sörenstam’s course management ideas in their contingency plan. Figure 3.5 illustrates the alternatives to Red golf. Take for example the word Wellconsidered from the Baser corner. What thoughts, pictures or feelings come to you when you say this word to yourself? Can you find situations from previous rounds where you made a not so well-considered decision? What was the outcome? What would the ideal outcome look like? What kind of thoughts, pictures and feelings does the ideal outcome bring to you? Now, take these nice thoughts, pictures and feelings and put them together on your inner metal screen. Run your inner movie a couple of time sitting in your armchair, and run it when driving to the club. Now you are mentally prepared to run the movie next time you are about to make not so well-considered decisions on the course. 2. Yun, Hunki. “How You Play.” Survey published in Golf Magazine, Feb. 2003: 72–73. 3. Sörenstam, Annike with Allen, Dave. “Taming Par Fives.” Golf Magazine, Feb. 2003: 58–59. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 24 Figure 3.5 The Results Golfer’s Alternative Focus Areas Other alternatives to Red golf are Blue and Green golf. You can use the same method as described above. Take a key word, Positive from the blue field, for example. Find a situation where you were not so positive. What did it look like? What was the outcome? How would the ideal outcome look? What kind of thoughts, pictures and feelings does the ideal outcome bring to you? Now, take these nice thoughts, pictures and feelings and put them together on your inner metal screen. Just continue as described above and you are on your way to improving your score and having more fun playing the game. In later chapters you will learn how to put these programs into your Mental Scorecard. Thomas Bjorn: His strength is also his weakness. Dubai Desert Classic 2005, Emirates GC, UAE For me, the model of a real Results golfer is Danish pro and Ryder Cup player Thomas Bjorn. He is incredibly resultsoriented. To him, only first-place results count. He has a slogan he uses to introduce himself in advertisements, “Sharpening the will to win, and loathing to lose: an acceptance of new types of pressure – not from without, but from within.” Of course, Bjorn has his basics down pat. He has practiced many, many hours of Gray golf, and has clearly also experimented a great deal. But on the course, in competitions, under pressure, Grey security oriented golf is not a part of his repertoire. You can probably think of other Results golfers. How about John Daly? Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 25 Chapter 4 Blue Rounds Blue rounds are for learning what kind of effect you have on your fellow players and how to keep their behavior, speed of play, habits and comments from having a negative influence on your own game. Blue rounds help you learn how to achieve and maintain an inner calm and harmony and not allow the expectations of others to have a negative effect on your game, much less allow what you expect of yourself to have an unfavorable influence. Playing Blue rounds is also about learning to manage difficult situations so that they don’t end in conflict, or if they do, learning to handle them so that they don’t have a negative effect on your own game. Mentally preparing how you want to handle such situations and make decisions independently of other peoples’ expectations and their opinions of you is an important part of Blue rounds. To most of us, this is probably the hardest things to learn, on as well as off the course. The key words in the Integrator corner tell us about the challenge in this learning process; focusing on your own game without being selfish and inconsiderate. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 26 Figure 4.1 The Integrator Corner As a starting point, Blue rounds are not about your technique, or about ambitious risky golf or trying new strokes and techniques, it’s simply about learning to control and free your-self from any negative influence. As you can see, the key words in the Blue field are primarily positively loaded: adjustment, avoiding conflicts, adaptation, patience, being together with others, social and sensitive. – all of these are traits we value. However, these qualities also have a darker side. What is left of your real personality, and when should you say “no”, just be yourself and focus on your own game? Of course, we shouldn’t neglect the needs of our fellow players, but we should also be aware of our own. For example, a highly extroverted person can easily end up dominating a group, a situation that may be okay for some people. For others, however, it is irritating and can easily have a negative effect on their game. Whether you are extroverted or introverted, your behavior helps satisfy your needs. For many extroverts, it is very much a question of affirmation. For introverts, this behavior can be extremely disruptive. Some, even the more introverted types, use small talk and jokes to let off steam, when pressure mounts. This story grabs the essential character of Blue golf. During a club championship one player was set to play against a highly extroverted player in match play. Before the match started, he decided that he was going to concentrate on his own game and not pay any attention to the other player’s remarks, which to him were trivial and often disruptive. He decided to walk alone as much as possible and concentrate wholly on his own game. He didn’t comment on his opponent’s strokes, didn’t answer “unessential” questions and didn’t react to what he considered to be trivial remarks. After a few holes, he managed to exclude the other player from his game and his thoughts almost completely. He was four up after seven holes. After the match, his opponent accused him of behaving unfairly. If that isn’t your style, however, and you decide you want to play your own game, knowing that chat and little anecdotes will ruin your focus, you will have to learn some methods that will give you the best conditions for performing well. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 27 The Integrator Golfer The profile in Figure 4.2 is that of a 35-year-old teaching professional. He did play a couple of seasons on the European Tour and he now gets a wild card when the Tour is in his country. He is a very popular teacher and the Blue profile tells us why. Figure 4.2 The Focus Areas the Integrator Golfer Chooses Integrator golfers often have clear expectations of their own and others’ manner and behavior and seek to adapt accordingly. They are, as the teaching pro is, empathetic and patient. They cheer people up, praise both good and bad shots, and – more than any other type – are highly sensitive to the expectations of others. These expectations become crucial to the choices they make. Being empathetic and sensitive is one of two reasons why the teaching pro is such a popular teacher. The other is that he is also focusing on Baser golf. He is systematic, organized and self controlled. He knows about the details in the swing. If you compare his profile with the profile of the former Grey Challenge Tour player, now also a teaching professional, you see not just two different approaches to the game, but also two different approaches to teaching. Hopefully someday teaching professionals will realize the benefit of using a tool like this to guide them in their choice of career as well as in their teaching activities. A Baser golfer doesn’t learn the same way as a Development golfer. They are two different personalities, with very different learning styles. The Blue teacher will sense, see and hear the differences immediately and adjust his teaching accordantly. For Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 28 most grey technical oriented teachers this is not the case. See profiles in Figure 4.3. Figure 4.3 Different Teaching Styles If you take a look at the profiles of the two teaching professionals, you will see that their approach to golf, and therefore also presumably to teaching, is very different. If you are a Grey golfer you would like to be instructed by the Grey pro. If you are not that technically oriented, surely you would appreciate the Blue pro’s approach to teaching. In general the Blue approach to golf is the complete opposite of the Red, where results are the only thing that counts and ambition rules. These two focus areas are true opposites when it comes to temperament and golf style, and as you can see in figure 4.4, the teaching pro has rejected just about all the Results key words. Figure 4.4 The Focus Areas the Integrator Golfer Rejects What is worth noting about him is not that he focuses on Blue golf; it is that he rejects Red golf even more. A golfer with this focus has a need for regularity, a daily life with fixed routines and few surprises. To my knowledge, conditions on the Tour are nothing like that. From the profile, I deduce that he went into and stayed with golf in his pursuit Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 29 of a perfect golf swing more than with the ambition to win tournaments. If things get tough, it’s not fun. It takes more than a great golf swing to win tournaments! From the profile, we can also get some ideas as to what happens when an Integrator golfer comes under pressure. Under pressure, most often, he enters a negative spiral and starts to play golf on others’ terms; although that is exactly what he should least do if he wants to develop his competitive instinct. See the profile under pressure Figure 4.5. It is not that he is being a lot more Blue and Grey in his playing style. It is more the fact that he is focusing even less on Results and Development golf. He is trying to get himself back on track by being more adaptive and focusing more on his technique. The very reasons why he came under pressure in the first place! Figure 4.5 The Integrator Golfer Under Pressure For amateurs the combination of a Blue and Grey focus is fine and not a problem or hindrance in our striving for a lower handicap. But if this type wants to make a living from playing the game, then he or she surely needs mentally to change not only the approach to the game, but also the approach to life. Not an easy task! What can the Blue golfer do to move into one of the other areas when the situation requires it? The Integrator Golfer’s Contingency Plan Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 30 The most important thing the Blue golfer can do is to release himself from thinking he has to live up to the expectations of others – and from having specific expectations of others. You are not on the golf course to satisfy other peoples’ needs and they are not there to satisfy yours either. In all sports, we hear about the pressure of expectations; both the pressure you put on yourself and the pressure you feel that others put on you. But who is putting pressure on whom? Think about it! Whether you allow others to put pressure on you or not is your choice. You are the person controlling that. Another important issue for the Blue golfer and for all other golfers for that matter is selfconfidence. You hear professional athletes for whom things aren’t going well saying that it is because they are lacking confidence right now, “It’s obvious that when your selfconfidence is gone, it’s difficult to score” goes the argument. This way of thinking makes it difficult for the person to get back on his feet again. Selfconfidence and being confident that you can do something are two different things. You must differentiate between them. If you do not, then it is because you are trying to live up to unrealistic expectations - either others’ or your own. So be realistic. You are a good person; you can have confidence in yourself, but if you do not practice chip and run shots, how can you then be confident in getting it up and down in two? What are the alternatives to the Blue golf approach? See and use some of the key words in Figure 4.5 to become aware of your alternatives. Figure 4.5 The Integrator Golfer’s Alternative Focus Areas Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 31 You can go in three directions. Move yourself mentally into the Grey corner and focus only on your techniques, or move into the Result corner, take some chances and speed up the play, or move into the Developer corner, experiment and follow your intuition. See if you can shoot a movie in your mind that includes the images, actions and feelings you can use when you want to make conscious choices, independent of other people’s expectations and good opinions. As first priority, I recommend you to try the results direction. Take for example the key word Ambitions in the Red corner. Find a situation where the outcome was not in accordance with your ambitions. What did it look like then? What would the ideal outcome look like? What kind of thoughts, pictures and feelings does the ideal outcome bring to you? How do you look when successful? What are you radiating? How do you feel? Now, take these nice thoughts, pictures and feelings and put them together, make a movie and run it on your inner metal screen. As I said before, once you have run the movie in your head often enough to play it clearly and in sharp focus, sitting comfortably in your armchair, then you have also made the necessary psychological contract with yourself. You are mentally prepared to choose more result oriented solutions on the course. This means you have also accepted that it might not be the fantastic round you had hoped for – and perhaps it is precisely this acceptance and focusing on Results golf that will make it come true. Padraig Harrington: Relieves the pressure by talking Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 32 and socializing. Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke during the third round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, 2008. Padraig Harrington is known in the public for his positive attitude and for being a very likeable person who never becomes angry or aggressive. Among the players, he is also known as a social person, always making small talk and telling jokes. This is the way he lets off steam when under pressure. In this respect, his is a true representative of the Blue golfer. Another Blue golfer who comes to mind is Peter Jacobsen and maybe Ian Poulter is a Blue golfer too. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 33 Chapter 5 Green Rounds Last, we have Green rounds, which are when you decide that you are going to experiment during the round. You may have many things you want to try; perhaps moving the ball forward or back in your stance, arms more stretched, more wrist, fading the ball or putting backspin on it. In Green rounds, you are allowed to hit two balls from the same lie to try out different things. Green rounds are for learning, nor for scoring. How often have you allowed yourself to do that? When most golfers tee off from the first tee, they do it with a result-oriented focus. One reason is that in most friendly rounds there is a competition going on, leaving little time to hit a second shot or space to test something you feel insecure in doing? If you are seldom using your 3-iron how can you expect to hit a good shot when you need it? The point is that very few golfers play rounds – just – to practice. However, you won’t raise your game to a new level unless you allow yourself to experiment, testing new things, making mistakes and often looking totally incompetent while doing it. This approach to golf is something you have to learn if you are not a Green golfer by nature. If you are a Green golfer, you are up to a challenge. To improve your shot making you have to step down into the Grey area, reduce your impatience, increase your attention to detail and decrease your need for variation. Let’s take a look at the Developer corner of our golf diagram in Figure 5.1. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 34 Figure 5.1 The Development Corner As you can see from the key words in Figure 5.1, Green golf is about experimenting, accepting and following your hunches, exchanging ideas and allowing yourself to be absorbed by your fascination with golf. For people who have difficulty letting go of their limitations, then Green golf is a pact with yourself that makes it legitimate for you to have fun with golf and look incompetent. Development golfers generally have a more experimental, impatient and restless nature than other types of golfers. For Development golfers, there are no rules, they often live for the moment time stands still and other people don’t exist. Development golfers think, “Can I get the ball to do this or that? And what if I do the other thing or something completely different?” This is exactly what Green Golf is about. Green rounds or practice sessions are about experimenting and about learning new limits, and this happens best when you are concentrating yet relaxed, playing in a way that allows you to forget everything else around you. If you plant the idea of Green rounds in your mind, you allow yourself to exceed your usual limits; you give your imagination free rein and start experimenting. Green golf is most fun to play on the golf course. Unfortunately, there is seldom time to hit a couple of extra balls; usually there are groups of players behind you. That’s why it is even more frustrating that there are so few exciting practice facilities. It is unbelievable how incredibly boring most driving ranges are. They are not made for Green golfers. Row of tee boxes, some yardage signs – often showing incorrect distances – some crooked play lines that ruin your sense of direction, and maybe a bunker or two, often without sand. If they really want to make golf into a sport, when are they going to start making decent practice facilities? It shouldn’t be especially difficult or expensive to build some training facilities that appeal to the imagination, encourage experimentation and make it more fun and inspirational to practice. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 35 Seve Ballesteros has become a golf icon because of his ability to hit his way out of the most impossible situations. He says he learned it back home in the caddie yard. Lee Trevino tells the same story, “We didn’t have anything else, and so we played with what we had.” Maybe we should reintroduce caddie yards. At least it would be inexpensive. The Development Golfer Now, let us have a look at a true Green golfer’s profile. He is a 45-year-old man and he has been playing to a handicap around four for several years. See his profile in Figure 5.2. Figure 5.2 The Focus Areas the Development Golfer Chooses What we see here is a focus on Development golf; experiments, the exchange of ideas, temper, variation, inspiration, development, vision and imagination. The social aspects don’t play a major role here, neither does being systematic or well organized. At the same time, there is also a sharp focus in the Results area, where goal orientation, performance, rapid play and taking chances are in focus. The key words show what he emphasizes when he plays. Some of his strengths are experimenting and testing the limits of what can be done with a golf ball, coupled with a results-oriented and risk-taking approach. This is what has brought his handicap down and may also be the reason why he hasn’t improved it for years. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 36 The key words in the Blue and Grey corner in Figure 5.3 shows what he is deliberately not focusing on. Figure 5.3 The Focus Areas the Development Golfer Rejects Here we can see that he is not very interested in the social aspect of golf. He handles the conflicts that arise and tries to play his own game. What he rejects in the Blue corner makes him easily grow tired of slow players and meticulous behavior. But that is not the reason why he has not improved his game. The reason you will find in the Grey corner. He is lacking all the virtues of the Grey golfer. He is too impatient to focus on making statistics, playing it safe, sticking to the same routines, being systematic, practicing the same details in the swing again and again and avoiding risks. Our golfer’s strength is clearly his creative and goal-oriented attitude. What happens when he comes under pressure, because he gets irritated by people who play slowly, take too many practice swings (in his opinion) or take forever reading their putting lines or because he is not himself playing well? As you can see from his pressure profile, his irritation leads him to play highly results-focused golf. He plays even faster; he pushes a bit more, takes more chances and tries new ways of hitting the ball in order to recover lost shots. See Figure 5.4 Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 37 Figure 5.4 The Development Golfer Under Pressure The Green golfer’s profile when he is under pressure is the area outlined by the bold line. He is a player who has very little focus on Blue and Grey golf and when he is under pressure, he limits this focus even more. What he needs is a Gray contingency plan, so that he can gain control of his own game, and probably also a Blue one to gain control of his impatience. The Development Golfer’s Contingency Plan Golf is supposed to be a game that you play. Of course, it can also be serious for the Development golfer. In reality, he has a great deal of ambition and doesn’t feel happy if there is too long a period between successes. Thus, if you are a Green golfer, the most important contingency plan to learn when your normal approach doesn’t work is to move yourself over into the safe zone, to play Grey golf. See Figure 5.5 for the key words that best describe the alternative focus areas for Development golfers. The safest choice is to learn to move into the Gray corner, but see if you can move into the Blue corner as well. It is very important that you set yourself some goals. When you start a practice round ask yourself what you want to achieve, and then stick to it – no experiments. Always remember that when you play Grey practice rounds you should know ahead of time what you Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 38 want to get out it: what you want to learn and how you will go about doing it. Figure 5.5 The Development Golfer’s Alternative Focus Areas To make you aware of the Baser alternative and to improve your skills executing Baser solutions, you need to make a mental movie. To do this, use the key word Wellconsidered. Try to recall the last time you made a not so well considered decision during a round, a decision with negative consequences for your score and your mood. How did you look then? What did you feel? What was your reaction? Now, try to imagine the ideal decision with the ideal result. See yourself reaching that well considered decision and see yourself executing it with a perfect shot and the desired result. How do you feel? What kind of thoughts comes to your mind? Can you recreate the feeling success gives you? To learn and, not least, to enjoy Baser golf, you need to make a mental program of yourself making and executing the ideal solution, and attach to the program all the nice feelings success gives you. Put all of those pictures and nice feelings into a movie. The next step is sitting in your armchair in a quiet moment and running the movie. Do it until you can recall and recreate what you think, see, feel and sense. That done, all you have to do next time during a round where you are about to make a not too well considered decision, is to start the movie. The Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 39 movie will automatically set your mind on Grey solutions. An alternative could be to make a little movie of you walking on a path leading from the Green field in the diagram to the Grey field. When you get closer to the Grey field, you start to see words like preparation, thoughtful, well-considered and pre-shot routines. You choose the words that are best for you. When you get closer the words becomes clearer and clearer, and you start to create an image of yourself acting in accordance with the meaning of these words. Put the pictures and nice feelings of calmness together in sequences like in a movie and do just as instructed previously. Believe me; you will not be able to do anything by conscious will in the real world without first having thought it out in your mental world. Seve Ballesteros: Making the impossible possible European Volvo Master, 2004 Ballesteros is one of the most successful Development golfers around. He is known for his ability to play his way out of any kind of difficulty. I remember a comment his partner made on the final day of The Open that Ballesteros won. He remarked that it was probably the first and only time The Open was won by a player who had never played on the fairway. Of course, Ballesteros can also handle the three other types of golf. If he wasn’t also a Results golfer, he wouldn’t have had the energy to play his way out of all the hopeless situations he’s been in. And he has his basic technique down pat, but his creativity allows him to put the basic elements together in a different way. That is what enables him to play his way out of hopeless situations. If you have problems moving into the Green corner, then think of Ballesteros. Other candidates for the title of Development golfer extraordinaire could be Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 40 Chapter 6 Putting Yourself in the Center In the previous four chapters I have described four types of golf and golfers. I hope that you are now familiar with the different types of golf, and the purpose of playing each type, and recognize the strengths and weakness of each type of personality and its different mental approach to the game. Whether you belong mostly to one or the other type doesn’t matter to your potential for improving your handicap and increasing your pleasure of playing the game. What matters is your ability to choose the type of solution and play that is optimal for the situation, instead of instinctively following your personality and idiosyncrasies. Mental training is about being able to place yourself in the center of the model. You are the type and personality you are, therefore, mentally, you will always be somewhere towards one or two of the corners. Once you know where you are in the diagram you can mentally put yourself in the middle of the model. If you run into trouble, if you feel under pressure, if you are in doubt of what to do, then standing in the middle you can deliberately select the way you want to play. You can move down into the Gray corner: play it safe, concentrate on your pre-shot routines, take the time you need, and so on. If you do that, then maybe your round won’t be so bad after all. Another alternative is to move up into the Blue corner. Wouldn’t it be an idea to learn not to be affected by the expectations and actions of others? You make your own decisions. The most important thing is that you make them, rather than allowing your habits to make them for you. Let’s take a look at the model and see how it looks like when you are standing in the middle. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 41 Choose your Focus Instead of allowing your automatic reactions to take over when things are not going in accordance with your ambitions, hopes or plans, then put yourself in the middle of the model, as illustrated in figure 6.1. Figure 6.1 A Model for Choosing Alternative Focus Areas Imagine that you have the Focus model stored in your memory so that you can retrieve it when things start going wrong. The mental image alone can help you stay in control and make conscious decisions. Once you know your natural focus preferences, you can use the model as a compass to aid you in making decisions during a round. Your ambition should be to have more fun and play better golf. That is, to go for the long term satisfaction and not be content with the short term, with one great shot instead of one great round. Think about the following. In each situation when you want to make a choice, you must place yourself in the center of the model and allow your inner voice to guide you out into the corner where you make the choice that will give you peace of mind. If you unconsciously dig yourself deep into one of the corners, you are cutting yourself off from using the other three alternatives and thus keeping yourself from bringing your game back on track. Use the model to set up, visualize, feel and think through your alternative courses of action in advance so you can put them up on your inner movie screen when the need arises. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 42 Remember: the more times you have imagined how something can be done and the more intensively you do it, involving all your senses, the greater your chances of being able to do it when it becomes necessary. How to transfer focus and play under pressure Place yourself in the center and change your focus from the more risky result oriented type of golf to the more security-oriented type of golf. Makes sense to me, you may respond, but how am I going to do it, especially if I’m under pressure? Playing under pressure and avoiding a "rubber-arm" is first and foremost a matter of experience - however not only experience. Some do have a stronger mentality than others. But everybody can become stronger mentally. What it takes to train a person's psyche differs from person to person. Although there are some general rules that I will briefly mention here. The purpose is solely to give you some idea of how you can construct your own mental exercises. You can tell by your senses that you are under pressure. In other words, pressure affects your senses. Your emotions become stronger, your thoughts faster, your heart pumps more adrenalin out and your body becomes tense. Your entire body is on red alert, which is not the best condition for playing excellent golf and making wise decisions. In reality, it all begins with your thoughts. The thought of not making that crucial putt, of not making it over a hazard or not making your par is the kinds of thought that sets in motion physical and emotional alertness. Therefore, you need to take control of your thoughts. The most efficient method to do this is mental training. The principles are simple, but not always easy to carry out. To solve the issue, there is one golden rule. If you have a thought that causes some inexpedient state, there is only one way to get rid of it, and that is by replacing it with another more constructive thought. If you have a thought that is causing stress and negative feelings, you cannot just tell it to go away. It won't. It will probably get worse. It is not enough that you tell yourself to think positively and forget the double bogey you made on the last hole. No, what you need to learn is to replace the unconstructive thought with a constructive one. Picture how the existing thought contains a certain mass of energy. The new thought, which is to replace the old one, must have more energy than the existing one. You cannot push away one pound with a half a pound. So how does one consciously give energy to a thought? You can do so by constructing a thought or chain of thoughts that will set in motion one or all of your senses. Imagine something you hear, something you see, something that you physically feel, and something that you emotionally feel. The more senses you can awaken by a conscious thought, the more energy it will create. The following is an example of how you can make some of these elements a part of your Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 43 putting routine. When standing over the putt concentrate on seeing the putt line with your inner eye. Try to recall the sound of the ball landing at the bottom of the cup. Then try to recall the feeling of happiness and joys you ones felt when you holed an important putt. With practice swings you can re-create the physical feeling of a perfect stroke. In reality, you can activate all these senses by means of your own imagination. Start by sitting comfortably on your couch. Put the relevant elements together and make a movie that you can see with your inner eye, feel, hear and/or sense physically. Imagine yourself practicing this routine, consciously creating positive and constructive energies and feelings. This way you empty your mind of unconstructive thoughts and replace them with ones that are more constructive. Rehearse the routine on the putting green. Now, on the course, this is your emergency plan ready to be put into work when you feel a need for it. Your Energy Converter Try to remember it this way. Negative emotions, self-doubt, the feeling of wrecked nerves, anxiety, the notion of missing this putt or hitting it out of bounds, added together, is negative energy that has a weight. Now let us say that the weight of this energy is one pound. To push that one pound away, you need more than one pound. Therefore, you need to construct a link of thoughts and motions that activate your senses to build up a weight of more than one pound. That is what I call an Energy Converter. Energy Converter 1½ Pound 1 Pound It is important to emphasize that the routines must be rehearsed so that you know them by heart before you need them on the course. If you don't have a routine before you are in a situation where you are under pressure and the adrenalin is pumping, then it is too late. The routines must be rehearsed mentally and during practice rounds before you can carry them out on the course and use them constructively under pressure. In order to practice Energy Conversion to help you transfer your focus from one type of golf to another, I have developed the Mental Scorecard™ method. The Scorecard is used during practice rounds and contains instructions on what type of golf to play at a given hole, including suggestions for mental routines you can use to eliminate unconstructive thoughts and find what I call your Mental Sweet Spot. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 44 In the next chapter, you will find a description of the Mental Scorecard™ principles. Then follows an example of how you can use these principles to construct a Mental Scorecard™ that shifts your focus to the line, the sweet spot and your intuition. Finally, in chapter 10, you will find a Mental Scorecard™ constructed for each type of golfer. You can practice the mental routines literally as suggested in the scorecard, but to make it work even better for you, you may need to construct the details of the routines yourself, using the Energy Conversion method. That way you will learn to place yourself in the center of the model and from there to choose the ideal solution for the situation and carry out the solution optimally when under pressure. The more you practice mental training, the easier you will find it to get into your Mental Sweet Spot, a place of total peace and calm, the state of mind where excellent strokes extend into perfect rounds. Ernie Els: The Complete Golfer? South African Airways, 2007 If I were to find a person to place in the middle of the model, someone who is well-balanced, is able to choose the type of golf he wants to play in every situation and make that choice deliberately and effortlessly, that person would be Ernie Els. He is secure in all the golf fundamentals; he can play Results golf; he can put himself in harmony with his fellow players and his surroundings; and he can play experimental golf if need be. The “Big Easy” makes things look easy because he possesses a certain equilibrium that allows him to make his choices to suit the situation in which he finds himself. So if you have a difficult time moving to the middle of the diagram, then just think of the “Big Easy.” Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 45 Chapter 7 The Mental Scorecard™ The basic idea behind the Mental Scorecard™ is simple and practical. First, when you decide to play a practice round, throw the normal scorecard away. Second, forget all about your score, your handicap and the number of strokes. Just follow the instructions in the scorecard. If you are a Red golfer, for example, you may need to practice more Grey and maybe Blue and Green golf. To do this, the scorecard contains Grey mental routines and strategy instructions that you have to practice executing, when playing the first four holes. For each shot, there might be a pre-shot routine and for each hole, there might be an instruction on how to play the hole. Then, on holes 5, 6 and 7, you can play as you please. For the next four holes, there might be instructions and mental routines to follow that will teach you to play Blue golf. Then again, you will have three holes that you can play as you please, and finally there might be descriptions of Green mental routines and strategies that you have to practice executing on the last four holes. This way, following the instructions in the Scorecard, you will learn to move yourself for Red golf to a Grey, a Blue and a Green approach to golf. The Golfer’s Mental Scorecard™ is a scorecard designed to accommodate your mental handicap, not your golf handicap. With the scorecard, the only thing you have to keep an eye on is how you play the game mentally. The Scorecard’s scoring method allows you to monitor your progress in improving your ability to make conscious choices and thus play better golf. When you play the scorecard, you evaluate your result after each hole. If you were successful in following the specified routines for each stroke you made and the overall strategy for the hole, you give yourself two points. If you didn’t follow them and complete them 100%, you get minus two points. When you have finished the round, all you have to do is to calculate the number of minus points. This number is your mental handicap. The idea is for you to continue play the scorecard during practice rounds until your handicap is down to zero. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 46 As mentioned, in chapter 10 you will find a Mental Scorecard™ for each type of golfer. Make a copy of the Scorecard for your type and take it with you on the course. Practice focusing only on following the instructions and pre-shot routines described in the scorecard. Rehearse the routines at home, before you play and, if you feel like it, put in some of your own ideas following the Energy Converting principles. It is imperative for me to emphasize that the presented scorecards are only general in nature. If the suggested mental and practical pre-shot routines don’t fit your temper, personality or way of visualizing or feeling – your way of sensing; please feel free to put in your own stuff. To give you an idea of a scorecard and how it works, I will now present to you the reasons and ideas behind a scorecard which is very much general in nature and therefore supposedly will fulfill a need for most amateur players. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 47 Chapter 8 Examples of Focused Golf Rounds Focusing on Intuition We all know the situation. You take a seven-iron out of the bag, but your intuition – your inner voice – says you should be taking out your six-iron instead or you are ready to putt, but your intuition is telling you to stop - that it isn’t the right line, but do you listen to your inner voice? Too often we don’t. Why not? Often the greatest barrier to following your inner voice is your desire to get a good score; you go after results and do not focus on the process. You know from experience that you are only successful perhaps one in ten times, when you don’t listen to your intuition, your gut feeling. Now you have the opportunity. An intuitive round means learning to take your inner voice seriously. Before an intuitive round, you must make a pact with yourself not to keep score; in other words, don’t count your strokes. This is going to be a learning process. Before you play an intuitive round, it is also important to ask yourself what it is that keeps you from following your inner voice consistently. Is it because you are a Results golfer, and you are fanatical about getting a good score and hitting the ball long distances? Or are you an Integrator golfer who listens too much to other people, so you allow yourself to be influenced by their expectations? Is it because you are a Baser golfer, so you spend a lot of time on your stroke, thinking too much? Or is it because you are a Development golfer and for that reason you hear your inner voice asking whether it might just be possible to get it into the hole along this line if you could just hit the ball a little from the inside out? Before you start an intuitive round, you must prepare yourself mentally for what your reactions will be, when something seems to be keeping you from doing what your intui- Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 48 tion says you should. If your intuition (and your common sense) says to take that threewood and leave your driver in the bag, but you use the driver anyway, then what is it you are doing? The most important thing is to make a psychological pact with yourself that you will be playing the course in order to learn to focus on your inner voice: to listen to it and do what it says. Remember, when you play intuitive golf, play only intuitive golf. During an intuitive round, your full focus should be on the process. You are in the center of the model in the diagram. Allow your intuition to determine which corner you should move into. Remember the line: “When there is a doubt, there is no doubt!” Focusing on the Sweet Spot Another type of round is the sweet spot round. Have you ever seen the surface of a really good player’s sand, pitch or lob wedge, one of the irons used in play and practice again and again from off the green? There is probably a wear mark right in the middle of the sweet spot, proof that they hit the ball in precisely the same spot each time. Of course, it’s no coincidence; it’s a sign of talent and lots of practice. Perhaps you’re not that talented, and maybe you don’t have the time to practice enough for you to make wear marks on your irons. Time and time again it annoys you that you are not more precise around the green, but how often have you really focused on striking the ball on the sweet spot? How often have you stood on a putting green and practiced hitting the sweet spot? Well then, what do you expect? So now’s your chance. First, if you are a Results golfer, forget all about getting the ball in the hole or, for that matter, even getting close: the purpose is not to score, just to hit the ball on the sweet spot. For the Integrator golfer, maybe the small talk keeps you from focusing. When someone walks by, it is so easy to say, “Hi” and exchange a couple of remarks, so go somewhere where you can practice undisturbed. As for Development golfers, forget about experimenting. Go to a pro if you are in doubt about anything technical. Once you have that out of the way, go for the sweet spot. First, throw ten balls around the green and just focus on hitting the ball with your iron in exactly the same place. You can get some stickers at your pro shop to place on your iron. When you hit the ball, it leaves a mark on the sticker so that you know exactly where you hit. Do this practice as often as you can. Then go on the course to play a practice round. Make a copy of the following scorecard and you are on your way hitting the ball more often with the sweet spot. You need to have a clear mental picture of yourself far out in the Gray golf corner. Forget all about scores, socializing, living up to expectations, and forget all about experimenting. Once you have practiced focusing on the sweet spot for only one round, you will learn how the process feels while also getting closer and closer to the hole because you are actually getting better at striking the ball on the sweet spot. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 49 Focusing on the Line A third type of round is one in which you focus on the line. Dave Peltz has compiled the statistics of the approach shot precision of tour pros. From a distance of about 130 yards and out, they are good at finding the right distance, compared to the shorter approach shots of 130 yards or less. However, their precision with regard to direction fluctuates more on the longer approach shots. With shorter approach shots, they are really good at finding the line, but their accuracy in length varies more than it does in their longer approach shots. This statistics just goes to prove that finding the line in your short approach shots is imperative to getting a good score.4 For this reason, learning to focus on the line and only on the line can help you get more out of golfing. But how often are you really focused on the line? How many other thoughts are in your mind when you have to make a 10-15-yard chip shot? Sometime we have our heads full of other thoughts, which means we often forget to be wholly focused on the line. Focusing on the line and nothing else is Gray golf. The process is what counts, not the result. If, before you play, you make an agreement with yourself that in your next round you will focus only on the line, this will help you mentally prepare yourself for the process. Throw ten balls on the fringes of the green, and then imagine a line that you concentrate on completely. Find a process and a focus that automatically shuts out all other thoughts. To start with, perhaps, you will be able to maintain that focus for only five of those ten balls. Each time you try it – maybe two or three times in a week – you will discover that you are getting better at focusing, and so, better at finding and hitting on the line. Once you’ve found your ideal pre-shot routine, take that ability to focus on the line out with you on a round. Use the scorecard at the end of this chapter. Now, this may sound boring to you, but try it anyway. When you start being able to focus, start feeling an inner calm and harmony, when you become one with what you are doing in an uninterrupted process, then you will know you are on the right track, and golf will become a lot more fun and fulfilling. If you play two or three rounds a week anyway, why not spend one of them working on your ability to focus on the line? Three-Focus Rounds When you have practiced these three different aspects of your game, you are ready to put them together. Once you have your pre-shot routines for these three things down pat, play the first three holes focusing on Intuitive golf only. Then play two holes as you please. After two free holes come three holes where you should only be concentrating on your “focus on the sweet spot” routine. Then again, two holes where you relax and play as you please. Then come three holes where you are concentrating only on your “focus on the line” routine. After these holes you start to integrate the 3 routines. First play two holes 4. Dave Pelz with James A. Frank, Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible (New York: Broadway Books, 1999). Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 50 where you are integrating Intuitive golf with your “sweet spot” routine. Conclude the round by integrating the three routines when playing the last two holes. On the following page, I have constructed at Mental Scorecard following this guide-line. It is not important always to divide things up like this or to practice focusing during every round you play. The most important thing is that you do it occasionally and, when you do it, that you do it all the way. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by chance occurrences like birdies, triple bogeys, a slow partner, irritating remarks from other people or anything else that might disturb your ability to focus. Try it out. Make a copy. Rehearse the routines first at home and then on the course. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 51 Hole 1 Color A mental round focusing on Intuition, the Sweet Spot and the Line Focus on: Intuition. Every time you have made a decision, but before you execute the decision, stop a second and ask your inner self: Will I be at peace with this decision? If the answer is yes, or it gives you a feeling of acceptance, then go on. If not, then ask your inner self: What would be the right decision? That’s all. Just try to do this routine before every decision on this and the next two holes. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed in doing this for every decision. Minus 2 if you do not succeed in every stroke. Focus on: Intuition. Focus on: Intuition. Play and relax Play and relax Focus on: Sweet spot. With every shot, when you have taken your stance and are ready to swing, take a deep breath while you are focusing on the sweet spot on your club. Imagine a little red mark on the spot and say to your self: That’s where I want to hit the ball. Do that when you inhale. When you exhale, keep your eyes on the spot, while at the same time starting your backswing. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed in doing this for every decision. Minus 2 if you do not. Follow the same routine on the next two holes. Focus on: Sweet spot. Focus on: Sweet spot. Play and relax Play and relax Focus on: The line. When you have made your decision, go behind the ball and visualize the landing area, the ball path or line. Then take your stance. Take a deep breath while you visualizing landing area and line. Exhale and let the picture go. Now make your swing. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed in doing this for every shot. Minus 2 if not. +- 2 3 4 5 6 Free Free 7 8 9 10 11 Free Free Focus on: The line. Focus on: The line. Free Play and relax Free Play and relax Focus on: Intuition and Sweet Spot. On this and the next hole combine your Intuition routine with your sweet spot routine. Start by asking your inner self: Will I be at peace with this decision? If not, then ask your inner self: What would be the right decision? When you have made a decision, taken your stance and are ready to swing, take a deep breath while you are focusing on the sweet spot. Imagine a little red mark on the spot and say to your self: That’s where I want to hit the ball. Inhale and start your backswing. When exhaling, keep your eyes on the spot, and start your downswing. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed. Minus 2 if not. Focus on: Intuition and Sweet Spot. 17 Focus on: Intuition, Sweet Spot and line. Now for this last hole combine the 18 3 routines. Is this the right decision for me? Stand behind the ball and visualize the landing area, ball path and/or line. Take your stance, focus on the sweet spot, visualize the line again and then hit the ball. 2 points if you succeed. Minus 2 if do not. Result: Mental Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka Handicap is your minus score 52 12 13 14 15 16 Chapter 9 Conclusion Follow the model for Focused Golf, and you can train your ability to focus along with any other technical or mental aspect of your game. When you know what you want to work with, make a mental picture of how you are going to enter into a state of mind where you are totally focused on what is at hand. Use the Energy Converter to create the most efficient mental routines. Use your mind to visualize, activate your feelings, physical sensations, hearing and/or smelling, whichever of these senses that will bring you into the zone, your mental sweet spot. Create your own movie that will activate these senses and pictures and run the movie on your inner metal screen to push away unconstructive or inexpedient thoughts. Start practicing your routines sitting comfortably in you armchair running the movie on your mental screen. Then take them with you to the practice area before you take them onto the golf course. Put together a Mental Scorecard. Divide the 18 holes up so that you alternate between Focused Golf and your normal golf style. While you’re out there, spend three, six, or even nine holes out of the 18 focusing only on a single part of your mental game, putting a couple of holes in between when you just do whatever you like. Use the result of your test, your profile, to become aware of your natural focus areas, your strengths and weaknesses, and your reactions under pressure. Place yourself in the middle of the Focus model so you can make deliberate choices in which you – not your instinct – control the game you play. After a while, you should be able to make a conscious shift from one type of golf to another. It is generally true that: • Choosing to play Gray golf is about technique, learning pre-shot routines, follow- Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 53 ing plans, making the safe choice, taking your time, thinking things through, and being systematic. • Choosing not to play Gray golf is forgetting technique, not being fixated on your technique, but letting your swing come naturally. • Choosing to play Red golf is about being goal-oriented, taking chances, making quick decisions and using your physique. • Choosing not to play Red golf is playing it safe, not pressuring or driving yourself, using a three wood instead of a driver, and focusing on the process instead of your results. • Choosing to play Blue golf is making decisions independently of the good opinions and expectations of others, to learn to be in harmony and balance with your inner self. • Choosing not to play Blue golf is about being completely egoistic. (Most often not recommended). • Choosing to play Green golf is about experimenting, testing the untested and transcending your own limitations. • Choosing not to play Green golf is not playing around, but playing it safe and targeted, and taking things seriously. If you want to learn to play Gray golf and thus form the basis for your own continued development as a golfer, then you have to learn to deliberately play a few rounds where you are only focusing on what Gray golf is about. If you want to learn more, then the next step is to learn to play Red golf. Then you should deliberately play a few rounds or holes and hit some balls while you focus only on playing Blue golf, and then move on to playing holes during which you concentrate on playing Green golf. Design your own mental golf course, your own Mental Scorecard, and play golf. In this way, you will train your ability to focus and learn what mental training is all about: developing your ability to make deliberate and conscious choices. The more you practice and play Focused Golf, the more often you will experience a fully stabilized state of blissful, silent inner mental presence, your Mental Sweet Spot, the state that brings with it good golf and even more fun playing golf. Enjoy! Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 54 Chapter 10 Mental Scorecards A mental round for Grey golfers The purpose of this Mental Scorecard is to help you shift from focusing on technical details in your swing, in your equipment or on course conditions, to a more result oriented game, where there is room for experiments and intuitive decisions. This is mental training primarily of Red and Green golf and unlearning of Gray golf. The idea or purpose of the exercises in this Mental Scorecard is not to make a permanent change in your game style and approach to golf. The idea is to add alternatives, alternatives that you can use when your normal approach isn’t working. Before you begin your mental round, we recommend that you study the scorecard and familiarize yourself with the mental exercises at home or on the range during practice, wherever it suits you best. Moreover, remember that one mental round is just the beginning. It is our experience that it only takes one or two rounds with the Mental Scorecard to lower your mental handicap. All along, you will be lowering your golf handicap too. Also, before you start your round, we recommend that you find yourself a golf partner, who also wants to work with the Mental Scorecard. It can be difficult to get the optimal from the Mental Scorecard if everyone else is playing ordinary result oriented golf. We hope that you have a good time and wish you good luck. If you have a hard time following the suggested mental routines then use the Energy Converting method. Think about something or find pictures of something that make you feel good, that activate your senses in a positive way. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 55 Hole 1 Color Mental Scorecard for Grey golfers Focus on: Finding your Mental Sweet Spot. Accept the fact that you are going to lose control and let go. Pre-routine: Imagine yourself surrounded by a cloud of nice, vibrant, peaceful energy. Take some deep breaths, and when exhaling imagines that, you are expanding a comfort zone of energy around your body. Visualize yourself in your comfort-zone. Feel the inner peace and quietness. In this state, make your choices regarding iron, length, landing area etc. If in doubt – ask your inner self. Just learn to stay in this mental stage. No speculations at all, just accept the results. Golf and life are learning processes. Follow this routine at every stroke. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed in doing this for every stroke on the hole. Minus 2 if you do not succeed for every stroke. Focus on: Mental Sweet Spot. Same routine as on hole 1. Focus on: Mental Sweet Spot. Same routine as on hole 1. Focus on: Mental Sweet Spot. Same routine as on hole 1. Play and relax Play and relax Play and relax Focus on: Quick decisions. Pre-routine: Practice swings are forbidden. From the time it is your turn to strike and till you have completed, you have 10 seconds. It works this way. Don't take any club out of your bag before you have decided what to do. When you have decided, take the club. From that time and till you have completed the swing you have 10 seconds. If you feel you have chosen the wrong club it’s just the same. You only have 10 seconds and no time to change your mind. Make a habit in counting from 10 to 0 for yourself. Give yourself 2 point if successful. Minus 2 if not. Follow this routine on the next three holes. Focus on: Quick decisions. Focus on: Quick decisions. Focus on: Quick decisions. Play and relax Play and relax Play and relax Focus on: Experiments. Pre-routine: Smile, that’s right, smile to yourself, the sun, the nature, your partner – activate your smiling-muscles. Visualize your inner child playing with a golf ball, a child striking odd strokes. Then choose a stroke that could be fun and maybe even prove efficient, if it is successful. Remember, stay in process. The score and results are insignificant. If you are successful in approaching every shot on the hole with a smiling and playing attitude, give yourself 2 point, if not minus 2 points. Focus on: Visualize your inner child, having fun. Focus on: Visualize your inner child, having fun. Focus on: Visualize your inner child, having fun. Result: Your mental handicap is your minus score +- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Free Free Free 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Free Free Free 16 17 18 Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 56 A mental round for Red golfers This mental scorecard is designed to develop your ability to make systematic and security oriented decisions, thereby excluding experimental and risky golf. This is mental training primarily of Gray golf, then in Blue and Green golf. Before you begin you mental round, we recommend that you study the scorecard and practice the mental exercises at home or during training on the range. Remember that one exercise and one mental round is just the beginning. It will take several mental rounds before you lower your mental handicap to scratch; however all along you will become better and better. When you begin we recommend that you find yourself a golf partner, who also wants to work with the Mental Scorecard. It can be difficult to get optimal results from the Mental Scorecard if everyone else is playing ordinary result oriented golf. As advised before, if you have a hard time following the suggested mental routines then use the Energy Converting method. Think about something or find pictures of something that make you feel good, that activate your senses in a positive way. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 57 Hole 1 Color Mental Scorecard for Red golfers Focus on: Game plan. Keyword: Safe decisions. Pre-routines: Make a game plan for the hole before you place yourself at the tee. Your game plan has to follow these rules: If you normally go for the green in two, your plan should be to reach it in three. If you normally go for it in three, your plan should be to reach it in four. Always plan to lay up so that your approach shot is within 50 to 100 yards from the green. Next; from whatever distance you play you should always use an iron longer and a wood shorter that you would normally choose. Grip down on the shaft and reduce your swing speed. Finally; avoid all decisions that include even the smallest risk. Always choose safe decisions. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed in doing this for every stroke on the hole. Minus 2 if you do not succeed. Focus on: Safe decisions. Same routine as on hole 1. Focus on: Safe decisions. Same routine as on hole 1. Focus on: Safe decisions. Same routine as on hole 1. Play and relax Play and relax Play and relax Focus on: Let go of your ego. Pre-routine: Imagine yourself surrounded by a cloud of nice, vibrant, peaceful energy. If you cannot imagine it then try to create it. Take some deep breaths and, while exhaling, imagine that you are expanding a comfort zone of energy around your body. Visualize yourself in this comfort zone. Feel the inner peace and quietness. Just learn to stay in this mental stage. No speculations at all, just accept the results. See golf and life as learning processes. Be sure that you are in this zone with every shot. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed in doing this. Minus 2 if you do not succeed for every stroke. Focus on: Let go of ego. Same routine as on hole 8. Focus on: Let go of ego. Same routine as on hole 8. Focus on: Let go of ego. Same routine as on hole 8. Play and relax Play and relax Play and relax Focus on: Experiments. On this and the next three holes you are only allowed to use 3 clubs from your bag, plus your putter. Select the three clubs you will use on this hole before entering the tee. Whatever position you are in from tee to green use only one of the selected three clubs. The result is of no importance, what you learn is important. Before every shot make the “Let go of your Ego” routine that you used on the previous holes. Also use it if you get irritated or angry about an unsuccessful stroke. 2 points if successful following both the strategy and the routine. Minus 2 if not. Focus on: Pick three clubs different from the three you used on the previous hole. Follow that same routine and strategy. Focus on: Pick three clubs different from the three you used on the previous two holes. Follow that same routine and strategy. Focus on: Pick three clubs different from the three you used on the previous three holes. Follow that same routine and strategy. Result: Your mental handicap is your minus score +- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Free Free Free 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Free Free Free 16 17 18 Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 58 A mental round for Blue golfers The purpose of this Mental Scorecard is primarily to learn to disengage from other peoples’ expectations of your game. Your Blue golf must be replaced by a more result oriented, independent and playful approach. This is mental training primarily of Red and Green golf, and unlearning Blue golf. Before you begin your mental round, we recommend that you study the scorecard and practice the mental exercises at home or during training at the range, whichever suits you best. And remember that one exercise and one mental round is just the beginning. It will take several mental rounds before you lower your handicap, however all along you will be getting better and better. When you begin, we recommend that you find yourself a golf partner, who also wants to work with the Mental Scorecard. It can be difficult to get optimal results from the Mental Scorecard if everyone else is playing ordinary result oriented golf. We hope that you have a good time and wish you good luck with your new golf life. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 59 Hole Color Mental Scorecard for Blue golfers 1 Focus on: Independent choices. You need to shelter yourself from any influence that other people might have on your choices and behavior. Make a preshot routine that clears your mind of other peoples’ expectations. Try this: before you make a decision and/or before you make your swing, inhale deeply and imagine that when you exhale you blow the air from your lungs up through your mind, washing all your thoughts out and into a casket. See the casket in front of you with the lid open. Put all of your thoughts, worries and expectations in the casket and close the lid. Now, feel the inner peace and quiet, make your decision and do what you planned to do. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed with this routine be-fore each stroke and decision. Minus 2 if not. Focus on: Independent choices. Same routine as on hole 1. Focus on: Independent choices. Same routine as on hole 1. Focus on: Independent choices. Same routine as on hole 1. Play and relax Play and relax Play and relax Focus on: Determination. Pre-routine: Make a game plan for the hole before you take your position at the tee. Your plan must give you a fair chance to play the hole one shot lower than your handicap; forcing you to take chances. Your mental routine must include a strict focus on the chosen landing area for every shot. When you have completed this, have taken your stance and are ready to strike, take two deep breaths, all the way down into your stomach. Imagine that you inhale red energy and while exhaling you push the energy out into all parts of your body, making you feel strong and athletic. Then strike. Go through this routine before each stroke on the hole. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed with this routine before each stroke. Minus 2 if not. Do this routine on the next three holes. Focus on: Determination. Focus on: Determination. Focus on: Determination. Play and relax Play and relax Play and relax Focus on: Experiments. Pre-routine: Smile, that’s right, smile to yourself. Smile at the sun, nature and your partner. Activate your smiling muscles. Visualize your inner child playing with a golf ball, a child striking odd strokes. Then choose a stroke that could be fun and maybe even prove efficient, if it is successful. Remember, stay in process. The score and results are insignificant as well as what other people thing about what you’re doing. Use your Independent choices routine you learned on the first four holes, if you feel like it. If you are successful in approaching every shot on the hole with a smiling and playing attitude, give yourself 2 point, if not minus 2 points. Focus on: Visualize your inner child, having fun. Focus on: Visualize your inner child, having fun. Focus on: Visualize your inner child, having fun. Result: Your mental handicap is your minus score +- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Free Free Free 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Free Free Free 16 17 18 Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 60 A mental round for Green golfers The purpose of this Mental Scorecard is to make you aware of your options and teach you to work more systematically and be more result oriented in your golf development. This is mental training primarily of Gray and Red golf and deselecting your normal experimental and impatient approach to golf. The idea or purpose of the exercises in this Mental Scorecard is not to make a permanent change in your game style and approach to golf. The idea is to add alternatives, alternatives that you can use, when your normal approach isn’t working. Before you begin your mental round we recommend that you study the scorecard and familiarize yourself with the mental exercises at home or on the range during practice, whichever suits you best. And remember that one mental round is just the beginning. It is our experience that it only takes one or two rounds with the Mental Scorecard to you lower your handicap. All along you will be getting better and better. Also, before you start your round, we recommend that you find yourself a golf partner, who also wants to work with the Mental Scorecard. It can be difficult to get optimal results from the Mental Scorecard if everyone else is playing ordinary result oriented golf. We hope that you have a good time and wish you good luck. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 61 Hole Color Mental Scorecard for Green golfers + Focus on: Determination. Pre-routine: Before you tee off make a game plan for 1 the hole. Your plan must be created so you can play the hole to your handicap or better. Your mental routine must include a strict focus on the chosen landing area for every shot and have to include a very precise picture of what you want to do and how you are going to do it. You have to make this picture and decision before you pull out a club. Stick to your decision of how you want to hit the ball. No experiments. When you have taken your stance and are ready to strike, take two deep breaths, all the way down into your stomach. Imagine that you inhale red energy and while exhaling you push the energy out into all parts of your body. Then you start the swing. Go through this routine before all strokes. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed with this routine before each stroke and decision. Minus 2 if not. Focus on: Determination. Same routine as on hole 1. 2 Focus on: Determination. Same routine as on hole 1. 3 Focus on: Determination. Same routine as on hole 1. 4 5 Free Play and relax 6 Free Play and relax 7 Free Play and relax Focus on: Finding your Mental Sweet Spot. Pre-routine: Imagine yourself sur8 rounded by a cloud of nice, vibrant, peaceful energy. If you cannot imagine how to do that, use the energy converting method. For example, take some deep breaths, and when exhaling, imagine that you are expanding a comfort zone of energy around your body. Fill in this zone with nice feeling following the energy converting method. Visualize yourself standing in this zone. Feel the inner peace and quiet. In this state make your choices regarding iron, length, landing area and such. Learn to stay in this mental state. No speculations at all, just accept the results. Golf and life are learning processes. Keep that mental feeling while playing the hole. Give yourself 2 points if you can do that. Minus 2 if you cannot. Practice this routine on the next three holes. Focus on: Mental Sweet Spot. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Focus on: Mental Sweet Spot. Focus on: Mental Sweet Spot. Play and relax Play and relax Play and relax Focus on: Game plan. Pre-routine: Here you need to have two elements in your game. You must make a game plan before you tee off. Imagine exactly how you are going to play the hole, what clubs to use and the landing areas you are going to hit. The game plan must be security oriented. If your handicap gives you 5 strokes, then make it a 6-stroke game plan. If you got 4 make a plan to use 5. Always choosing something you know you can do with a high degree of success. Then make a pre-shot routine, which clears your mind of thoughts. Eventually use your Mental Sweet Spot routine you used on the previous holes. Give yourself 2 points if you succeed in completing this routine at every stroke. Minus 2 points if not. Focus on: Game plan and landing area. Focus on: Game plan and landing area. Focus on: Game plan and landing area. Result: Your mental handicap is your minus score 62 - Free Free Free 16 17 18 Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka Your Golf Profile Instructions On the next page there are a number of statements, all of which say something about your attitude towards golf and how you work on your game. You can answer from “Agree Completely” to “Neutral” to “Disagree. Consider the following example: I don’t think much about the social cost I sometimes pay for my results. I feel best when I have a clear plan for my practicing. I am the type of person that gets impatient if I don’t see results immediately. I always put my activities in a more long-term perspective. Agree x Partly Agree x Disagree Partly Disagree. Neutral X x Do not rank each of the following statements Indicate how much you agree or disagree with each statement with respect to golf. Think about what you focus on most and what you consider less important. You will be able to choose an answer to most statements immediately and spontaneously If in doubt remember that the questions relate only to your golf focus Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 63 Agree Partly Agree Neutral Partly Disagree. Disagree 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 I think it’s irritating to play with people who are constantly chatting away. If I am in trouble, I take my time thinking about what to do. Generally, I am not any more result oriented in my game than anyone else. I follow my feelings and hunches when I play. I’m not the type of person that keeps exact track of my score or precise statistics during my rounds. I don’t think it’s pleasant to have to tell someone they are breaking the rules, so I usually let others do the talking. I don’t have any great ambitions for what I want to achieve with my golfing. I get impatient easily, if I don’t get visible results pretty fast. I’m not the type of person who consciously tries to cheer up and comfort others who are unlucky. I always make an effort to practice and play according to a systematically laid plan. Even though some people are slow, I don’t get impatient or irritated. I have my pre-shot routines, but I can easily be inspired to change them. I’m not the type that has a well-organized system for where my irons and woods should be in my bag. Even in a situation of fierce competition, I think it’s important to have a nice time with my fellow players. If I have one thing down in my swing, it’s seldom that I experiment with changing it. I probably have a tendency to push my shots and try too hard when things are not going well. When you have responded to the 16 statements above, go to the next page to tally your points Start by comparing the two pages and circle the number that is in the same column as your answer Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 64 If you indicated that you “Agree” with the first statement, circle the number in the “Agree” field, etc. Afterwards, add up your points in each of the four focus areas furthest to the right. Integrator Focus Baser Focus Results Focus Developer Focus Baser Focus Integrator Focus Developer Focus Results Focus Integrator Focus Baser Focus Results Focus Developer Focus Baser Focus Integrator Focus Developer Focus Results focus Integrator Points Baser Points Result Points Developer Points Agree -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 Partly Agree -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 Partly Disagree. Neutral 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 2 -2 Disagree 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 4 -4 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Integrator Baser Result Developer Now you are ready to draw your Golf Focus Profile Please note that 16 points is clear out in the corners and minus 16 points is right in the middle Put a dot on the diagonal axis and connect the dots to the axes You now have your profile Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 65 Golf Profile Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 66 About Finn Havaleschka Born in 1947 in Denmark, Finn Havaleschka received commercial training before receiving his PhD in political science. He founded the Garuda Group of HRMcompanies in 1982. Since then, he has developed several personality tests for industrial psychology, leadership development, recruitment, coaching and mental training of managers, as well as athletes. He is also the author of several books about these subjects, including The Leader’s Mental Scorecard and Focused Leadership. Finn Havaleschka is a 5 handicapper and an avid golfer. In his efforts to improve, his own game he realized that he needed a method to combine the technical part of the game with the mental part. As a part of this quest, he developed the Mental Scorecard™ method. It is a method to help golfers of all ages and levels to find their Mental Sweet Spot, which is the state of mind where you are playing excellent golf – enjoying every minute of it. For individual mental training and presentations contact Mr. Havaleschka at firstname.lastname@example.org. Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 67 Focused Golf Find Your Winning Potential A Newspaper wrote: "This book represents a new and curious approach to the mental part of the game of golf.” “In a brilliant way the author helps the reader understand what goes on inside the mind.” “We have tested the system and must acknowledge that the results are very close.” “It seems to be a fact that the result of the test helps the golfer to map his own strengths and weaknesses.” “We played the Mental Scorecard, the key tool to strengthen your course management skills and ability to play well under pressure, it was fun and it worked.” Jyllandsposten A Player wrote: “Even an aging golfer who started a bit late will benefit from the Mental Scorecard suggested in this book, rather than continuing with bad habits.” Soeren Lynnerup A National Coach wrote: "The Golfer’s Mental Scorecard presents a remarkable method that should be applied by golfers at all levels. It certainly helps understand the mental approach to the game and to convert this insight into powerful mental routines to enhance course management skills and to perform under pressure." “It’s only a matter of time before the tour professionals will discover the benefits of applying the Mental Scorecard approach to their game!” Magnus Landstroem A Club Coach wrote: ”The Golf Profile is an impressive and remarkable tool to pinpoint and define the individual player’s strengths and weaknesses. I say impressive and remarkable because it is so accurate and close to reality that it almost can’t be so.” “Using this knowledge and the Mental Scorecard methods presented in the book all players in our Club team instantly improved their game.” “Today we win more matches.” Torben Nyhuus Focused Golf. ©Finn Havaleschka 68