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Maximizing Your Mental Game for Match Play Match play is a great format for developing your mental game because it’s essentially a series of mini-matches, one hole at a time, rather than a shot-by-shot, cumulative measurement of your performance. Unfortunately, many golfers experience unnecessary pressure in match play events simply by focusing on the wrong things. To avoid succumbing to the typical distractions that can creep in and wreak havoc during match play, here are 5 rules to help you keep your head in the game Target the Right Competitor Your perception of your circumstances has a great impact on your performance, so make sure you are competing against the right opponent. In match and stroke play, your competition should always be (1) the course, and (2) improving on your last best performance, stroke by stroke. To focus on what another is player is or isn’t doing at any point will shift your attention and energy off the factors needed to maximize your own game. Keep Your Eye on the Ball It’s important to keep your focus moving forward. Once a shot is played, it’s over, and it’s time to focus on the next opportunity that lies before you. There’s no making up in golf, so you’ve got to learn to leave the past behind you. Choose to play within your game, attending to one shot at a time. Ride the Wave of Pressure If you want to play competitively, you must accept the fact that you’re going to

experience pressure and nerves from time to time. Nerves may increase when you work hard to take the lead, or to maintain it. Keep in mind that the presence of nerves signals your readiness to meet the challenge before you. Embracing your nerves will help you leverage the power they can provide to reach your full potential. Smile When it Hurts åGolfers often have no idea that their body language reflects exactly what they are feeling inside. If you find yourself down a hole or two, don’t give your opponent more of an advantage by letting him know you are less than thrilled with your performance. The best way to maintain a winner’s attitude is to continually identify the strengths worth repeating in every shot, even the acomplete miss hits. There is value in every shot. Stop Trying Did you know that when you try, you are only giving yourself a 50/50 chance at success? There’s no sense in playing a shot if you aren’t completely committed to producing a successful outcome. Play the shots you know you can make, and use the clubs you know you can trust. Believe in your ability that you’ve worked so hard to develop, and play with an expectation of success. Learning to apply these basic guidelines in your match play challenges will assist you in playing smarter, freeing your talent and increasing your enjoyment of the game. For more information on improving your mental game visit



The only full size golf magazine dedicated to the SW Florida area. Golf information, tournament and events info, course listings, lessons,...

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