Concentrate…But Don’t Think About the Shot!

Here is some great golf advice next time your addressing the most challenging shot of the day…don’t over think it.

Easier said then done, right?

Golf is one of the most intense sports to play. Trying to get a little ball into a little hole hundreds of yards away. The closer we get to the green it seems the higher our blood pressure rises!

Intellectually we know high levels of stress can only detract from and not contribute to our golf swing mechanics and performance yet; sometimes we just can’t help it.

Well, here is some great advice to help sink the stress and the shot! Check out this post below.

It is a small excerpt from one of my favorite books on golf game improvement by Percy Boomer titled, “On Learning Golf”.

Read below why Percy Boomer believes lowering your concentration may actually increase your consistency.

“In whatever class of golf you play you will agree that the quality which enables the fellow just above you to give you strokes is not so much his ability to make shots which you cannot, as his knack of keeping his average shot nearer his best than you can. And this prime virtue of consistency is commonly credited to concentration.

And concentration is taken to mean such a pulling of oneself together, such a fixing of the mind on the task in hand, such a tight-lipped determination to do one’s best, that golf becomes a trial of nervous strength rather than a game.

Now my own observation of many thousands of golfers from neophytes to tigers is that this form of concentration does not assist the production of one’s best game. In fact I think the whole “concentration” doctrine a perversion of the truth, almost a reversal of it. I say that a golfer can only produce his true quality when he can play without concentrating (in this sense), when he can make his shots without clenching his teeth.

Nothing makes a simple physical action so difficult as does “concentration.” Consider this odd fact about walking. We pay less attention to walking down a street than to walking over a plank across a stream— and because we pay less attention to it we walk at least as straight and with much better balance, greater firmness, and greater ease.

Simply because the penalties of deviating from the straight are so much greater when crossing the plank, we feel we have to concentrate our attention on the job. And it is this attitude of over-tense attention that makes the simple and familiar act of walking straight so suddenly and curiously difficult.
Now we can translate that directly into a common golfing experience. Put the average good golfer on a tee with a fairway fifty yards wide before him, and time after time he will drive slap down the middle of it. Yet reduce the width of that fairway to fifteen yards and he will become so conscious of its narrowness—so concentrated on the importance of keeping dead straight—that time after time he will put himself well out in the rough. That is why a course with wide fairways is commonly more popular than a narrow one; the average golfer feels more comfortable about it and because he feels more comfortable, plays better.

Hitting a golf ball is not difficult, nor is walking straight, so long as the penalties of failure are not great. But introduce the plank bridge or the narrow fairway and the difficulties follow.

The desire to guide the ball dead straight increases with the need for a dead straight drive and the greater the desire the greater the difficulty! So when we stand on a tee with a narrow fairway before us, we must use our will power to inhibit the desire to guide the ball and simply perform the swing which our golfing sense tells us will send the ball straight. In fact we must forget that the plank is a bridge and simply walk across it!

This is true about the longest shot in golf, the drive; it is equally true and even more obvious about the shortest, the putt. What a simple operation is the five-foot putt on a good green when there is nothing hanging to it—and how exasperatingly difficult when it will decide the hole, the match and the half-crown!

So I repeat that if concentration means focusing all our mental attention and capacity on the problems and penalties of the shot in hand, then concentration is destructive of good golf. Good golf, consistent golf, depends upon being able to shut out our mental machinery (with its knowledge of the difficulties of the shot, the state of the game, etc.) from those parts of us which play golf shots.

Our conscious mental machinery is obsessed by the problems of getting the ball up to the hole and into the hole. Our golfing self should be concerned with something quite different, with the movements necessary to produce a good shot. These movements are controlled by remembered feel and the only concentrating we must do is in guarding this “remembered feel” from interference.

That is why when a match grows to a climax the great player is apt to become slower and slower. It is not that the putt on the last green is more difficult than that on the first; probably his experienced eye tells him all he needs to know about it at first glance. But he potters about, sometimes to the annoyance of uninitiated spectators, until he has pushed all that the putt means out of his mind, until all he is conscious of is the feel of the stroke that will hole the ball. Then, and not until then, he can hole it.”

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