101 Golf Secrets
Golf Secrets 82 - 84: Mental
ALL BY DR. BOB ROTELLA
Sport Psychologist and Golf Digest Advisor, with Alan P. Pittman
82 -- HOW TO SINK AN IMPORTANT PUTT
When David Duval made that six-footer to shoot 59 at the '99 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, he told me he didn't even read it. "Doc," he said, "I just got over it, saw it and putted it. I trusted my instincts." Part of David's joy was shooting 59; part was knowing he could trust his judgment in that situation.
Chris DiMarco trusted his instincts when he sank the winning putt at last year's Presidents Cup (above). You should do the same. See yourself making the putt. Once you have a chance, trust your instincts and have the attitude that you don't care if it doesn't go in.
83 -- HOW TO RELAX
The way to calm down is to say, "Who knows if I'm going to win or play well today? What I know is what I have control over. I'm going to do my routine, pick my target and commit to every shot." But people say, "What if my mind starts racing?" To be good, you have to recognize these things quickly and remind yourself to think only about the shot at hand.
84 HOW TO HIT IT OVER THE WATER
There's one hole the pros really fear, and it's not the 17th at Sawgrass. It's the 15th at Augusta National. They're usually standing on a downhill slope staring at water short and long. It requires a precise shot. If they hit the ball long or fat with a longer club or spin it too much with a wedge, they'll end up wet.
When an amateur tells me she has a problem hitting over water on a hole at her course, I tell her to take some balls one evening, and practice hitting shots over the water until she sees herself do it successfully a lot. Look at it as a challenge, and visualize yourself keeping it dry until the water doesn't exist in your mind.
Images from top: Stephen Szurlej; AP Photo; Jonathan Carlson