By Roger Knick, The Golf Performance Center

It’s funny how and what we think will make the biggest difference in our golf scores.  Many of us will assume that the more we practice and berate ourselves over bad shots, we are “cracking the whip” on improvement showing everyone we don’t tolerate bad shots or missed putts.  Good players don’t miss shots or putts, so we think!

What is the difference between someone who has made the transition from a bad golfer to a good golfer to great golfer?  A lot of people will say it’s natural talent, well, talent may be a part of the equation because it is the most talked about.  Maybe it’s good instruction or perhaps luck makes someone great?   Believe it or not, luck does have a part in it!  However, research on high performers finds talent, instruction and luck take a backseat to gratitude in someone’s ability to reach their greatest potential.   GRATITUDE!

That’s right, gratitude. Be thankful or grateful for what you have or don’t have because it all matters to who you are!  If you can have gratitude every time you play the game or every day that you have the ability to do something that many aren’t able to do like go outside, walk a beautiful golf course, gratitude is a freeing experience!  Be thankful for a bad break or lie in the bunker because it provides an opportunity to embrace the challenge!  It will free you up to accept that not every golf challenge will go your way but many of them will and when they do you will be able to think better on the course and off course. You can make better decisions; your mind is not caught up on being entitled to be the great golfer on every shot.  Playing with gratitude will allow you to relax the judgement of your shots, not highlight everything you do wrong but rather give some weight to some good shots too.

Process, follow your process, the easiest way to find flow state is to follow the same process, to make it automatic.  Your process should allow you to always find “home” or a “safe” place to work in. This leads to the ability to accept the good shots and bad shots, allowing for the possibility for either to happen as a part of the journey.

Acceptance, none of us like hitting bad shots, but we need to learn how to accept them!  They are going to happen!  By learning how to accept the consequences, good or bad it allows us to free up space in our mind to execute to our fullest potential.  So the next time you hit a bad shot, act like you knew that may happen and give yourself a few seconds to accept it and move on.  When you berate or beat yourself up over bad shots and never praise yourself for good shots, you will eventually be standing over every shot thinking that you don’t know what is about to happen but it probably won’t be good!  Since you are already thinking about what you are going to say to yourself when you hit a bad shot, you do not allow good flow into the shot.

Be kind to yourself, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a reaction to hitting a bad shot, but also be ready to give some praise for a good shot!  The game is harder and the competition fierce, enjoy the game!

“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games, 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

Enjoy Your Journey!