By Kiel Alderink
It is a hot and sunny day without a cloud in the sky. We are on the 12th hole of a big qualifying tournament. I am watching one of my players compete but was drawn to another player in the group.
This player went lights out on the front 9 shooting -3, 33.
I saw a shift in this players demeanor after confirming the front 9 hole scores. The guys in his group gave him their respects after his good start.
However, there was a shift in body language as he set his ball on a tee on the 10th hole ready to drive.
His actions did not look as sharp and he started giving an intense gaze to the target. He swung the club, sent the ball out, and then sighed as he barely made contact. He hit it into the left rough into a tough position. He proceeded to fight through the hole with a bogey. He then bogied the 11th hole.
As we are on the 12th tee, I noticed how fidgety he became. He started looking at the target more often in a way that screamed “I am not comfortable”.
Then his caddy said something interesting…
He said “just focus on your target and hit it… stop thinking…”
I knew what was about to happen to this poor player… it was going to unravel on him.
He proceeded to bogey the next 5 holes straight and double bogied the last hole to miss qualifying for the tournament by a few shots.
So how did I know what was about to come? It seemed like really great advice for someone struggling to just think of the target and hit it.
The answer is… depends on how you are wired.
You see, something that we have to understand is that everyone is wired differently. (Find out how you are wired by taking our assessment for free at www.mentalgolftype.com)
Some players actually need to stay into their space and forget about the target. The target actually becomes a stressor for these players.
This player was great the entire front 9 because he was rehearsing his “move” and executing. He had very little attention on the actual target. His focus was very narrow. He looked calm.
The warning signs became when he started taking in too much of the target. When his caddy told him to just think of target it was game over…
There are players that need to be target oriented and some need to be player oriented.
There are players that need to talk their shots out and there are players that need to internalize everything.