There is one simple reason why many golfers struggle.
It’s usually because they believe something which isn’t true.
For example a golfer will have problems if they believe they are aiming at the target, when in fact they are aiming way right.
This mistake would be obvious to anyone standing behind the golfer, yet they themselves are oblivious to it.
It’s often difficult to be aware of your beliefs from the inside, so to speak.
They act as a sort of filter, allowing through information which confirms them, while making us oblivious to information which contradicts.
This phenomenon is apparent in many areas of life, not just golf.
Just like the golfer in the example above, we don’t realise we even have a mistaken belief until it is pointed out.
Or, we get to a point where our results are such that we feel the need to step back and make a more objective assessment of what might be going wrong.
Either way, it’s not until we start to question our beliefs that our experience is likely to change.
Which can be difficult, because many of the beliefs we have about golf are deeply ingrained in the culture of the sport.
When you are watching or listening to the Masters this week, keep an ear open for all the beliefs that are thrown into the commentary as objective facts.
“That performance last week will give him confidence.”
“That swing came from thinking about what happened on this hole last year.”
“This is a really scary shot.”
Whenever a comment is made about a golfer’s thoughts or state of mind, it’s at best an educated guess.
There is no way the commentator can know exactly what a player is thinking.
Now being a golf commentator isn’t easy.
Your job is to explain and add context and flavour to the picture on the screen.
But notice how often the commentator, often an ex-player, offers their opinion as if it were fact, or projects their personal beliefs onto the golfer playing the shot.
It’s helpful to bear in mind, that what makes good television is a good story.
And as someone once said; ‘why let the facts get in the way’?
But from your own perspective as a golfer stepping onto the course at the weekend, how helpful is it to get caught up in the story you are telling yourself about what this shot, putt or round might mean in the wider scheme of things?
Most golfers play better when they have some detachment from the outcome.
When you get caught up in your beliefs, or even worse, in someone else’s, maintaining that detachment can be hard.
Enjoy the golf at the weekend, whether you are watching or playing.
Just keep an eye out for those beliefs that you might be taking as ‘reality’.