Time for some respite from the coronavirus, methinks. We all know how it is impacting life and golf, so there’s no need to be going over it here.
Instead, let’s turn our minds back to the greatest game of all and the multitude of ways it weaves itself into our daily thoughts and actions.
One of the great appeals of golf is that no matter what level you play, it is at least as much a cerebral pursuit as it is physical.
From Rory down, the key to playing your best golf is to match your physical abilities with your mental game.
Discipline, imagination, creativity and visualisation are just some of the skills shared by the very best in the game’s history that have nought to do with grip, posture or swing plane.
(Interestingly, all these skills can be practised at least as easily as swing drills during this period of self-isolation. Just saying.)
Perhaps the most obvious example of the intersection of mind and body to produce the extraordinary was the great Seve Ballesteros.
Physically gifted and able to play almost any shot – especially around the greens – it was Seve’s imagination which ultimately dictated what route he would choose to the hole.
To paraphrase the man himself, his shot selection consisted of visualising every conceivable way of reaching the final target until, finally, the correct one made itself obvious.
It would be a stretch to say the mental side of golf is overlooked, particularly in the past two decades when sports psychologists such as Bob Rotella have gained popularity.
But it would also be fair to say that – not by accident – it is mostly better players who pay any attention to that side of the game.
To the recreational player, there is something much more appealing about a new driver or wedge than a fresh copy of Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect.
Some would argue that at the recreational level it is a lack of physical skills holding most players back and if regularly shooting in the 70’s is the goal there may be some truth to that. For some.
But in reality, there are many golfers physically capable of regularly breaking 80 who never do simply because of a lack of attention to the way they think on course.
Craig Parry once said he could save the average 20 handicap golfer 10 shots in a round simply by caddying for them and making better decisions.
That’s a big claim but even when pressed he didn’t shy away from it because, according to the multiple tournament winner, that’s how bad most people are at simply matching the shots they attempt with their physical competence.
It’s an interesting thought to ponder, particularly if you’re in Parry’s target market. When was the last time you REALLY thought about your game and where your shots disappear?
With most states starting to follow Victoria’s lead and courses closing, now might be a great time to start.
Who knows what you might learn?