Champion Traits – Persistence. Never give up! Truer words have never been spoken

I know you’ve heard this before…but if you want to be the best that you can be, you must learn to never give up and keep trucking. Golf has a funny way of giving up surprises from time to time, sometimes when you least expect it.

A champion golfer immerses himself in his golf routine shot after shot year after year. There is no option of giving up or doing anything differently. Once he has found what works – he keeps doing it! There’s no need to change!

A good routine is more than a physical approach to the ball- far more. A good routine consists of the physical routine and more importantly the mental routine.

The physical routine is not important. I believe you should not get too regimented in a physical pre-shot routine, but rather, adopt a style that suits you on each day you play. Some days you may feel like having a practice swing or two…other days it might not seem important. Just go with the flow and do what feels good on each shot.

The mental routine is crucial to a better game. You cannot be so unpredictable with your mental routine. The goal should always be the – get your game into automatic mode. This maximises your chances of performing to your best!

When you learn to go automatic with each shot you play, you give yourself no chance of giving up. You will keep going to the very end!

A personal example:

Playing for my golf team earlier this year I was in big trouble in my match. I reached the tenth tee 5 down and then lost the 10th hole to go 6 down. After my opponent sunk a long putt on the 11th I had to make a 3 metre putt to remain 6 down. Although I was in all sorts of trouble I stuck to my routine, went automatic and nailed the putt in the middle. Still 6 down but only 7 holes to play.

I narrowly missed birdie on 12 – my opponent had a downhill putt to win the match. The putt slid by a metre or so. Somehow, and for the first time all day, he missed a short putt. I was back, but still a long way from getting into the match.

The 13th hole was a tricky par 3. I was told that no one had hit the green for an hour or so. Again, I followed my routine (both physical and mental) and hit a great shot to 3 metres. This was a firm green. My opponent’s ball went over the green, leaving an impossible chip. He could only make a four which gave me an easy win.

I won the 14th and 15th holes with par scores. This got the match back to 2 down with three to play. I was now a chance if I could keep going.

The 16th hole as crucial. I hit my approach close to the hole. My opponent went over the green (again) but played the most incredible chip shot to give himself a chance. When my birdie putt found the hole I was only one down with two to play.

I won the 17th hole when my opponent couldn’t get his third shot from a bunker close to the pin. My par 4 was good enough to get the match back to square.

By now this was the only match alive. To add to the drama the day’s results rested on the outcome. I started feeling the pressure, I had made up a six hole deficit but still needed to play the last hole well. It would have been easy to lose concentration and make a poor swing. I forced myself (through discipline) to go through my routine and trust my swing.

We both found the fairway and then the green. My ball was further from the hole (about 5 metres) so I was away. For about the 70th time that day I went through my routine. I looked at the hole, walked up to the ball and in a perfectly automated stroke sunk the putt. When my opponent missed his putt I had manged to win the last seven holes to win on the last green.

To be honest I hadn’t done anything special to win. I kept playing the same way all day. I received some help from my opponent who started to struggle and made some poor decisions. But this is sport! What I did well was hang in there. I trusted my approach and persisted with my game despite being six holes down. I resisted the temptation to change my swing, play aggressively or just give up.

The beauty of playing automatically is that you really have no choice. You can only play with what has been programed in. You have no other option. This I believe is the best and only way golfers should play the game. An automatic game allows you to reach your full potential and maximises your chances of entering the magical stage of peak performance.

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