There’s a lot of info on Internet land on how to stop the golfing yips. Didn’t think I should add to that list today (have have done something about putting yips over here) and thought it would be a much better idea to write about how you get the golfing yips. In this context the golfing yips can be lack of belief, nervousness, poor play and just a general lack of confidence.
Here are some ideas on killing your flow, sabotaging your self-trust and ruining your golf game:
Thinking about your handicap: Get out there and worry about your handicap and try and calculate what certain scores will do for it. This is a brilliant strategy to get distracted. You’ll end up in the future and there’s little chance you’ll play that well. It’s a perfect way to forget about what golf is all about (playing the game and hitting the ball) and get totally lost in a meaningless number.
Think about your score: Please don’t ignore your score. Keep track of each stroke and predict what score you’re going to have. If you’re going well you should start planning your victory speech – this is will ensure you get too far ahead of yourself and then the rot will really set it.
Hit a shot while wondering if your grip is right: Now you can replace “grip” with any part of your swing. But here’s the good bit – if you make a swing while thinking about your swing you’ll never be able to play any good. You’ll limit yourself, almost like playing with a straitjacket and you’ll be sure to get yippy. Most golfers do this by default but I thought I’d remind you just in case you’ve forgotten this pearl.
Listening to your playing partners: If you’re playing along there’s no better way to ruin your day by listening to those playing partners.
“you’re swinging too quickly”, “geez Fred, you’re playing well today”, “your swing looks a little off” is the kind of thing that will stop you dead in your tracks. If you try and implement any of this advice there’s no doubt your game will sink even further into the doldrums.
Make excuses: This is a beauty if you want to fall off the wagon. Whatever you do please don’t accept results and move on, but rather, make up all sorts of excuses about your poor play.
The bad luck
See how adventurous you can get. These kind of excuses tie in nicely with your Pesky mind and will completely destroy any chance of you playing decently. It’s a good strategy because it ensures a long, slow and painful golf career. You’ll yip, flinch and your game will have no flow and consistency will be a distant memory.
Stop picking targets: There’s nothing like not knowing your target to cause your system to melt down. Think about it? If you don’t have a target how on earth are you able to strike a good one? You can’t! So NOT picking targets should be high up on your list if you don’t want to play good golf. There’s no doubt that a month or two of playing rudderless golf will give you a good dose of the golfing yips.
Play golf with thoughts on statistics: “How many greens have I hit today?” This is a belter of a way to get out of the moment and start playing in some contrived manner. Trying to hit 12 greens (or achieving some other stat) is like playing golf with an arm tied behind your back. Stats and stuff is interesting and all but they happen as a result of playing the game. You really can’t control them and you certainly shouldn’t be thinking about stats when you’re on the course – but then again, if playing your best isn’t important then go for your life.
Give up: Golf is hard and at times completely unfair. So if it all gets too hard then why don’t you give up? Quit. There you go, that feels better doesn’t it? When you give up, your golf game will resemble an under 10’s hockey match and from here it’s all down hill. Mission accomplished.
Believe that you’re not good enough and you’ll never improve: We’re all wired the same way and we all have the some capacity to get better. There’s nothing stopping you from playing golf in a way that you find truly satisfying. Nuttin’. If you feel sorry for yourself and want to derail your learning system then please tell yourself that you’re not capable of better form. Keep at it long enough and you’ll have no confidence and start drowning in self-doubt. Good luck with that.
Play the game to please your golf coach: There might not be a better way to ruin your game then to play golf in a way to please others. It’s your game and YOU must learn to play your way. Lot’s of golfers doubt their ability and seem to think they need others to tell them what to do. And this is what a lot of the golf industry is built on – golfers have been suckered into believing that they’re not good enough and the only way to play decently is to listen to this coach or play in a certain way. It’s an awesome strategy to limit yourself and ensure your improvement is as slow as possible. Go for it if that’s your thing.
Trying too hard: Here’s a fan favourite. The serious golfer gets onto the first tee with his fancy club, takes a hundred practice swings and then attempts to hit the ball. Before he executes he reminds himself of last week’s lesson.”Swing on plane” or “rotate and turn”. He fumbles over the ball and then takes an eternity to pull the trigger. This golfer has no chance because he’s trying too hard. He believes golf is a truly difficult game and unless he consciously attempts to do everything correctly he’ll fail. But the poor golfer is too lost to realise he’s getting in his own way and he’ll never be any good. The accountant/doctor/lawyer/engineer types usually fall into this category. It has your name all over it if playing well doesn’t interest you.
Look for a miracle cure: Golfers. We’re a strange bunch. There are a few million or so that go to the golf course each week hoping for a miracle. Maybe they’ve read Golf Digest the night before and believe that the latest gimmick on hitting every fairway and green is going to work. When it fails, and it always does, this lost soul is forced to come up with some other quick tip. Never mind that this kind of learning goes against the way we master all other skills and the fact it has never worked. It’s quite comical to see these golfers try tip after tip and get all excited when they play that flush shot. Pity when the very next shot lands in the water. The frustration on their faces – when they think they’ve done the same thing but got a completely different result. Yep it’s funny and this method must be considered by you if you NEVER want to play to your potential.
A special mention must also go to:
Change clubs every other week
Neglect the short game
Throw course strategy out the window
Take your ego out onto the golf course
I’m sure there’s more but this is a good list for starters. Feel free to add your own ideas and definitely ignore this post if playing good golf is important to you.