How to play your best golf after a break
Most of us don’t get a chance to play as much golf as we’d like. Work, family and other interests keep us away from the golf course and the practice fairway. If you want to play your best golf then you have to learn how to turn up and play after a break or some time away from the game.
A key element for golfing success is a change of attitude. You have to believe that you can play great golf without having to spend large amounts of time working on your game. If you think you need to practice and play regularly to keep you game in top shape, I think you’ll always be disappointed.
Simply, us amateurs don’t have enough time in the day. While golf professionals can hone every part of their game, we have to put up with what we’ve got – and get out there and play and try and be happy.
The good news is that once your game is automated you don’t lose skill or your golf swing. It’s there waiting for you each time you need it. Below are some key points to ensure you play your best golf, even if you’re feeling a bit rusty.
- Relax and don’t panic: Keep your emotions in check. It’s easy to stress out and worry about a golf game – especially when you haven’t played in a while. It sounds easy but you need to keep your mind from spinning and focus on what you want to achieve.
- Strive for automatic: An automatic game is the key to playing your best golf. It allows you to tap into your subconscious and let that inner (and reliable) golf game shine through.
- Play your game and stick to your routine: Playing automatically will help you do this. When you start to feel uncomfortable, which can happen when you’re uncertain, the tendency is to change your approach. Some golfers go searching for a new swing and others will try too hard and play tentatively. Resist the urge to change and let your natural golf game lead the way. This may feel uncomfortable but I’m sure you’ll find this better than any alternative.
- Let go and have some fun: That term has become a bit of a cliche, but it’s true. Learning to take a deep breath, relax and swing the club without fear could transform your golf. It will help you play your best golf most of the time – and it won’t matter if you haven’t played in weeks or months. And it really is fun!
A case study
I played last Saturday for the first time in over three-weeks. It was the last big competition for the year and I was in contention to win the averages. I won’t hide the fact that I wanted to do well. Driving to the course I made a commitment to let go and play the most free flowing game I could.
Things started well. I hit a good first drive and a solid approach which lead to a birdie. This was a fun way to begin but things unraveled soon after. My driver started feeling strange and I couldn’t keep it in play. I made a few bogeys which undid my early good work.
I didn’t panic. I relaxed my mind and kept swinging freely. This is never easy and something that has taken me years to learn. In previous years I would over think the situation and usually stuff things up. But it’s different now…
… the driver still felt ordinary but I was able to keep it in play. This is the beauty of an automatic game – you might not hit the best shots, but they usually remain in play and are often better than they actually feel. This helps build confidence and allows you to break those in round golf slumps.
Although I didn’t have the best score I’ve had this year (I scored a 73), I had one of the most pleasing. I stuck to my game plan and committed to ‘letting go’ on each shot. Most satisfying was shooting a competitive score despite not playing (or practising) for nearly a month. It really was a lot of fun and it helped inspire this blog post.
This one round has given me an injection of confidence and the enthusasim to aim higher. With a bit more practice and game time I’d like to think I can still improve. Finding that time might be a problem but I’ll see how I go.