Karl Morris devised the idea of a red spot on Louis Oostenhuisen’s golf glove to signal to Louis that when he looked at the spot, the sequence to making the shot commenced. He says that Louis had the problem of not knowing when to switch on for the next shot and by looking at the spot on his glove signalled that it was time to focus.
I have long believed and teach my clients that it is impossible to concentrate for the duration of an 18-hole round, or even for 9-holes for that matter. If you try to do so, you become intense in your mind and your body becomes more rigid as you inevitably carry the memory of a bad shot with you for longer than I recommend. Incidentally, that is 10 seconds!
My clients learn that it is far easier to ‘focus on every shot’ for maybe 1 minute rather than throughout a four and a half hour round of golf. What you are doing is reducing the amount of mental application to around one and a half hours for us mere mortals and just over an hour per round for the top pros. That should be very manageable.
It bothers me that if you have something like a red spot to look at to remind you when the shot starts, what happens if you forget to look? I appreciate that Oostenhuizen didn’t forget to look the week he won The Open! But I try and teach my players to start to focus on the shot when you get ten yards from the ball. This is something you do every time you make a shot and should become second nature.
So what do you do for the remaining 3 hours or so? Well I always believe that in the 10 seconds following a shot you can either celebrate a good shot or get over it in whatever manner you feel appropriate. In either event you have another shot to play in a few minutes’ time and you will need all your powers of concentration to ensure that shot is a good one, particularly if the last one wasn’t so good.
For some golfers the general ambience of being on a beautiful golf course in the open air, breathing in goodness is sufficient. For others you need something positive to think about – maybe what car you would like, maybe your Wife (if you are a man). Maybe somebody else’s wife – whatever floats your boat!! It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s positive and it works for you.
And that is the whole point – Louis trained his mind to focus on a starting point for the shot. My players usually start to focus when they are 10 yards from the ball and can see all the necessary considerations enough to make informed decisions regarding the shot. But you have to get into the habit of doing so.
Try it and watch it improve your game and reducing your mental tiredness at the end of the round.
Incidentally, it hasn’t been reported what Louis thinks about with the excess time he now has!!
Happy Golfing, Roger