Mental errors

31/07/2011 at 11:33

It never ceases to amaze me how much of golf is in the head. I used to do a little thing with a pal when we played socially we would add up our mental errors. Both decent golfers, and both of us would pride ourselves on solid course management. It wasnt scientific, but we would keep a mental tally of what poor judgment, mental errors cost us during the round. Maybe even a quarter shot for a small error. You get the drift. We would invariably end up with 3 or more shots from mental errors! It was amazing to us and caused me to refocus on the mental side of the game.

Played in an event last week that I really wanted to do well at (scratch 27 holes). Always a mistake to have that strong desire as I hacked first 3 holes for 6 over. From there no way I could win but a Top 10 would be good, so had incentive to grind it out. Things improve and stand on 8th tee, easiest hole on course, just 330yds, straight, elevated small green with rough in front, so its hit it 220 or so then wedge at pin. For some crazy reason rather than just knocking it down the fairway I decide I will aim a bit left and fade it onto fairway. Caught a protruding branch of tree on left, ball bounced away into crap, result double. Two+ shots down the drain for a bad mental error. I finished 8th, and was 2 shots off being 3rd, so that stupid mental error cost me a Top 3 finish.

Playing 5 hour round in humidity its hard to remain focused, but when one lapses, it can be very costly. So the moral is, engage brain! (I may have that tattood on the back of my hand, always wanted a tattoo and could never think what to get).

31/07/2011 at 11:37
I was going to have "Think It Through" tattooed on my hand but was too many letters.
31/07/2011 at 15:41

Agree Creo, I rarely get flutsred by a bad shot because the way I see it I should have bad shots due to my limited skill.

But a bad decision or mental error does rile me a bit because that is completely in my control.

Today I played fourballs in the Captain/Pro challenge. Myself and another member vs the Cpatain and Pro. I quietly told my partner on the first tee that I didn't just want to win but I wanted to win big. We both smiled and went to the job in hand. Of course we lost the first hole but we then gathered ourselves to win 6 and 5. Of course once this finishing line was reached I played awful for the final 5 holes, it was like all my focus had been used to win the match and there was nothing left.

We ended up halving the back 9, which was ok, but still it would have been nice to bang another nail in the coffin.

Next week is the club champs, I have no chance of winning because it is gross, but I would still like to stay focussed for the 36 holes and beat my hcap off the Blue tees.

Any tips for 36 hole comps?

31/07/2011 at 15:50

tip for a 36er use a buggy if allowed,tiredness is the biggest loser of concentration.

also plenty of fluids,dehydration is the other big one for losing your way.

31/07/2011 at 16:20
No buggies for rent and I wouldn't humiliate myself in using one in the club champs. This isn't America and I'm not that old.
31/07/2011 at 16:29
Pengy - You must stay hydrated (as funky has said), if you normally carry use a trolley and fill it with bottles of water and some of that isotonic stuff. Snack bars, bananas etc help. For some of us just walking 36 holes is a killer but even if you are fit the concentration goes, the hydration etc does help to maintain a reasonable level for the final 9 holes. Other big thing to remember is you cant win (or achieve your personal goal) during the first 18 holes, but you can lose it in the first 18, so play it real safe and solid, then see where you are after 18 and play the next 18 accordingly (aggressive or passive). One other thing is forget handicaps and handicap goals, its a gross comp, think of it as a gross event, but of course on the tough holes playing then for bogey is no bad thing. Good luck.
31/07/2011 at 16:38

Thanks Creo, I'll need it. The big blue tees come out next week, the greenkeeper loses his sense of humour and the pins get tucked away.

Saying that I am playing progressivley better over the last 3 weeks culminating in beating our pro today in fourballs 6 and 5

Good point about the 18 holes target though, just don't shoot myself out of it.

31/07/2011 at 20:57

It would of course be interesting in Creo's definition of a 'mental error' and presumably without the benefit of hindsight. Hindsight bias can have a much greater influence than most people realise. For instance, how many times has one played a shorter club from the tee, only to put in the cabbage! Is this a mental error or an operational error?

I'm a bit of a plodder on the course and I like to think I make the most out my game. Not long off the tee so I try to make up for it by making very few mental errors. Today was fairly typical, not hitting the ball too good but managed to shoot 4 over par in the monthly medal, despite a number of missed birdie putts. Were these missed putts 'mental errors' or just the fact I was putting like Stevie Wonder with a touch like a rapist? The course was playing easy today with a good bit of run and a gentle breeze - so 1 under my handicap is not a great score. 

01/08/2011 at 13:16

Hi Pen

Another tip for 36 holers is to take a change of socks and shoes for the second 18.  New feet feel wonderful. 

01/08/2011 at 13:27
Ray Rapp - I dont have any formal definition of a mental error, but to me its basically a poor decision or poor judgment that costs in some way. For example in the case I mentioned in my original post that cost me effectively 2 strokes. Another example that happens a lot to us all, not factoring the wind sufficiently, it may only result in a shot coming up short on the green, but a well struck shot to the known distance should finish much closer than the shot that hasnt factored the wind correctly. However, the smaller mental errors while they contribute to a lower score usually arent the ones that hurt the most. Its the real bad decsions that bump up the score. I am not referring to bad strokes, or hindsight.
01/08/2011 at 14:01

I'm with you on this Creo, Saturday I'm 2 over after the front nine and feeling happy with my progress.

Now our tenth is a par 5 right to left dogleg with the ground also falling away right to left with trees down the left.

Now I would normally aim down the right, if I tug it left I'm on the fairway if I hit it straight I'm in the first cut of rough and if it goes right I'm on the ninth fairway with no damage done.

So what do I do - switch off the brain and aim down the middle - pull the drive, and end up with a lost ball in the trees, one double bogey later I'm gutted and then end up 3 putting the next two holes.

Focus is so important, I'm determined to work hard on this for next week.

01/08/2011 at 14:11
The other thing is that the lower the scores you shoot, i.e. lower the handicap, and closer to scratch, the more impact mental errors cause. If you are a 24 handicapper, make a silly mental mistake that costs you two shots you can recover from it without too much difficulty, I mean its a pain but not a disaster. But play in scratch type events and just blow 2 shots to the field by a silly mental mistake, thats 2 shots you will struggle to get back.
Your say
email image