Better golf isn’t just about the swing, sometimes it’s about everything but.
I feel that sometimes in golf we get bogged down with the physical, which gets us emotional, which in turn makes us mental. But if we started with the mental we could take the emotional out of the game and be more clear-headed with the physical.
The people below, especially the first three, have been a huge influence to my golf improvement spanning two decades. They are all technically proficient, obviously, but their instruction goes deeper than a good take-away.
Here are 11 gems of insight from some exceptional people involved in the golfing world:
1. Tom Watson:
One of the most common causes of undue pressure is expecting to hit perfect shots. This is unrealistic; the game is far too complex to allow perfection, or even near perfection, no matter how skilled you may be.
– Tom Watson’s Strategic Golf
2. Nick Faldo:
To fulfill whatever potential you have, you need the mental resilience to focus on playing one shot, one hole, at a time.
– Faldo Swing For Life
3. Harvey Penick:
There’s no mystery to it. Anybody who plays much golf knows that about half of his shots are struck within sixty yards of the flagstick.
And yet when I see an average golfer practicing, where is he? Most likely he is on the range, banging away with his driver.
– The Wisdom of Harvey Penick
4. Lee Trevino:
If you really want to learn how to putt, putt with only one ball. You putt and then you have to retrieve it. You have to get it before you can hit another putt. That’s how you learn to putt. Once you start hitting more than one ball from the same spot you’re wasting your time.
– Be the Ball by Charlie Jones and Kim Doren
5. Jack Nicklaus:
I never missed a putt in my mind.
6. Seve Ballesteros:
Hitting thoughtless shots is the fastest way to defeat. No one likes to play aggressive golf more than me, but at times it’s better to temper your ambition.
– Golf Digest
7. Sam Snead:
The old pros use to teach by Waltz time; la la. You saw that in my swing, I know, that; la la la la … bumbph, bumbph. I try to make my swing, I call it oil, where I have no effort to try to hit, jump, or jerk. No jerk. It’s just up and then it flows together.
8. Moe Norman:
Try smarter, not harder.
– Golf Digest
9. Bob Rotella:
Golf is about how well you accept, respond to, and score with your misses much more so than it is a game of your perfect shots.
10. Deepak Chopra:
Fear and anxiety are enormously amplified in this game; the tiniest tension in a major muscle group can throw the swing off drastically. Golf can’t be mastered until you confront your emotions.
– Golf For Enlightenment
11. Bobby Jones:
As I see it, the thing that hurt my putting the most when it was bad, was thinking too much about how I was making the stroke and not enough about getting the ball in the hole.