Playing Golf vs Hitting Good Golf Shots


Phil Mickelson, this years Masters Champion is maturing as a golfer. His game has always been terrific. He can hit many different shots and is a wizard with the short game. In the past, his putting might let him down and his shot selection might get him into trouble. Most golfers understand that there is a very big difference between hitting good golf shots and playing good golf. In the sport of tennis the same thing can happen.
There are many players who can hit the tennis ball well and serve with great speed. However, playing the game of tennis involves a different talent. The players who learn to play the game properly are the players who tend to perform at a higher level over time. This is true in golf and in tennis as well as other sports and business. Andre Agassi is a great example. When he first entered the pro tour he was a great ball striker; and was unlike anything the circuit had ever seen. He won regularly that first year, then the tour began to understand how to play him and his successes dwindled. Andre, over time, learned how to PLAY tennis and he became a great champion.
Phil Mickelson appears to have learned how to PLAY winning golf. It may seem strange to say that a player of this caliber has learned how to PLAY winning golf but I believe its true. The fact that he had a great game plan, prepared properly and executed his plan allowed the other parts of his game to flourish more consistently. The result of his clear vision and purpose is now greater confidence, clarity, higher awareness and a calm sense of enjoyment. All of these were present throughout the week. Phil carried himself with a very different sense of himself. Some will say it is because he is winning more. This is true and I believe the winning and the better play is a result of what Phil has done with his inner game.
Are you a ball striker or are you a player who knows how to play the game of golf? Here are some things to consider.
1. Be comfortable with YOUR game
Know what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. Play to your strengths as often as possible. Work on your weaker areas away from the game but when you play; play to your strengths and be comfortable with it.
2. Play the shot that is presented to you
The golf course is always providing you the information you need to make a smart decision. Its all right there in front of you; water, bunkers, doglegs, rough, etc. If you remain calm you can pick up the exact information you need to make the best choice possible in any situation. When emotions become too intense; decision making is negatively affected.
3. Focus on controlling yourself; not the golf course
When players say they managed the golf course well, what they really managed was themselves. Managing the golf course is often talked about in books and Mickelson was described as managing the course very well at the Masters. However, you cant manage the golf course well unless you first manage yourself well. Isnt this true? Managing the golf course means making optimal decisions, not forcing outcomes, not taking unnecessary risks, etc. All these things can happen when you manage yourself first; when you are mentally clear, emotionally resilient and physically calm.
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    Copyright 2006 All Rights Reserved. David Breslow is a Speaker/Author/Performance Coach who works with Athletes (PGA/LPGA) and businesses to help people perform at the top of their game. His approach is not business as usual and creates faster shifts in how people think, feel and perform every day. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio and has spoken to both large and small corporations across the country. To get more information or reach David call: 847.681.1698 or email: or visit the web: To order, Wired To Win click here OR call toll free: 1.888.280.7715.