Why Golf is the Thinking Person’s Game

World Golf Hall of Famer Chi Chi Rodriguez once said, “Golf is a thinking man’s game. You can have all the shots in the bag, but if you don’t know what to do with them, you’ve got trouble”.

Nothing can better describe the game of golf than this statement from one of golf’s greats. There has been much said about golf being more of a mental game than a physical one. Yet, coaches and players emphasize training more than thinking.

Isn’t it true? Some days when even if you hit with your eyes closed, the ball lands in the spot you want it to. And then there are those days when even your best efforts land in the pond. So, why the difference?

Mental golf frustration

Most coaches and instructors focus to help players with their technique. Yet, even with perfect technique and skill, most amateurs are unable to find success if they step up to the professional level. Where they are found lacking is the mental part of golf. Mental golf has become as important as the game itself. Recent publications about golf place greater stress on golf psychology. This has also popularized the trend of players having mental game coaches apart from their golf training mentors.

The best example when it comes to mental golf (rather golf overall) is Tiger Woods. His father Earl Woods, who was his coach during his formative years, frequently said that there isn’t and won’t be a golfer mentally tougher than Tiger. Looking at Tiger’s success and consistency over the years, there is little doubt that he was correct.

Tiger Woods mental golf

The fundamental shortcoming of working solely on playing technique is that all work is done on the driving range. There are no hurdles or distractions, and the pressure is nowhere near same as experienced in a real game of golf. Why Tiger excels (excelled) in big match situation is because his father was able to replicate that atmosphere on the driving range.

He used to throw balls at his feet or make noise with coins or just call out to him to distract him. Tiger was initially disdainful of this whole process but gradually accepted it and now doesn’t get distracted by anything when on the golf course.

Tiger Woods is perhaps the greatest golfer ever. All of it comes down to the fact that his mental golf is strong and he is able to use it to enhance his physical golf. This should be the aim of every coach and trainer out there: toughen up a golfer’s mind; everything else will fall into place.

Images by Gorilla Golf Blog, Keith Allison

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