I have received several positive comments from well-known golfers and golf instructors about the solid advice contained within Walking with Herb, with regard to the mental aspects of the game.
One of the first lessons Herb conveys to protagonist Joe Goodman is how to deal with pressure. Herb first explains that pressure is really just a self-generated illusion, an unhelpful response to an outside stimulus. In spite of all the TV commentators’ remarks about the pressure applied to golfers by outside circumstances, such as being in contention to win a tournament or make the cut, bad breaks, challenges from other players, etc., no person or circumstance can put pressure on you. All they can do is deliver it to your doorstep. It is entirely up to you to open your door and let it in or keep your door shut.
How do you keep your door shut? Here are some tips.
- Don’t think about results. Focus on the process of good shot-making.
- Even if you don’t feel confident, pretend that you do. Cast yourself as an actor, playing the role of a great golfer. Walk confidently, talk confidently, think confidently.
- Stay in the present. Don’t let your mind wander to how it will feel if you win or how it will feel if you lose.
Golfers think they are feeling pressure, when in reality, what they are feeling is a lack of confidence and a lack of focus. Stay focused and confident, and pressure will stay where it belongs on the front step, not inside your mind.