Don't Lose Your Focus

Question: I have a "mental problem" that bothers me and sometimes affects my game. A couple years ago I was playing and an older friend was on the tee. I was behind his line and he hit a bad shot. He got mad at himself and after some prodding it came out that he couldn't hit well with people in front of or in back of his line.

"Maybe I caused it myself, but then I realized when people are on my line, front or back, I mishit drives or screw up putts. Since then I have gone on a mini crusade to have people stand in the "right" place, i.e. off the line and somewhat out of sight. The rule book says on the first page of etiquette not to stand in front of or in back of one addressing the ball.

"Sometimes I have to tell the same people 5-6 times a round to get off my line. I ask them where would Tiger stand for a Duval shot? They say we're not pros. But, it really shouldn't make a difference. Frequently, they want to see how the putt goes and get a free read, but I have to move them away. Their lack of consideration & etiquette causes me to lose some concentration and throws off some shots.

"These guys are friends otherwise... I addressed our club annual meeting and they shined it to 'let's try to be considerate of others" They didn't want to make a big deal out of it. I'm ready to bring the rule book out & show them. Any ideas?"

Right or wrong, this golfer has allowed his situation to get blow out of proportion and affect his game. Here is a reply.

The answer to your question is simple. It's not fair or proper that other golfers don't care or pay attention to where they stand. However, it is merely a fact and you are allowing it to get you angry and upset which throws off your concentration and chemistry.

Just learn to treat is as a fact and hit or putt the ball. Even Tiger Woods had to learn to ignore cameras clicking in the middle of his backstroke.

The big lesson to learn is that we tend to let our negative emotions get in the way of what we are trying to accomplish. Train your mind that facts are merely facts and don't let them become an excuse for you losing your focus.


P.S.: Do you feel nervous on the first tee? Do you feel under pressure sometimes when putting to win? Are shots over water a problem for you? Then this problem can be a mental one. Here is a program that I can recommend to help you overcome it: The mental side of golf



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