Psyched Online

LETTER OF THE MONTH

TO: questions@psychedonline.org
FROM: XXXXXX@hotmail.com
SUBJECT: The Last Holes
DATE: Thu, 21 May 2003

I have a pattern in my golf game that is getting on my nerves. My friends and I play on a 9 hole course. For the first 7 holes, I usually shoot about two to four shot over par…which is pretty good for me and the amount of times I play. The eighth and ninth holes drive me nuts. It’s not that they are particularly difficult. This pattern is so consistent that it’s become a problem in my mind. I anticipate the collapse. Do you have any suggestions?

TO: XXXXXX@hotmail.com
FROM: questions@psychedonline.org
SUBJECT: RE: The Last Holes
DATE: Mon, 26 May 2003

Response: One thought is that you are subconsciously tightening down as you approach the last holes. If that is happening your muscles become stiff and the flow of your stroke is shifting. It is good to make sure that your pre-shot routine does not change. Check your hands when you take the club in your hand. Does it feel soft? Over gripping is a common pattern with stress. You may be gripping too tightly even before the last two holds. If so, your hands may get tired. Keep it loose. Remind yourself to let the club do the work. If you swing evenly, the club will take the ball where it should go. Another thought is not to think about the total score of the round. This could be creating pressure. You might want to try playing a round without scoring at all. Just see the hole that you are playing and the shot that sits in front of you. Muscle relaxation exercises can help starting with your finger tips and proceeding through your arms. Again, check to see if you are doing anything different in the last two holes. Get back to us if you need more ideas.

Paul Schienberg, Ph.D.