Monday, February 2, 2009

Match Play Magic - An Excerpt

Match Play Magic

The key to winning golf especially match play is to have zero expectations.
By zero expectations, I don’t mean to say that one should have a careless attitude about everything.

You ought to have expectations about what you are personal capability, your composure, shot selection – things you are able to control.

What you ought to have zero expectations about are things without your control. Some examples of these things are wind strength, direction, the distance your opponent smashes his drives, whether or not he is able to make his putt; and if you play in tournaments – whether the referee rules to or away from your favor.

If one gets excited (happy or angry) with things outside of one’s control, it can only lead to one’s emotions to the subject to the whims of others (human or otherwise). Sure, you may be able to catch lightning in a bottle twice, but sooner or later the law of probabilities will catch up with you.

After you have assimilated the sections teaching you how to learn, improve as much as you desire; and having a game plan, the next step would be to master yourself, specifically your emotions.

Emotion is defined as a feeling; of anger, peace, courage or fear.

Having a zero expectation about things outside your control is very beneficial. When you have the mindset that anything can happen on the golf course, you cease to have any unrealistic or imagined expectations.

An example of these are, your opponent fluffing a tap in putt and your opponent double bogeying the entire back nine.

If you do not have any expectations, you then cease to have any emotions when things go for or against you. When your opponent does miss a short putt, you do not get excited. When you opponent makes a 60 footer, you do not get excited. When you are able to keep your emotions on an even keel, then you retain control over yourself. Positive or negative excitement causes your adrenal glands to pump adrenaline into your system. An “adrenalized” state can be recognized by a state of short shallow breaths, shaking hands and feet among others.

Instead of the usual antidote of taking deep breaths and focusing on something else other than the match at hand, wouldn’t it be easier on the golfer had the adrenaline not been pumped in the first place? We all know how effective deep breathing is on the course.

The number one killer of match play games is fear. Fear stems from a situation of not knowing what might happen in the future. If you know what will happen in the next minute, then how can you fear? On the other hand, if you know that what will happen next is out of your control and you expect anything to happen, then what is there to fear or defend against? Why fear or worry about what you cannot do anything about?

What should you do then in a match play?

Be evenly matched up – which means either squaring off with a person of the same playing ability or taking strokes off a better opponent. Pride leads to a man’s fall.
Be clear about your own golfing abilities; of the distance you are able to achieve, the shots you are able to hit etc. Once you have taken stock of these, you are then able to calculate percentages into the shots at hand. Again this is described in preceding sections about your personal game plan.

You should only hit high percentage shots even though this may be nothing more than a 10 meter punch from under the trees to set up a bogey play. In the long run, if you have a solid game plan that requires you to hit your high percentage shots, you will save more shots in the long run and hopefully win more matches.

Be non-expectant about the things outside of your control. Some of the worse students I have had used to admit to playing “Hail Mary” golf; that is keep doing what he wants to do instead of what he needs to do and hope and pray things go their way.

Such an attitude reflects cessation of control and without control; you will not be in control emotionally to stick to your game plan and let your percentages work in your favor.

Instead of allowing the situation to cause you to react, read the situation for what it is, adjust your game plan accordingly, all the while making sure the percentages still remain in your favor.