Golf Blog: Matter over mind

You would be forgiven for thinking that the author of this article is the talented yet mentally tormented Sergio Garcia.

It isn’t. It’s just me, a carbon copy of the Spaniard in various ways, apart from the actual ability to hit a golf ball in the direction I see fit. That part needs some work – a lot of it.

So why am I making such an outrageous comparison?

In short, I’m negative. Like Sergio, my attitude to this brilliant game leaves a lot to be desired. It isn’t something I’m proud of and it isn’t something to be imitated.

Too often do I mope around the golf course, cutting a frustrated figure as I desperately try to get good at a sport I invest so much time and money towards. I predict I’m not the only one.

This frustration is only exacerbated by my father: a solid 7-handicapper with an outright refusal to enter the rough.     
Not the most lengthy of golfers, he makes up for limitations with a steady, repetitive swing that is key to his consistency.  

I, unfortunately, am like the golfing caricature of Dr. Jekyll and Hide: a long, erratic 13-handicapper with a proclivity to play like somebody who should be playing off 33.   

When it’s good it’s great. When it isn’t – let’s not go there.  

My father’s answer to my woes? “Keep your head up.” ” Concentrate.” “A positive mindset is the most important thing in golf.” “When you chill out you’ll find your golf gets better.”

On face value, it’s good advice. I appreciate it greatly.

Unfortunately, this is where I disagree with the general rationale. I’ve tried all of that. It hasn’t worked.

The most positive mindset in the world isn’t going to get rid of that low duck-hook and it isn’t going to change the final outcome of the ball as I forage into the woods in search of it.

The swing is like a science. It’s about angles, rotations and speed. Every variable must match to ensure that the club-face is square through impact.

Mentality goes out the window when you’re struggling with the basics.

While I concede that pressure can influence the swing, or putt, making the need for a strong mind important, I maintain that the mechanics of a technically sound swing is what counts in the end.     

In turn, having such confidence in the swing can actually put the mind at ease.

For that reason, I would advise anyone in a similar boat to chuck aside the golf manuals, ignore the tired clichés about staying positive no-matter-what, and get themselves a lesson with a professional.

Get straight to the crux of the real problem: the golf swing.