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My story originally appears on PGA.com on 4/10/22
Scottie Scheffler continues to show why he has risen, so quickly, to the World Number 1 spot. In chilly and continued blustery conditions on Saturday at Augusta, where the field scoring average approached 76, Scheffler shot a -1 par 71 and Cam Smith had the round of the day with an amazing -4 par 68 and stands in second at -6.
Now, as they both battle for the top spot, it’s important to note what we can learn from both of them. Scheffler and Smith have been phenomenal to watch the past few months. Both players are showing the same type of composure and mental toughness that the game’s greats are known for. Much like a Tiger or Jack in their prime, Scheffler and Smith are both confident and decisive once a decision has been made on the shot to play.
In my own teaching, I focus a great deal on having a routine, and a process in place, as well as being confident in the decisions you make prior to striking your shot.
Having the ability to do this by itself will not miraculously make you the player you want to be, you still need to have proper technique and a repeatable motion…but, you can’t reach your goals without having what guys like Smith and Scheffler do from the game management and mental toughness side of the equation.
Think of the concept of Zen Golf, which was developed by Dr. Joe Parent. Zen Golf begins with taking a different perspective with your golf game. In this, you are focusing on positive capacities rather than thinking about what you are doing wrong. From this attitude you can apply the fundamentals of mindfulness to golf through proper preparation, execution, and response to results.
Preparation includes clarity of your plan, commitment to your intention, and composure in mind and body. Execution is being focused and is in the flow of a synchronized body and mind. With this, response to results means reinforcing successes and learning from mistakes.
This is basically the definition of being in control. Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Smith are excellent examples of golfers putting this concept in practice.
While your golf game may not have the technical aspects grooved to perfection like Scheffler, Smith, Woods or Nicklaus, you can absolutely learn how to control your mind, and decision making in order to become more determined and decisive just like they are.