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Related Golf Articles by Stephen Lau by Stephen Lau

Why Do Some Golfers Cheat on the Golf Course?

Copyright© 2009 Stephen Lau

By and large, most golfers follow the golf etiquette on the golf course. However, there is a minority of golfers who not only rant and rave, but also cheat on the golf course.

Why do golfers cheat on the golf course?

The explanation is actually quite simple: They are frustrated at how they are playing golf. In other words, their game is falling short of their own expectations. Undoubtedly, these golfers are avid players – or rather, they are obsessed with the game that they would just do anything, however illegal, to get the scores they want. They need to win, and they have to cheat to win golf.

There are certain golf rules of the United States Golf Association (USGA) for golfers. However, it is not always mandatory that they have to play their game by the USGA rules. As a matter of fact, golf players can agree among themselves to set up their own rules, as long as they are not doing anything illegal, or anything that would interfere with other players on the golf course.

With or without these rules, playing golf will let you learn a great deal about yourself – who you really are. Your behavior on the golf course is often a reflection of yourself as a person. If you are positive about yourself, most probably you would be positive about other things in your life, including playing golf.

Those golf players who are easily frustrated are those who take golf too seriously. They get so angry with themselves that they rant and rave, and even throw their clubs about. In fact, they are venting their inner violence. To them, score is the only thing that matters in the game of golf. Because they are so obsessed with the need to win that they would do anything to the get the score – including cheating on the golf course. Yes, golf, more than any other sport, brings out the worst of an individual.

How to avoid cheating on the golf course, or even losing your temper after delivering a bad shot.

Instead of overemphasizing the importance of score, maybe all golfers should, first of all, identify the purpose of playing golf.

The most important purpose of playing golf is enjoyment. You want to play golf because you enjoy it. Therefore, focus on the fun part of the sport, such as socializing with folks, learning from each other in the process. Enjoy the green scenery and the beauty around you, instead of becoming preoccupied with the next shot. Next time, when you find yourself perturbed, maybe you should make a concerted effort to take time on the tee, and even walk off the green to stop, look around, and absorb the beauty around you.

Yes, take the game seriously, but take yourself lightly. There is no need to elevate your blood pressure over a missed shot. Remember, you are competing against others as well as yourself. You could be your own worst enemy in the game of golf. If you are cranky or in a foul mood, how on earth are you going to compose yourself for your next shot? Remember, mental golf is the key to golfing success.

Action Plan for Golfing Success

Copyright© 2008 Stephen Lau

Golf is a simple game to play, but difficult to master. Only smart golfers attain golfing success through a smart action plan.

Many are in the game of golf, but smart golfers are few and far between. What separates smart golfers from the rest is not so much that they have some innate qualities as that they know what they want and strive to achieve it with a smart action plan.

As with everything else, success requires strategies; it never lands on your lap. You must set your goals: short-term and long-term goals, with mid-term ones in between.

Goals are based on your abilities – what you can do as a golfer at whatever level you may be playing. After setting the goals, you must device a means to track your progress at achieving your goals, such as scoring average, driving distance, as well as accuracy.

Then take appropriate action to bring your pre-determined goals into fruition.

The action plan includes managing yourself in the way you play the game. Get the right equipment. How well you play the game depends on the choice of your equipment. Also, develop a fitness program. Golfing success relies heavily on not just the techniques but also the physical strength, stamina and endurance throughout the game.

After the initial preparation, map out a practice schedule, with the help of a coach, or an experienced golfer who can mentor your golfing success.

Your action plan should include everything, from developing a pre-shot routine to saving strokes around the green. With that plan, you begin to develop the mental and the physical aspects of golfing success.

Ben Hogan once said: Golf is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. Being mentally fit means you have the willpower to overcome any hurdles. Being mentally fit also implies you need to visualize how you are going to play your stroke. You must harness your mental ability routinely before striking a putt. To illustrate, you already know how you want to play the hole. After you have hit your tee shots to where you originally intended, you should start thinking about the next shot. Drawing from previous experience, you start visualizing what you want to do next. Do not allow yourself be distracted by what is happening around you. As soon as you put on your glove, your thoughts should be focusing on what you should do to hit the ball, while you start imagining and visualizing the shot at hand. Visualization is effective in dispelling any negative thoughts you may have about the game. Good visualization is good mental golf for success.

Your mental fitness is reinforced by positive thinking, which all smart golfers should possess. Given that golf is in fact a difficult game in many respects, many golfers tend to suffer from low self-esteem. How you see yourself influences how well you play in the game. Many golfers talk themselves out of perfectly playable shots, so don’t be one of them.

Your mental fitness should refrain you from losing your temper, which never goes hand in hand with golfing success. Your temper tantrums may unnerve you, and rob you of your concentration, not to mention depriving you the capability to visualize the game for success.

How to Control Your Mind in Putting

Copyright© 2008 Stephen Lau

Putting is a game within the game of golf. Your golfing success depends on your putts, and your putts are affected by your mind.

A good putter knows how to control the mind by focusing on something small and simple.

In good putting, you clear all the clutters in your mind by narrowing your mental focus as much as possible. Learn to empty your mind of instructional thoughts from books, fellow golfers, or your coach. Just let your subconscious mind take over your strokes. It is like a runner on the track would let the subconscious mind take over the breathing to increase the oxygen intake; a runner does not have to consciously breathe harder in order to get more oxygen into the lungs to win the race.

So neither should you consciously focus on your strokes. Instead, just focus on the target.

For the same reason, if you worry less about scores or competitions, you would putt much better – you might even just roll the ball right into the hole in a perfect putt.

In good putting, you must realize that harboring on thoughts of the outcome of your putts will not help you roll the ball to the intended target. Learn to develop a mental discipline to shut off those conscious thoughts from your mind. In your mind’s eye, you should see only a mental picture of the hole or your target.

Tiger Woods’ father was said to have trained his son while he was still a very young kid to roll a ball to a hole, and then roll it to the hole again with his eyes closed. That was how Tiger Woods received his training in developing his mental golf.

A good putter not only focuses on the target, but also narrows down the target. Therefore, a good putter’s target may not simply be the hole. Remember, the smaller the target is, the better control your brain and your body may have in getting the ball to the target of your choice. Learn to select a smaller target, such as a broken blade of grass, or a tiny edge of the hole. Your brain works better when the target is smaller, and your brain subconsciously has better control of your body’s functions, especially your muscles and reflexes.

You may have one of the best strokes of your life when you see the target, and your mind simply reacts to it with little interference from your conscious thought.

In any sport, gaining control of the situation is important. Some people believe that you must try the hardest in order to control the situation. However, in putting, trying your hardest may not be equivalent to doing your best.

Why is that so?

That is because putting requires spontaneity, and spontaneity is controlling the mind and hence the response, but without striving your hardest to control the resulting action. Essentially, spontaneity is focusing on the process, and never on the outcome. In this way, your efforts may become “natural” and “effortless.” As a result, your strokes may become more confident, free from doubt or hesitation. In putting, confidence means overcoming any unconscious attempt using excessive muscular strength to steer the shot to the target in the swing. Confidence means using your conscious mind to remember only the good shots and discarding the bad ones. Confidence also means putting the outcome of a shot in perspective – golf is only a game and whatever the outcome may be, it is not the end of the world. Finally, confidence means staying in the present moment. The past has nothing to do with the present, and only the present is real to you. Make the most of what you can do at the present moment, and the future is beyond your control. When you control your mind, you control your confidence, and hence you control the game.

How to Become a Confident Putter

Copyright© 2008 Stephen Lau

A good putter has to be confident. A good putter has to feel that he or she is up to par. Yes, if you start telling yourself that you can’t putt, you may indeed have a problem in getting your ball in the hole even from a distance of just two or three feet.

Missing a short putt on the last hole may become an unforgettable mistake that you start dwelling on until it may haunt you for the rest of your life. People often say you learn from your mistakes. However, the inability to forget could be more devastating to golfing success than your inability to remember what to do.

As a good putter, you must acquire the ability to consciously block from your mind all your missed putts. You must learn to focus on the present putt. Always think of yourself as a good, if not a great, putter.

Of course, your inner self might tell you to get “real.” However, you must also learn not to use “realism” as your excuse for your persistent negative attitude towards your own evaluation of your caliber as a putter. Remember, Jack Nicklaus misses his putts too. But he chooses not to remember the putts he has missed; instead, he remembers the perfect putts he has made. And don’t tell yourself that you are not Jack Nicklaus.

Learn to discipline your mind that will separate you from the rest of your competitors, just as Jack Nicklaus has separated himself from the rest of the professional golfers.

If you can change your thinking about remembering the putts you have missed, you are in fact changing your own self-perception about your caliber as a putter. Remember, a great putter is not born, but is made – made through conscious effort to improve not only the techniques but also the self-image, and a positive self-perception immunizes you from doubts and fears about your techniques as a putter – doubts and fears are stumbling blocks in golfing success.

Changing the way you perceive yourself as a putter requires practice and perseverance.

First, practice mental visualization of the good putts you have made.

Garry Player once said: “On every putt, see the ball going into the hole with your mind’s eye.” Mental visualization is important to golfing success. In your mind’s eye, you already see your success, and seeing is believing.

Practice to relive the perfect putts you have made. Visualize the puts in your next round of golf, and see them going in the hole.

In addition, stop complaining in the way your converse about your own putting. Stop moaning about the mistakes you made. Complaining only reinforces the negative image, and may become self-fulfilling prophecy.

Bobby Jones once said: “Putting – a game within a game – might just be said to be the most important part of golf.”

If putting is an integral part of golf, make sure you excel in it, and make sure you are thinking like Jack Nicklaus. The mind is all that matters on the green, and you become what you think you are.

The Art of Putting

Copyright© 2009 Stephen Lau

“The man who can putt can play anybody.” Tom Sayers

This shows the importance of putting to the game of golf.

Golfing success demands the composite of a great player and a great putter.

Putting on the green is an art in itself. Putting is an art to be cultivated and acquired through your own individuality or personality. These personal traits may include the power of your imagination, the finesse of your touch, and the accuracy of your judgment. Of course, all these qualities may seem too abstract to most golfers, but, after all, golf is an intellectual and mental game, isn’t it?

A good putter requires excellence in accuracy and strength, and, above all, an abounding confidence to pull it through during the last few moments of the game.

The art of putting requires four basic elements in a putter.

First of all, a good putter must have the capability to assess the green. A good putter must have the vivid imagination and sharp eyesight requisite in a good survey of the green to predetermine the amount of break on side-hill putts, thereby instrumental in determining the “line” of the putt. A good putter must be able to analyze the unique characteristics of a green, such as the speed of the green – fast, hard, slow or soft, and to determine the contour of the green – sloping one way or the other. An acute awareness of the particular characteristics of the green may help you decide on the strategy before you even step on the first tee.

Second, a good putter must be able to gauge the distance consistently, especially on long putts. Your accurate judgment may help you strike a “specialized” stroke.

Third, a good putter must be able to control the stroke and the placement of the ball. A good putter must putt the ball consistently and confidently, such that the ball is put within an inch or two of the targeted spot. Such confidence is often reflected in the positive attitude, the targeted concentration, and relaxed mentality of the putter.

A good artist relies on his or her tools, and this is also true of a good putter, who needs to experiment different equipment before “feeling good” on one that will inspire confidence in delivering the perfect putt.

Fourth, a good putter must know how to choose his or her equipment. The art of choosing the right size of the equipment depends on the physique, height, and arm length of the individual; while the choice of the weight of the equipment is contingent on the individual’s preference for power deliverance or delicacy of touch. A heavier equipment may give you more power at the expense of being more difficult to exercise control on a slick green. You must learn the art of arriving at a compromise between power and touch in your choice of your equipment, such that your equipment may become an asset, not a liability, in your putting.

Putting green is an art because there are no hard and fast rules regarding how one should deliver the perfect putt. Putting is an art because it is a reflection of the philosophy of the putter. As such, most golfers have come to believe that “putters are born, not made.” No matter what, putting is an art that can be improved on simply by changing the way you think about putting