Take a new approach and tame the course like Tiger
Want to improve your golf this year? The infernal heat of the summer might be just the time to consider trading hours on the range for a different approach to the game.
With advice on ‘internal televisions’, neutral thinking, body language and breathing techniques, a ‘Trained Brain Workshop’ could give you hope.
Martin Robinson, a teaching pro at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club who specialises in mental coaching as well as technique, believes the workshop is the way forward for many golfers.
Martin first took interest in this particular approach to the game while playing as a PGA pro and realising that his game changed in competition. He says: “If anyone has ever found that they cannot play their best during competitions or games where the outcome matters most, then the brain is the limiting factor, not the swing.
“We must learn to control our state to perform at our best and use an effective mental pre-shot routine to be in the correct frame of mind for each shot that we play.”
One of Martin’s first points should have hackers rejoicing and reconsidering their frustrations - bad shots are a fact of life. Stats prove that even Tiger Woods, with 14 Majors to his name, hit one bad shot for every four good ones when he was at his very best. The key is how we recover. Martin says: “I have worked with professionals and high handicappers and found that mental weaknesses are the same.
“A common factor is a golfer’s ability to accept poor shots. Frustration of a bad shot can cast a shadow over the coming holes, and lead to leaking many strokes.”
If you’re still sceptical of mental coaching, consider this: Martin helped an aspiring golfer in Bahrain improve from a four handicap to plus-two within six months.
He says: “This was an extreme case and he dedicated himself fully to achieve this but high handicappers stand to drop more shots because there is a lot to clean up.”
We all have our heroes but who does Martin think are good role models in the mental field?
“I would choose Tiger for self belief. I honestly believe he is thinking about nothing else other than the perfect shot every time he sets up.
“The real strength is approaching the next swing the same way despite an occasional poor result. Phil Mickelson is admirable the way he is able to stay smiling whatever the game throws at him and Luke Donald for being the ‘grey man’, meaning that his emotions and body language never really change.
For some of us, golf is an emotional roller coaster and it’s not healthy!”
Other ways you can win on the course
>>It’s just Dhs99 for nine holes from June to September at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club. A summer membership that provides unlimited access to the course costs just Dhs3,000. Call 02 445 9600 for details.
>>The ‘Summer In Abu Dhabi’ promotion, which will run from June 21 to September 15, offers some great golfing deals. Two rounds will cost just Dhs399 at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links Golf Club from Sunday through to Thursday. Check the website www.summerinabudhabi.ae for details and further information.
>>Saadiyat Beach Golf Club’s ‘Scoring Game School’ will help your short game, a key area in lowering your score. A 90-minute session starts at just Dhs300, email firstname.lastname@example.org