By PGTAA member Dr. Patrick Cohn

What three mental components contribute most to playing your best golf?

Quite simply, the three most impactful to peak play are focus, focus and focus!

Bad shots, meltdowns, slumps and under performance are caused by a lack of focus or a misplaced focus.

If you cannot stay on task and regroup, you will not be able to play on with a calm mind.

A golfer who completed our Golf Mental Game Survey asked a common question:

"When I make a bad shot, how do I put it behind me fully and make a good shot next?"

Hitting a bad shot is not the problem. Have you ever played a round of golf without hitting a bad shot? No! Have you ever watched another golfer play a mistake-free round? No! Bad shots are part of the game.

Somehow, bad shots can stick around in your head for several holes or even the entire round. You can see images of yourself unraveling even before it happens.

You can feel the anxiety build. Your heart is pounding out of your chest. Already, you have several distractions competing for your attention. When you are focused on negative images, you cannot focus on setting up your next shot.

When you are focused on the feeling of anxiety, you cannot immerse yourself in the current shot. When you are focused on the last shot, you cannot focus on how you want to hit the current shot.

Putting the shot fully behind you requires you to focus forward. In other words, what do I need to do, how will I do it and when will I do it?

Focusing was the mental edge that Bryson DeChambeau needed to earn his first Master's tournament victory at the 2020 US Open.

Towards the end of his first round, DeChambeau displayed a moment of frustration exclaiming, "These greens suck. They're so bad."

So how did DeChambeau go from frustrated and tied for 14th place after Round One to carding a 3-under 67 and winning his first major championship? The difference lies in DeChambeau's ability to focus or, more specifically, refocus.

DeCHAMBEAU: "On 9 was when I first thought, 'OK, this could be a reality.' I made that long eagle putt and shocked myself making it, too. I thought to myself I could do it, and then immediately after I said, 'Nope, you gotta focus on each and every hole.' I just kept telling myself 'Nope, we've got three more holes, we've got four more holes, we've got five more holes.' Whatever it was, I just had to keep focused, make sure I was executing every shot the best I possibly could."

As you can see, your focus is a choice. To be in charge of your mental game, you must make a conscious choice to focus on your strategy, preshot routine or something that keeps you grounded in the present.

If get off task, you're responsible for refocusing attention to what matters: the current shot.

How to Refocus After a Poor Shot:

Start be being more aware of your triggers or mistakes that get your upset during the round.

What's the expectation you have about that bad shot? "I should never three putt from 20'." Replace with: "Even the best golfers three putt. I'm still a good putter."

Let go of the expectation that leads to your emotional turmoil. Remind yourself: "That shot is over. Let's get back on track. Focus."

Take control of your reaction to mistakes. You have the ability to choose how you respond to mistakes. Make the right choice!
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QUESTIONS

Frequently Asked Questions…
What happens if I do not pass the playing ability portion of the course? Can I still become certified?
Yes, on the following:

1. Provided you have passed the written and teaching sections of the 5 day on-site course (or achieve at least 85% on the written exam of the home study course) and you are within 4 strokes of the target s core, you may, upon returning home and within a 12-month period, submit to the PGTAA, 4 attested score cards of 83 or less on any championship course (6,000+ yards). These score cards must be attested by at least two playing partners along with their scores on the same card or alternatively, signed by the local professional if he/she is familiar with your game.
2. Provided you have passed the written and verbal teaching sections of the 5 day on-site course (or the written section of the home study course),  but your combined score is beyond 4 strokes of the target score, then the following scenario to upgrade your certification is required:
You must return to any PGTAA certification course within a 12-month period and successfully redo only the PAT portion with a PGTAA instructor. The administrative fee is $200, which includes green and cart fees. Accommodations, if needed, can be arranged at an extra cost.

Please contact Susan Lotz (760.777.1925) in Membership Services prior to proceeding to assure correct processing.

Q. Do you have a Seniors Division?

Yes. This is for those members age 50 and over in both Men’s and Women’s divisions. Seniors make ideal teachers!

Q.Are there ongoing fees to belong to the PGTAA?

There is an annual $100 fee for the issuance of current year membership cards, PUD facilitation, replacement cards if needed, replacement certificates and PGTAA bag tags.. This is based on an annual anniversary date of enrolment.
Students who have not completed their certification after one year of enrolling, will still pay, as Associate Members (studying but not certified), $100.00

Q: What is the PGTAA’s primary mission for you as a teacher?

We want you to learn about your student before you actually teach them and give lessons. Your main goal is to try extremely hard to tailor your instruction methodology to suit each student’s wants and needs.  Your job and primary goal is to increase your student’s enjoyment of the game. This can be different for every golfer but it is your job to help all of your students to have more fun in the future, no matter what level of golfer you currently they are. Their skills set will improve if you identify with your student and identify their idiosyncrasies and needs.

Q: What method of teaching is used at the PGTAA?

We don’t have a method. The PGTAA’s teaching philosophy is based in solid fundamentals and simple practice techniques. Every student has different needs depending on their size, strength, coordination, past experience, available practice time and other factors. We teach you how to devise a plan to suit your own style of teaching and that of your student’s personal needs.

Q: What results can I expect after I become certified?

Most of your improvement, just like any health or weight-loss plan, is dependent on you and how dedicated you are to your goals. At the PGTAA, we will do everything we can to give you the tools you need to teach students and to market your services. Once you have a clear understanding of our fundamentals, how to teach them, and how to market yourself, your improvement as a teacher and your increased revenue/earnings, should come very easily.

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