Playing In The Zone
Posted on 08 August 2022
Being in the zone means playing golf with total freedom from doubt and self-consciousness. It doesn’t mean you’ll hit every shot perfectly, but even a missed shot here or there won’t diminish your confidence.
How do we get to that freedom? It starts with training that requires some conscious intention to groove the most efficient habits in the setup and swing. Consciously thinking about technique is something that should only be done in practice, while you’re learning. When you take your game to the course, you need to trust yourself to make the best swing, you can—self-consciously thinking about how to swing while you’re swinging only gets in the way.
Trusting your swing doesn’t mean that you’ll make a great swing every time. It means you’ll let your body do its best to reproduce the feel and tempo you’ve ingrained on the range.
Let your mind be filled with what you want to accomplish—an image of the target and a feel for the swing you intend to make—rather than with thoughts about how to do it. That is playing in the zone.
Also, thinking too much about the result you want from a shot can get in the way of executing it properly. It can make you tense up, and introduce the interference of guiding it to where you want the shot to go, or avoiding where you don’t want it to go. Either way, you lose the flow of your swing. A better approach is to put your focus entirely on this four-step process:
1. Choose a target that will leave you in the position you want without too much risk of landing in trouble.
2. Have a good image of the shot you want to play to that target.
3. Feel the swing you want to make to produce that image.
4. Commit to that swing.
Do your best to keep a smooth flow through your routine and address, and a good tempo through your swing. Take care of the process and the results will take care of themselves.
— Dr. Joe Parent, author of ZEN GOLF: Mastering the Mental Game and a PGA TOUR/LPGA Instructor. Learn more at drjoeparent.com