Golf Fitness Best Practice: Call the Shots in Golf and in Life

Nicole Weller, the 2013 PGA of America Youth Player Development Award winner and 2012 Georgia PGA Section Professional Development Award winner, is a PGA/LPGA Teaching Professional at Compass Pointe Golf Club in Leland, North Carolina. Visit www.nicoleweller.com.

Nicole Weller on the importance of calling the shots in golf and in life:

The game of golf takes place over a variety of platforms. Many in the industry focus on the physical aspects of the game, such as mechanics, nutrition, fitness and even how club fitting merges the physical capabilities with proper equipment. There are, however, other skills that precede even the basic golf stroke, and they begin with the emotional and mental fitness of the participant, both of which tend to be undertrained in comparison to purchasing a new driver or working on a swing skill. I split these emotional and mental platforms because the underlying emotions that kick in often accompany feelings that become the catalyst for the player’s thought patterns – how we initially feel about something becomes a belief as the consistent thoughts become more prevalent. Chemical reactions like adrenaline or cortisol then create sensations like blushing, shortness of breath or even nauseous feelings. How one feels in an instant about family, politics, meeting up with a good friend or encountering a challenging customer are all examples of how that initial quick feeling that we often brush aside translates into the self-talk in our minds that can linger briefly or for longer periods. At best, how would you imagine your best drive should look, sound or feel? What would it look like if you confidently strode into your 10-foot putt to win a match, and then sunk it? How about finding two $20 bills in your pocket? Lastly, imagine what it would taste, feel and look like to bite into one of your favorite foods right now. These are examples of allowing yourself to daydream or use imagery that creates good vibes and then “believing is seeing.”

Nicole Weller on the business impact of calling the shots in golf and in life:

Conversely, how would you imagine a poorly struck shot to look, sound or feel? Do you bring these images into your pre-shot routine as you stand over a ball and tell yourself not to hit it in the water or out of bounds? Take five seconds and imagine an impending golf disaster and the feelings that go along with it. How about expecting to bite into your favorite food and instead it’s burnt or undercooked? These images and resulting feelings are very different than those discussed in the previous paragraph. My assignment for you is to inject an adverb into your images and statements of how you want to be when striving towards a goal and how that feels on the energy scale. Some examples include: “I’m going to hit this drive confidently. “I’m entering into this activity optimistically.” “Whatever happens, I’m committing to doing this patiently.” Knowing that you can enter into an activity managing your intent and emotions is something that’s in your control. Many things aren’t in your control – weather, how a ball bounces, what other people say or do, other people’s expectations of us – but stay aware of how you want to enter into an activity or action with some adverbs and words ending in ‘ly’. Front load the emotion you want to own, rather than the one you happen to inherit. See if you can set the stage for how well moments go by the energy that these adverbs bring about. Exercise your emotional and mental focus as well as the body and swing.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email nicolewellergolf@gmail.com.