Golf is a strategic game in which thinking is an important part of playing your best.
On any particular shot you need to take into account the distance to target and select a club. You want to find the best place to put the ball, taking into account the conditions and course hazards.
You need to factor in the form you are currently in – if you are hitting well, perhaps you can take that riskier shot with smaller drop zone. If not, you may be looking to play to an area with a larger margin for error.
There is plenty of thinking to be done, even before you add in the ‘extra’ thinking that most players do…
If you have been taking lessons, or working on your swing, you might find yourself thinking about a technical aspect of your game, such as your swing plane or shoulder position. If you have been working on the mental side of your game using some of the other systems out there, you might even be “thinking about your thinking”.
You might also find yourself thinking about the score, replaying the last few holes in your mind and imagining how the rest of the game will play out – good or bad!
You might even find yourself thinking about some of the concerns of daily living. The report you have to prepare at work, the bills you have to pay, that argument you had with your partner.
All that said, golf is also a physical game played with a ball and a club. It involves some strategic thinking, but at the end of the day, it requires a physical swing movement to send the ball (hopefully) in the direction you intended.
If you think about some of the best times you have ever played – the times where everything just flowed and everything seemed effortless – were you doing more thinking or less?
If you are like most of the golfers we have worked with, there is no doubt about the answer. It seems that most golfers are at their best when they separate their thinking from their playing.
Introducing the Thinking Zone and Playing Zone
If you have attended a Mind Factor workshop or used another Mind Factor product you will probably already be familiar with the concept of the Thinking Zone vs the Playing Zone.
The idea is simple. You have a time and a place to do your strategic thinking, to select your target and club and take into account the course factors and conditions. Then, when you are ready to play, you move from the Thinking Zone to the Playing Zone to actually take your shot.
The boundary between the two zones is a line called the Commitment Line, and you only cross this line when you are satisfied that you have done all the useful thinking that you need to take your shot.
As we go through this course, showing you how to build the most effective pre-shot routine, we’ll be referring back to this framework. But if you start using it from today, you not only start making improvements, but will also find what comes next makes much more sense.