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Improve your game from your inbox – Stay in the moment!

Improve your game from your inbox – Stay in the moment!

Coen Welsh on the Psychology of Golf
One thing all golfers are guilty of is tallying up the score prior to the end of the round.

You know the scenario. You need to make birdie on the final hole to beat your all time best or you have to make a bogey or better to break 90.

This weekend Branden Grace achieved something remarkable. The golf magazines Golf Digest and Compleat Golfer both predicted that someone would go lower than the previously unbreakable 63 in a major.

Branden Grace chose the third round in The Open to score an unprecedented 62. Unfortunately, he could not sustain that form into the final round.

He started his press conference after the third round telling ““Let’s get this out of the way,” he said as he sat down to speak to the media. “I didn’t know what was going on at 18. I promise you. I didn’t know it was for a record.”

This quote illustrates exactly what we often refer to in golf psychology about staying in the moment. Forgive me for a rather long quote, but since this achievement is unprecedented I’m sure you’ll allow me to indulge.

He concluded the interview by saying: “I honestly didn’t. You know, I was just so in the zone of playing, hole after hole. I knew I was obviously playing really well, and making the turn in 5-under was pretty special. And I thought if I could make a couple more on the back nine, then it’s going to be a great score. I had no idea that 62 was obviously the lowest ever.”

“Obviously, now it makes it even more special than what it was. My whole thing on the 18th was trying just not to make bogey. I hit a great wedge in there, just caught a flier, a little bit of a jumper and made it tough for myself. But, obviously, I knocked in the two-footer or three-footer. And Zack (caddie Zack Rasego) came up and said, “You’re in the history books.” And I was like, “What are you talking about?” (Source:

Tip of the week: Stay in the moment

There are [at least] two issues in golf when thinking patterns are examined. Either getting ahead of yourself or dwelling on the past.

When you think “I need two pars on the last two holes to beat my best ever score,” you are getting ahead of yourself. The alternative is dwelling on the past e.g. “I messed up on 13, AGAIN!”.

Both kinds of thinking can easily destroy a good round. Our advice would be to use breathing exercises and to focus on the here and now. A natural part of golf is walking between shots. Use this time to focus on other things, chatting to your partners and just to enjoy what you are doing.

Trust what you have practised on the driving range and just “go with the flow” when you’re on the course

Quote of the week

“What are you talking about?” – Branden Grace after scoring the lowest ever round in a major tournament.

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Coen Welsh, a qualified industrial psychologist, is an expert on the Antecedents and underlying Psychological Conditions predicting Employee Engagement.He has worked in diverse teams in the UK, Egypt and Namibia. Coen regularly gets invited to speak at HR and other conferences. He is a regular contributor to NBC National Radio as well as Tupopyeni and Off-the-Hook on NBC Television. He is a founding member of the Professional Speakers Association of Namibia. You can visit him at



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