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Golf Expert Eric Wilson Explains Why Preparation Is Key

In my summer column, I wrote about why most golfers tend to sabotage their games with either a bad front nine or a bad back nine. To further explore this tendency, let’s say you have a little two-foot tap-in for par 9, and you shoot 39. Now, you have a chance to break 80. However, it all starts to unravel on par 10—bad drive into the trees, pitch out to the fairway, blast out to 30 feet and three-putt for a triple-bogey 7. There’s no way to recover. What happened? 

You might blame your mental game—you started “thinking” too much on the 10th tee. After all, golf is 90 percent mental, right? But before diving down that rabbit hole, listen to Dr. Rick Jensen, a renowned sport psychologist and author of Easier Said Than Done:

“Lack of preparation is the No. 1 cause of failure during competition. The mental states (e.g., anxiety, fear, negative thoughts) that accompany the situation are more often symptoms of the lack of preparation, not the cause of the failure.” 

Dr. Jensen’s “preparation” equates to mastering three essential skills that will help you play better golf: ball-control, decision making and self-management. 

First and foremost of these is ball-control. So, what does this mean to you? This means that the most important aspect of this game is how well you can consistently make the ball go where you want it to.

Ball control begins with an understanding of how the golf club works to produce the “flight of the ball.” 

Next month’s column will cover the basics of ball control, from what makes a ball fly, to how the club should move to produce that ball flight.

For more advice, email Dr. Wilson at ewilson@keiseruniversity.edu.

(Image via Unsplash)