Is Golf 99% Mental?

The debate over how much of golf is mental vs. how much is physical has gone on for ages.  I won’t attempt to end this debate herein, but would like to voice a few thoughts on the issue.

Why?

I write this as a short cautionary note to those golfers who still buy into the saying that “golf is 99% mental.”

When I first started the game, I kept hearing the saying that “golf was 99% mental”  As a young and naive player, I didn’t take this advice to heart.  I practiced and practiced and practiced, and saw some amazing results.  Unfortunately, during my early days of collegiate golf, I began to realize that practice wasn’t enough.  I subsequently decided that I was going to read as many mental game books that I could get my hands on, and finally act on that advice received years earlier.  In addition, I began to meditate daily, and partake in golf hypnosis exercises.  Right out of the gates, I saw a dramatic improvement in my game; often breaking par on courses that would have previously ate my lunch.

Immediately, I began to believe that my physical golf skills had little to do with my success.  I kept reading mental game books, and kept improving.

And then it happened…

I had the worst season of my entire golf career.  Out of nowhere.

How could this happen??

After 6 months of beating my head against a wall on the course and draining my previously nurtured confidence, I finally decided that it was time to look at my golf swing on video.

What I saw next would forever change my perception of the myth that golf is 99% mental…

My golf swing had become an atrocity.  I had been so caught up trying to perfect my mental game that I forgot to tend to my swing mechanics.

Sure, golf is largely between the ears, but remember that sometimes, confidence isn’t a product of mind control, but rather hard work.  Put in hours of effective and efficient practice, and your confidence will grow.  Pair that with mental training, and you will improve.

Golf is about balance and maintenance.

Every part of the game is important (mental, driving, chipping, putting, etc.), and should be treated as such.

Neglecting one part of the game for too long is the kiss of death.

I don’t write this as a rant, but to challenge your previously held assumption about the mind’s role in your golf game.

Did the chicken or egg come first?

Does confidence come from winning, or does winning come from confidence?

I think that you’ll find that confidence in golf is a product of both physical practice and mental preparation.  They are not mutually exclusive.