You spend an hour on the range hoping to dial in a swing for the round. It's a smart idea to also think about warming up your mind. Mastering the moments before the chaos is critical for enhancing mental focus and energy, as well as performance when it counts. Here are five keys to consider 10 minutes before go-time.
1. FORGE A PLAN FOR THE FIRST HOLE
Take note of the shots you're hitting well on the range. From this pool, build them into a strategy that ensures that you hit the first green in regulation. If that's 6-iron/6-iron, so be it. It's important to utilize your strengths right from the get-go.
2. PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED
It's normal to elevate expectations before the first hole. But you're bound to miss a shot or get in some trouble early. Don't let frustration set in. Instead, remind yourself that your ability to meet the demands of the moment are significantly better than predicting your score.
3. DETERMINE MENTAL INTENT
Establish a simple thought to carry you through the peaks and valleys of the round. "Patience" is a good example. One of my Tour players uses a simple one: "Reserve judgment until the end of the round." This reminds him not to make conclusions until he finishes play.
4. TAKE A 90-SECOND RETREAT
An old coach used to say, "Don't be in a hurry to mess up." The anticipation of the first tee can be hectic. Take a few minutes to escape and center yourself mentally. This can help to slow everything down and allow you to reconnect to the present.
5. EAT SOMETHING!
Chow down on something light before teeing off. A starved mind is an unfocused one, and golf requires more energy than people give it credit for.