Play is a state of mind. Stuart Brown (in his book Play) defines it as an absorbing, apparently purposeless activity that provides enjoyment and a suspension of self-consciousness and sense of time; it is also self-motivating and makes you want to do it again. Incorporating this idea of play in our lives is essential to reach our potential. On the golf course, making time for play will ultimately lower your scores.
As a kid, Tiger Woods would take his ball from a favorable lie, throw it up into a tree, and then have it randomly drop into the thick rough... and then try to make par anyway because, in his mind, it was more fun. At the Stanford driving range, he was known to hit shots with an extreme slice so they would go over the apartments of the left side of the driving range and have them curve back onto the grass. He did it for fun because “sometimes hitting regular golf shots is boring.” The famous Nike commercial featuring Tiger bouncing his golf ball on the end of his nine iron forty or fifty times and then whacking it into the distance all started with fun. During a commercial shoot, Tiger was off to the side messing around and the director happened to see his unique skill. He asked Tiger to do it on camera. Boom! --It became an extremely successful commercial. Tiger’s explanation? He said, “I enjoyed creating. I enjoy creating shots.”
Steve Nash would end his workouts by picking an awkward, sometimes crazy, finish and complete it over and over again. The rationale included 1) he may have to finish in strange ways during a game (which he did), and 2) it was really fun and challenging.
Trick shots in all sports have invaded the Internet and social media. Why? Because it is FUN!
Really, this all comes from having a mentality of “challenge is fun” and you can use this mentality during your next practice round or drills session. Not only will this make you a better golfer, and probably help you smile on the course more, but it will also make you mentally tougher. By creating difficult situations/drills, and having a positive mentality about them, your brain will create a thought habit that will carry over into competition: Challenging Situations are FUN.
Here are a couple of ideas :
The idea of really enjoying challenging situations, and playing in your sport in general, are essential for your growth. Play is essential. Yes, you have to take your sport seriously, and you have to focus on improving, but changing your mindset to include some play will drastically improve your game.
Director of Performance Psychology
Western WI Golf