We’ve all been there: You’re playing well, and all the sudden it’s as though you’ve never hit a golf ball before. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to get back to that comfortable effortlessness you were experiencing just minutes before. It’s a maddening state of being, and one that isn’t limited to the recreational-player ranks. Pros have been there too, and European Ryder Cup hero Tommy Fleetwood can relate.
“Even at our level, those days happen,” Fleetwood told me during a recent Zoom interview on behalf of his new sponsor, Tag Heuer. “And what separates I think the really great players from the less great or the good is those guys make those days better.”
Sounds simple enough. But how is it possible to make those days better when you can’t even diagnose what’s wrong? Turns out, Fleetwood has a strategy for that.
“I think it’s knowing yourself and understanding yourself,” he said. “It’s a really tough game and there are days where you feel lost. And the problem, is that you’re not on a range. When you’re on a range, hit a bad shot, you can just pull a ball straight away, hit another one and kind of try and figure it out.
“[During an actual round], you might hit a bad drive, but you don’t hit a driver again for another 20 minutes, 25 minutes. And then you have to figure it out on the next hole,” Fleetwood continued. “And it’s important to have an understanding of being able to not necessarily fix it, but actually do something that is productive throughout the round.”
The key, according to Fleetwood, is to focus on the potential positive as opposed to the negative.
“I think describing to yourself what you want to do — I think too often — and I definitely still do it — you hit a bad shot and you try and figure out what you’ve done wrong rather than saying, ‘Well, I want to do this. This is the move I’m looking for. This is the shot I want to play,'” Fleetwood said. “And changing that, I think that’s really important. And actually something I’m going to try and do more.”
So there you have it. Focusing on what you want to do, as opposed to spending all your energy on trying to fix what’s wrong — could very well be the cure for your mid-round woes.
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