Stop Caring About the Outcome

Mental Golf Outcome

Stop Caring About the Outcome

I just read an article about a golfer that picked up on some mental tips and found his game skyrocket. He wrote that he “made seven birdies in three rounds” and “broke 80 for the first time in a year.” What was the breakthrough advice that caused him to excel? It was: stop caring about the outcome!

Greg Flores, writer for Southland Golf, describes how all he had to do was not think. He would relax and let his golf instinct take over. Read about his success right here:

Once upon a time, I loved to putt. There wasn’t an ounce of fear in my stroke. If I rammed a putt five feet past the hole, I didn’t flinch. I’d just take my trusty Ping Anser putter and jam the next one in the hole. Three-putting never even popped up on my radar.

Somewhere along the line, I started caring about the outcome. You know what soon followed? The putts stopped dropping and the three-putts came by the handful. I changed putters, took lessons, tried putters with different grips and shaft lengths. I even went back to that old Ping Anser. Nothing worked. The greens became a house of horrors and the putter had become my own personal weapon of mass destruction.

About six months ago, I started scanning through a book called Zen Golf by Dr. Joe Parent. The book is not new and I’ve read enough instructional books and magazine golf tips to have an instructional library in my brain. The concept of golf and Zen seemed like some kind of wacky crossbreeding between the combined teachings of Phil Jackson and Ty Webb. Nonetheless, a couple of things did jump off the page.

[...]

The next tip I gleaned was to just stop caring about the outcome and to quit trying to make the perfect stoke. I’ve played well over 1,500 rounds of golf in my career and instinctively know the pace needed to roll a putt of any distance from 5 to 50 feet.

Now, rather than worrying about trying to make a perfect stroke, I think about making the most relaxed stroke I can. I take a deep breath, let all the tension fall out of my body, find the stroke that will produce the right distance and get out of the way. I just unplug my brain, divorce myself from the outcome and try to execute a smooth stroke.

You know what happened? Putts started falling again. I made seven birdies in three rounds. And it wasn’t just the birdies. It was the par saves and the pain-free two-putts. Golf felt different. It felt fun.
Over the next three rounds, I had two rounds with 30 putts and one with 27 putts. I also broke 80 for the first time in a year. It’s amazing what a steady putter can do for your confidence, not to mention your desire to play more golf.

I know it’s a small sample size, but as any struggling putter will admit, the slightest glimpse of improvement is something to get excited about. Right now, I’d have to say I’m kind of excited.

With just 5 words, Flores’s game improved: stop caring about the outcome. Really everyone does this already. When we walk through a room and avoid bumping into all the furniture, we’re not thinking about it. We just avoid it. But do you do the same for golf? Is your best golf game on autopilot?

When the pros step up for each shot – they’re not calculating angles or trying to remember exactly how to hold the club. They just swing. It’s natural. We have this too. We’ve been passively training our minds for years so that when we step up to every shot – our brain already knows what to do. So how come we don’t take our greatest shots more often? We have to learn how to access and apply these mental tools. It’s that simple. What’s your opinion on not caring about the outcome? Let me hear what you think in the comments section below.

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