May 2017 Newsletter – – 07958785326

Hmm! Staying Focused

With the Club Championships fast approaching us I thought it best to talk about staying focused on the course or as they say “staying in the moment” “One shot at a time” “being in the zone”  … and there are several others that TV commentators throw at us every week on tour but just before we do that ………… I want to take you back to 2014.

Martin Kaymer was nearly perfect for the first 14 holes of Sunday’s final round of the Players Championship. Then, after a 90-minute weather delay, he did what all of us have a tendency to do — he started over-thinking things, which got him completely out of his game.

His tee shot on No. 15 ended up behind a pine tree, and instead of playing it safe, he gambled on reaching the green. Kaymer lost, winding up with a double-bogey that cut his lead to one. On the next hole, Kaymer decided to putt from a collection area that probably cost him a relatively easy birdie.

And on the No. 17 island hole, his tee shot nearly spun back into the water and then he hit perhaps his poorest chip shot of the tournament from the fringe, leaving himself with a 30-foot downhill, twisting putt just to save par. But Kaymer recovered just in time, draining that putt and then a pressure-packed 3-footer on No. 18 to win.  
Courtesy of

I know we are not talking about players being on tour but we can all relate to doing things like this, maybe it’s the pressure of playing in a big tournament. Maybe you’re on the way to posting your best round. Maybe you start “scorecard watching” instead of focusing on the task at hand and remaining positive.

Have you ever said any of the below, even to yourself:

  • I can’t believe I just 3 putted the last hole
  • My competitor is playing really well he can’t keep knocking those putts in! Surely not
  • These greens are rubbish today, I can’t putt on them
  • This golf course is so wet we shouldn’t be playing on it
  • The last time I played this hole a sliced it into the water
  • This has always been a hole I can’t play

How to Improve!
Let’s start with what staying in the present means.  Well there is no secret it is exactly what it says it is, the ability to focus your mind in the present, not shift your focus to the past or the future.
One of the good things about golf is the time you have between shots. Unfortunately, that’s also a bad thing, if you start over-thinking and letting negative thoughts into your head.

If you find yourself losing concentration there are various tricks to help. I personally use the “STOP” sign, I picture the stop sign used on Stop Signour roads, look up to the sky and take in the view, wind, and birds etc my thoughts then get back on track as opposed to thinking about home, work or what’s on TV tonight. You can then concentrate on the task at hand.

I recommend all my students to rehearse their pre-shot routine, and to do this even when practising, you will find that everything becomes so natural that your mind automatically kicks in and you stay focused.
A good pre shot can easily be practiced and once honed will help you stay in the present on the golf course. 

The other thing to do is to try to slow things down; Tour Pro’s will walk a little slower between shots and calm down a little. This allows you to get your focus back and picture the next shot, do be aware though of getting a slow play message from others.

Golf is a thinking man’s game. But there are times when it’s better to play golf than to overthink it.

I hope all this helps and good luck with your golf!


Martin Rathbone PGA - Head Teaching Professional - Surbiton Golf Club