How to Deal with Distractions in Golf
Are spectators a distraction for golfers?
Do spectators have a significant impact on a golfer’s score?
As golfers deal with a “new normal” due to the coronavirus, playing without spectators has received a lot of attention for both Tour players and amateur golfers.
Some say the pro golfers are playing BETTER without fans, possibly due to lack of distractions, while other golfers find it challenging to not have the cheers and excitement of a packed gallery.
Let’s examine both sides of the issue:
On the PGA, the spectator issue has mixed views:
Tiger Woods feels no spectators will help golfers focus better.
WOODS: “Maybe a little easier [without spectators], if anything. Just because you’re not worrying about crowd noise, or telling someone to be quiet, or moving in your guy’s swing. There’s none of that, for the time being. But other than that, I haven’t noticed a huge difference in my job or our routine.”
Jordan Spieth suggested the lack of fans may minimize distractions for the less experienced golfers on the Tour.
SPIETH: “I would imagine it would be easier to win your first major without fans, just because the atmosphere … I would think it’s more comfortable coming down the stretch than it would normally be.”
Jeff Sluman believes the lack of negative reactions from the crowd after a bad shot will help golfers from ruminating about mistakes.
SLUMAN: “But you know what’s really bothersome is when you duff a shot and you hear someone in the crowd say, ‘I could have done that.’ You want to go over to that person and ‘yeee-yeee-yeee’ [Sluman makes a choking gesture].”
On the flip side, many Tour players feel energized by the crowd.
These golfers are fueled by applause after a great shot and get just enough excitement heading into the last few holes during a close round. Focusing on the crowd will even prevent some golfers from retreating into their minds and focusing on negative thoughts.
Which side of the continuum do you lean towards?
Are you energized by crowds or distracted by spectators? If you are distracted by spectators, is there anything you can do?
GOOD NEWS… You can learn effective and proven mental strategies to improve your focus.
Each golfer has a unique set of circumstances that can add to their performance or detract from their play.
The key is to recognize what circumstances are distractions for you and the feelings associated with these circumstances. Recognizing when your mind starts to drift is the first step in combating distractions.
Tardio Tips: Dealing with Distractions
Compare & Contrast – Compare and contrast your best performances and times when you underperformed. This is the more effective strategy to determine what helps or hurts your performance.
Refocus – Don’t be discouraged when your mind drifts… when you make a mistake… or when you feel a buildup of pressure. Learn how to get your mind back on track.
Your ability to re-focus is as important as your ability focus.