Champion focus for golf is the ability to narrow your attention over the ball, effectively eliminating all distractions as you athletically execute each shot and putt. This includes external distractions, such as out-of-bounds, water hazards, sand traps, noise, poor conditions, etc. And it includes internal distractions, such as mechanical thoughts, concerns about score, negative self talk, concern for what others think, etc.
This skill is THE foundation of your mental game, vital for getting the most out of your golfing abilities. It is THE skill upon which the other seven champion skills are built and measured.
To get the most out of your physical skills you must be able to effectively quiet your mind and narrow your focus over the ball.
Here is a quick & simple tip we use with our clients to help them get started.
We call it simply T & T, which stands for Target & Tempo.
The Basic Focus Steps:
1. Get a small bucket of balls and count them. Decide that your goal for practice is to hit as many of these balls as possible thinking only of choosing A DEFINITE TARGET and swinging with GREAT TEMPO.
2. With each ball, choose a definite target large enough that you feel relaxed and can swing with great awareness of your tempo. Hit a variety of shots with this emphasis and you will quickly become more aware of the internal and external distractions that are wrecking your focus. Just acknowledge them, even smile at them and challenge yourself to go back to your goal of target and tempo.
3. Give yourself a point for every ball you are able to hit effectively using T & T rather than giving in to any of the distractions. Estimate the percentage based on the numbers of balls in your bucket.
Focus Tips for Putting:
1. Take 3 balls and putt from various locations around the hole.
2. Challenge yourself to execute putts with concern for nothing but your target (location on the hole, or a spot between you and the hole) and a smooth tempo. Again, you will soon become more aware of your internal or external distractions. Just acknowledge them and bring your attention back to your goal of T & T.
3. Putt to several holes, using a variety of distances and breaks. Keep “score” again by giving yourself a point for each putt you are able to execute with good T & T.
Repeat as necessary until you are able to get your T & T percentages over 50%, and ultimately over 85%.
Now see if you can play a round of golf with the same or better percentages! As important as practice can be, you need to try the same routine when you’re actually playing.
This sounds deceptively simple but it is a powerful way to quickly improve awareness and correction of thoughts that are interfering with your great play! Take some time to practice this routine, and in no time you should start to see results.
Importance of Focus in Golf
Remember that focus in golf is the most important mental trait to have. Focus is so important that distractions are obviously illegal on the course, and any noise during a shot in strictly discouraged. Practice your focus for putting and focus during drives to have a complete game. You can then try to expand the process to include proper focus in between shots. You shouldn’t be too focused while you’re not actively at the ball, but you also can’t afford to be too distracted. Slightly detaching your focus between shots will make it easier for you to focus in when you’re over the ball.
“T & T” will work especially well for introverted players. People who are more extroverted will need to work hard to narrow their focus, regardless of the tip. This quick fix will certainly improve their play as well, but it will likely take a little bit longer to help translate to their play. Remember that in either situation you must both detach and narrow your mental focus before each shot or putt.
Want to know how your personality traits line up with tour pros? Our 8 Champion Personality Traits for Golf Assessment will show you where you stand and provide personalized advice on how you can play like a pro. Find how your ability to focus in golf relates to the pros’ abilities.