Technically perfect golf does not always win over good mental golf


Have you noticed that the winners on the professional golf tours around the world aren’t always technically or statistically the best players. They often don’t even look like the best player over the four rounds the week they win. Now, I know that’s a contradiction, because if they win the event, then they must be the best in that event.

Going back a few weeks to the 2009 Masters, no one would suggest that Kenny Perry, Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell were the best players in the field, but they were the one’s that got into the playoff, despite their obvious mistakes. Many of the technically and statistically better players looked to be playing really well, but despite some amazing heroics from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, none of them came near getting into the playoff.

You’re often hearing me talk about how I started my golf during the golden years of my golfing hero Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear. Listening to me and many other pundits, you’d imagine that Jack was the most technically and statistically perfect golfer of all time. However, I have to admit that although he may still be the best golfer the world’s ever known, he was physically and technically way behind the likes of Tiger Woods.

I was recently picked up my rather well thumbed copy of Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible, published in 1999 and re-read his section on the ideal composite golfer – who he would pick as the top three golfers in each of six key technical areas. Interestingly, Tiger Woods appears only once as Number two behind Greg Norman in Driving and Fairway Woods and Jack Nicklaus doesn’t appear at all!

A more recent article broadly confirms these results, but this time it includes ratings for the Mental Game and Course Management. The truly great golfers, like Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo, rise to the top in these categories and demonstrate how they make the best of their all-round technical skills through the strength in the areas of golf psychology.

In conclusion, I suggest that although it’s good to be as technically and physically competent as you possibly can, you’re more likely to achieve consistently good golf by mastering the mental side of golf and your course management first. The time to work on the technical side of your swing and putting stroke is when you are achieving the best results you can with your current ones.

Leave a Reply