Maintaining Momentum in Your Game
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Minjee Lee hits her shot from the 17th tee during the third round for the 2022 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club on June 25, 2022 in Bethesda, Maryland.
Is there a trick to riding momentum when you are in the early stages of gaining it? Or what about a way to break out of a downwards trajectory and nerves start to creep into our game?
In either case, what is happening is something that is generally outside of our norm and can happen during a single round or even a stretch of days or weeks…both for the good and the bad. I have had many students over the years go through both great runs and bad ones.
Let’s take a look at two examples:
It’s getting deep into a nine-hole high school match and a young golfer finds themselves at even, one over or even at one under par after seven holes. As nerves creep in, a stumble to the finish line happens and that good momentum comes to a screeching halt. A few doubles or even an occasional triple leads to the golfer posting their “normal” 40 to 42.
On the flip side, I have a few students that generally start off shaky, with some doubles and a few bogies to start, only to smooth things out over the middle through late parts of the round and shoot their own “normal” 40 to 42.
Can you relate to either of these scenarios?
When things are going well in your game, it is critical to stick to your routine. Never get too much ahead of yourself. It’s important that when you are exceeding your own expectations to remain relaxed, take in some deep breaths, and go with it, while keeping your original laid out plan for the round at the top of your mind.
When things start to come undone, it is pretty much the same advice…continue to try and stick to that original game plan, and your pre-shot routine. Without question, the one thing you cannot do is to get into a mindset of trying to “force it” or play “catch up” as this is generally something that leads to digging a much bigger hole for yourself.
As JT Poston said after his win at the John Deer Classic, ”Just kind of take the good looks when they come." No need to change anything from what you are doing when things are going well. Sticking to what works is key to continuing your momentum.