Unfortunately as junior golfers we learn to measure our performance against PAR because the handicap system Is based on how many strokes you play above or below par.
This focus on the handicap and results often causes junior golfers to become blind to the process of what actually allows them to perform at their best and what allows them to develop to the next levels as golfers and young human beings.
If you are one of the many junior golfers that are playing golf and getting frustrated by measuring your performance against PAR on each hole then maybe you need to look differently about how you play PARS by defining it with a different meaning.
Now lets define It in a way so that each Letter stands for an essential process of playing golf and performing on the golf course.
P = PLAN AND PREPERATION – What ever task you do in life , or in school, it is essential to have a clear plan of what you want to achieve and how you think you can successfully accomplish it and then prepare for that in the best possible way.
As an example for an individual golf shot it begins with having complete clarity on the club , distance, target and swing that you want in order to achieve the task . Then you move into the preparation phase and physically and mentally prepare for what you have planned. This then creates a level of “commitment “ that will give you best chance of successfully doing the task.
Research shows that a significant amount of poor shots from golfers stem from a lack of clarity and commitment in the P Phase.
“ My goal is to have clarity and commitment on each shot I play”
Melissa Reid Solheim Cup player / European Tour
A – ATTENTION
When we are talking about a golf shot execution it is essential that our attention is held in the moment, on a sensory aspect of the shot and not on the consequences of the golf shot (e.g it would be bad if this shot went right).
The ability to hold your attention on one thing that helps your execution ( swing trigger word, swing feel, image of target) is a skill that is one of the most important factors for a successful golf shot when playing under pressure.
We train this with players using methods from biofeedback, neurofeedback and meditation. These are incorporated into practice exercises on the driving range and golf course.
“ To deal with the pressure I concentrate on what I can control “ Zach Johnson – Two time Major winner and Ryder cup player
- R = RESPONSE
The way you respond after executing a task will define what competitor you are and will become. The players that are able to perform more consistently in tournaments are the ones that are able to “bounce back” and deal with unwanted things best.
To see unwanted things as part of the challenge and taking pride in how well and quickly you recover from those moments is something that needs to be trained and practiced just like hitting golf balls.
By reflecting on your expectations, beliefs, goals, body language and self talk you can make the first important step in improving your Responses
“Golf is 10 percent what happens and 90% how you respond to what happens“
Charles R. Swindoll
- S = SWITCH OFF
After doing a task or a golf shot it is important to be able to switch off and give yourself a mental break in order to save concentration and focus for the next task.
Most players are thinking and talking about golf in-between golf shots and therefore are consistently drinking from the “golf focus bottle”. This will often result in a lack of focus in the last part of the round and will cause a player to be thinking too much about the consequences of the result and score.
“ I go on vacation in-between shots “ Annika Sorrenstam – Hall of fame Golfer
Learn to go on a mental vacation for short spells inbetween shots.
Each player has strengths and weaknesses in PARS, some players are very well planned and prepared but their response to outcomes holds them back and stops their development . So for these golfers its important to set goals and measure the R in PARS and the S for switch off.
Others are able to switch off great and respond well to various outcomes but lack clear goals and are unable to focus on what they want with any high level of commitment.
For these players its important to develop and train the P and A aspect to PARS.
So now when you go onto the golf course you can measure performance against a different PAR, one that is controllable and leads to better play under pressure and allows you to develop yourself and game to the next level!