Whether you’re a professional on tour or a recreational golfer picking up the game for the first time, we all spend time before our shots in what we refer to as the “Think Box”.
The Think Box isn’t an actual place on the golf course, but rather the mental space you occupy when preparing for your shot.
Lately, we’ve seen more players spending a lot of time in the Think Box, lingering far longer than they should in “analysis paralysis” by checking yardages, wind, slopes, and so on.
While being equipped with the right amount of information could prove helpful, data overload can result in players over-preparing, under-performing, and, over all, slowing down the pace of play for everyone.
We believe great golf is a balance between evaluating the essential facts and trusting yourself. Remember that no one starts a round wanting to be a slow golfer, so most often the players who spend a large amount of time in the Think Box are simply unaware of how to approach things differently.
For the future of your game, the more efficiently you spend your time in the Think Box, the easier it will be to play well.
During your next round of golf, try one of these drills to refine your movement from the Think Box to taking your shot:
Play nine holes without any facts.
That means no checking yardages, reading the greens, or even taking practice swings! The only “data” you can rely on in the Think Box is your senses. See and feel what club and shot you want to hit. On the greens, stay present in the moment and use your instincts to sense how the ball will be rolling to the hole.
Limit your practice swings to one for each shot during your round.
If you like making practice swings, focus on how you can accomplish the intention of the practice swing or stroke in one attempt.
Play a few holes and make the fact-checking simple.
For example: only get the yardage to the pin or middle of the green. Once you’ve made your decision, close your eyes for a few seconds to check in with your gut to determine if you truly trust that decision.
Trust and GO.
Putting and shots around the green are even more of an art than full shots. If you get a “go” signal from your gut to your brain telling you how to hit a chip, pitch, bunker shot or putt, then GO, and don’t let fact-checking by searching for more data to confirm your assessment silence your instincts.
After your round, make note of what happens to your game using each approach. You can revisit these simple exercises at any time to help you tap into your instincts and learn to listen in. You’ll find yourself getting closer to identifying your sweet spot and helping your brain and your gut more quickly to come to an agreement.