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    • Mental Game: Balancing life and golf

    • Bubba Watson picks up his son Caleb on the 18th green after winning the Masters. (David Cannon/Getty Images) Bubba Watson picks up his son Caleb on the 18th green after winning the Masters. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

    Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson is taking a page from the playbook of six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus. The Golden Bear kept everything in perspective because he had balance in his life. Golf was not his only focus. His family, with his five children and lovely wife Barbara, is always his priority.

    Watson follows the same lead and has mentioned that he is so appreciative of being a father and husband. His goal is to be as great at golf as he is a family man. He wants to be a great husband to his wife Angie and a wonderful father to his son Caleb. Bubba mentioned that such a perspective has kept him calm throughout this season. After his close loss to Kevin Stadler at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, his perspective kept his anger in check, and according to Bubba, helped him win two weeks later in Los Angeles at the Northern Trust Open.

    Bubba’s perspective about his life and appreciation for what he has now is a huge mental strength. It helps to keep his emotions in check under the pressure cooker of the PGA TOUR.

    One the flip side, if you don’t have balance in your life and great perspective, you will have a tendency to place all your ego eggs in the proverbial golf basket, and as a result, have a greater tendency to get more stressed out during a golf tournament. That is, if golf is your only outlet for feeling good about yourself, then you will have a greater need to demonstrate your competence in a positive way. You will feel you must play well to feel good about yourself. And with this need comes greater anxiety.

    Be like Bubba. Diversify your life. Invest your time and energy in a multitude of areas to feel good about yourself. You will find that your golf game will accrue in the long term.

    Dr. Gregg Steinberg is author of the best selling mental game book, Mentalrules for golf. He has worked with many PGA TOUR players, collegiate teams and junior golfers. You can see more about him at www.DrGreggSteinberg.com. Please e-mail him at mentalrules24@msn.com for any questions or concerns about the mental game.

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