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The Tour Report

November 5 2013

11:53 AM

The Mental Game: Learn from mistakes

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM

When Dustin Johnson lost the lead to Ian Poulter during the final round at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, he did not force the issue while getting too aggressive, leading to a big number or two. The wiser Johnson has learned from his past mistakes. The seasoned Johnson said he must be patient and stick with his game plan and let the scores happen. It worked and Johnson found the winner’s circle to what he called the biggest win of his career.
We all make mistakes. We all fail at times in our golfing life. We have all had a few terrible holes and many horrendous rounds. We have all seen the greatest golfers in the world fail as well. However, the most successful golfers use failure as a springboard to better days on the links.
Johnson has used his mistakes in the past as lessons learned. Here are a few suggestions to fail forward in your golfing career:

1) Be real about your mistakes. Realize that failing in golf and performing poorly at times is part of golf. Take it easy on yourself when you hit some bad shots and have a bad hole. One of the greatest golfers of all time, Ben Hogan, expected to hit five stinkers a round.

2) Create a failing forward journal. After each round, write down five mistakes you made. Then write down what you learned from those mistakes and move on. The importance of this mental exercise is that you no longer dwell on the mistakes. Focus only on what is gained in knowledge from each experience.

But don’t just think about what you should have done, go out and practice the skills you need to improve, both mental ones and physical ones. As legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change can be.”

Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the Tour” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players.  Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf. Inquire about coaching as well as get your autographed copy at www.drgreggsteinberg.com

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