Why you must stay in the present by George Kasparis

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Last month, we saw the unraveling of a 10 shot lead held by one of the coolest operators in world golf, Martin Kaymer. While Gary Stal should be credited for his sensational charge to victory, the collapse of Kaymer was also sensational, in its own kind of way. It once again proves the humbling powers of golf, and how fragile the mind can be under its unique pressures. Although we can't compare the Monthly Medal at your club to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, we can consider the similarities and explore ways to stop the rot when you feel the wheels starting to come off your own round.

'Staying in the present' is a technique famously taught by sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella, and was beautifully executed in the 2008 Masters by one of Rotella's students, Trevor Immelman. It is well documented that during the final round at August National, Trevor only became aware of his true position in the tournament when he marched up the 18th fairway to a standing ovation fit for the champion he was soon to be. His plan for that day was simple: stick to his pre-shot routine, and do not look at a leaderboard. Having the ability to treat every golf shot you hit in a round as if it were the only thing you had to do that day is a very precious skill to have. It serves as a block and deters any thoughts of potential outcomes  and scenarios, good or bad, leaving only room for you to stay in the present and deal with what you have in front of you. If you play the best shot you can play every time on that day, then you will only produce the best score you can possibly produce for that day.

Ask yourself, how many times have you got off to a good start in a round, and before you know it you are having visions  of grandeur and picturing yourself signing for a personal best or modestly recounting your exploits in the spike bar afterwards only to then shoot double your handicap on the back nine and wonder if this game is really for you? And on the flip side, how  many times have you gotten off to a poor start only to find yourself finishing level with your your handicap? These kind of emotional peaks and troughs are hard to deal with and can determine the outcome of your day, both on and off the golf course.

The mind works in mysterious ways, and we'll never really know what happened with Kaymer in Abu Dhabi, but one thing is for sure and that is; if we all build a solid,  repeatable routine, and play every shot  without worrying about the future or what  happened in the past, we will always be able to honestly say that our day on the course could not have been any better.

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