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Its always fascinated me how hitting the ball is such a small part of playing a round of golf.

90 percent of anyone’s round of golf is spent not hitting the ball at all.

I like to explain playing golf on the course as either being in one of two states.

‘Up Time’ is the time you spend around the ball. This is when you’re switched on, alert, making decisions about the shot, committing, and ultimately walking into the shot and executing. There’s a process.

‘Down Time’ is the time we spend in between shots, waiting for others to play, getting to your ball, etc. This is the majority of time we spend on the course. This is why people tend to have particular individuals who they prefer to play the game with.

So how do we know when we are in concentrating mode (up time) and relaxing time (down time)?

The best way is to adopt some form of trigger to tell and remind yourself which mode you are in.

One of the best triggers I’ve found is simply putting your glove on and taking it off (although this is not set in stone, it can be something more personal to you and the way you play the game).

As soon as you put your glove on this can be your trigger to go into concentration mode (up time). My advice would be within a ten-yard radius of your ball.

During this ‘Up time’ you go into a thinking zone. Here you make all the decisions about the shot in question, i.e. club, shape, target, distance, wind, trouble, etc. You will also have your practice swing or swings and start visualizing the shot. This should all be done approximately 4-5 yards behind the ball, down the line.

You then start walking towards the ball. At this point you are in the playing zone.

Here you should not be thinking too much about technique but more about rhythm or a simple feeling.

Now is not a good time to use your left-brain, analytical side. You’ve made all of your decisions, trust them and take a nice feeling into the shot and hit the ball toward the chosen target.

Sometimes I coach people who tend to get stuck over the ball, and can’t pull the trigger. Many times, it’s because they are custom to using their left brain more than the right.

The theory goes that, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking. Also, people are said to prefer one type of thinking to another.

Someone who is ‘left brained’ is said to be more analytical, objective and logical.

A person who is ‘right brained’ is said to be more intuitive, creative and imaginative.

If you tend to be stuck in the left-brain more than the right, you may find it difficult to pull the trigger as you walk into the playing zone. A good idea would be to start practicing on the range using your right brain more.

Start visualizing the shot, creating the shot in your mind’s eye. Then walk into the shot, and execute.

Stop spending so much time over the ball! Make all your decisions before walking into the ball, commit to a target and accept the outcome. Off comes the glove, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.

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