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What Is Your Number?

I am sure you will agree that you play better when you are confident than when you have doubt or are negative. The reason for this is because confidence creates positive emotions, which enhance your brain's chemistry and increase your ability to perform.

If you knew that you would shoot the score you desire before you even tee off, you would be a very confident golfer and it would reflect in your performance. Guess what? You already know what your final score is going to be most of the time if you know your number. Now, it is just a question of improving your game to lower your number or final score to be the one you desire.

In order to know what your number is you have to keep track of all of your practice and tournament rounds of golf. For example, if you have an 18 handicap, your number would be 90. Whether you like it or not, the probability is very high that your score will be very close to 90. If you play a four-day tournament, you may shoot an 86, 94, 89 and 91 to get your number of 90. So why be upset when you shoot a 94 or excited when you shoot an 86 because your scores will average out to your number.

The importance of knowing your number is that it allows you to reduce the emotional swings of golf and be more consistent. Your good shots/days and bad shots/days will average out, so relax and play your game with confidence. Once you know your number and remove the negative emotions created by reacting to your score or outcomes, you will be in a much better position to focus on the adjustments you need to make to improve your game and lower your number to be what your desire.

The last time I looked, Tiger Wood's number was 67.8. Some days he shoots in the 70's and other days he shoots in the 60's, but before he even tees off Tiger knows that at the end of four days he will finish close to his number. Since his number is lower than everyone else's, all he has to do to win most of the time is to shoot his number. That is why Tiger is so confident and wins a lot of tournaments. He lets the other players worry about winning or losing and confidently plays his game expecting to shoot his number.

Here is a good example of the value of knowing what your number is. Imagine that you have just qualified for the final stage of the PGA tour school, which is a 6-day qualifier. You know that your number is 70. Do you start the qualifier with doubts about playing good enough to get your tour card? Or, do you tell yourself that if I just shoot my number, I'll finish pretty close to 12 under, which should be more than low enough to qualify for the PGA tour.

Since you know your number, you won't get excited if you shoot a 66 one day or depressed if you shoot 74 the next day because you know that the good and bad days, just like the good and bad shots will average out. They have to because that is your number and you know what you can do.

More tour cards are lost from doubt and lack of confidence than lack of ability. You gain a mental edge by confidently playing your game one shot at a time and let the other players worry about not getting their card. Unfortunately, most players eliminate themselves with their doubt and negative emotions caused by only a couple of bad shots or bad breaks, which are just a part of their number and the game of golf.

Whether you are trying to break 100, are on the professional tour or somewhere in between, your number doesn't lie and will always average out. If you know your number, you can increase your confidence just by doing what you know you can do and not worrying about what you can't control. So what is your number and what are you doing to make it lower?

© Copyright 2002 by Michael Anthony.  All rights reserved