Unlock Better Golf Decision Making

Inspiration on the Road

I recently took a road trip to several national parks out west.  In addition to entire days spent driving, there was a lot of time spent outdoors, many miles hiked, and some less-than-restful nights.

What does any of this have to do with golf?  Let’s discuss.

This Lesson Is For You If:

You know the right strategic decisions but don’t put them in practice

You want to make better decisions on the course

“Forearm-Deep in a Bag of Doritos”

I try to lead a healthy lifestyle.  At home, I work out daily, and I monitor my food intake closely.  During the aforementioned trip, however, I frequently found myself forearm-deep in bags of Doritos.  Candy wrappers started taking up an increasing amount of real estate around my feet.

Why did this happen?  Did I lose my knowledge of nutrition when I crossed the Illinois border?  No.  I was exhausted and lacking the resources to make good decisions.

Good Decisions Aren’t Complicated, They’re Hard

There’s nothing complicated about making a good decision.  Everyone knows we should floss daily, eat our vegetables, and stop aiming at flags.  However, simple is not the same as easy.  Making good decisions requires resources – physical and emotional energy.

Bad decisions typically require less energy, and they’re often more enjoyable.  I’d rather sleep than floss.  I’d rather eat pizza than broccoli.  And I’d definitely rather fire at the pin than play to the center of the green.

Fill Your Tanks

The next time you have a round of golf on the calendar, think about filling your tanks before you play.  Get a full night of sleep.  Eat a good meal and get hydrated before the round.  Bring a healthy snack to eat on the course.  Try to clear out your mental checklist so you don’t have outside things shouting at you from the back of your mind.

When you take care of your basic needs, you have a greater ability to focus and control your thinking.  This should lead to more thoughtful decisions, better self control, and lower scores.

Matt Saternus
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  1. Andy Spevack

    Thanks for this. The sleep especially. I’ve found that the number of hours I sleep also correspond to how fast I swing and how my workouts feel among other things.

  2. Kenneth Wood

    So true! What a different round of golf when I get enough sleep and eat a healthy meal before playing. I also notice much better results and attitude when I can arrive early before tee time, warm up on the putting green, do some stretching, and practice some club swinging to loosen up. Staying hydrated definitely will keep my mind functioning much better and helps a lot with my attitude. Great reminder and advice as always guys.

  3. This is good advice, even mid round. The 2nd hole at my home course is only a 253 yard par 4, but it plays about 280+ because that’s how far uphill it is. I’m also walking and sometimes when I get to my 2nd shot I’m kind of winded. I’ve noticed when I try to make a shot in that condition, the result is less than optimal. I am far too capable of doing that when fully rested, so now when I get ready for that shot, I take a little extra time to get myself better.

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