5 Ways To Enter Into The Zone

If you haven't heard of the expression "the zone" when it comes to golf, it is that special mental state where everything flows effortlessly and the player is playing at peak performance. 

Enter the Zone

If we know the main characteristics of the zone, then we can reach this ideal mental state by putting these pieces of the puzzle together. We can work on each of these elements in practice and become increasingly better at entering the zone and playing our best golf.

1. Challenge and skills

The player in the zone does not perceive the golf course as hard. Instead, the player perceives the course as a challenge and uses his skills to overcome this challenge. A golf round becomes a problem solving task and the player is focused only on finding the solutions.

2. Focus on the process and not on the outcome

The outcome-hitting the ball, winning a tournament, is not within your control. If you focus on the outcome, you will become anxious since deep inside you know that you cannot guarantee the result.

Being anxious only worsens your ability to play good golf. That's why you need to focus on the process that is within your control direct all of your attention toward the ball and what you want to do with it.

The process is your idea of how you want to send the ball away, which means that you IMAGINE the trajectory of the ball and where you want it to land. Keep your focus on the execution of the shot until it's finished.

Notice how Tiger Woods does not move his head until he completes the follow-through. This does not mean that he just keeps his head still, it means that he keeps his focus on the execution (and not the outcome- he is not looking at the target area!) and the head therefore remains at the point of contact.

Drill: Focus all your attention on the execution of the shot until it's finished while keeping in mind the desired flight path of the ball. You don't have to force your head to be still; instead, just experience your stroke fully until it's finished. This will automatically keep your head still.

3. Having a clear goal and being decisive

The opposite of being decisive is being indecisive, which means that you don't have a clear goal. A player in the zone does not change his mind and does not doubt his decisions. Whatever decision comes to mind, he sticks with it, trusts it, and goes with it.

4. Seeing every shot as feedback

A player in the zone does not judge his shots as good or bad. He sees them only as feedback to indicate whether he needs to keep doing what's working or make slight adjustments. Judgment immediately triggers emotions, which break the flow and the zone state.

5. Being here and now

Another characteristic of being in the zone is having no sense of the past or future. The player is immersed in "the now". This allows him to use all of his brain capacity for solving the problem in the moment without distracting thoughts about the past and future.

If you devote your full attention to the ball, you'll be in the here and now. You'll also be one step closer to playing in the zone.