The year is 2021. The month is June. We’re starting to really cruise in this post-COVID 19 landscape. And holy cow, having the US Open this weekend was nice. While I do hope you enjoyed watching it, hopefully you know by now my job is to drop some useful mental game knowledge on you. I can’t let a good learning opportunity go by with sharing my obviously important thoughts!

So now that you’ve had a day to process. Let’s reflect back on some really good lessons from the course that you should be incorporating into your game!

  • Chill the f*ck out. How often do you get out on the course and turn so serious that you’d think YOU were playing in the open? It’s one thing to be competitive, but it’s another to take yourself too seriously. We learned from Viktor Hovland this weekend that weird shit happens. Hovland stayed optimistic and even kept his sense of humor. This bodes well for his next tournaments and increases the likelihood that he bounces back even stronger. Disappointment and frustration may not be avoidable on the course, but your response IS in your control. Find a way to take a laugh and just chill out and move on. 
  • Find a way to reset. Sometimes life, and golf, will kick you in the throat. If you dismiss the previous tip, you’ll never recover from those kicks. John Rahm got absolutely obliterated by the intersection of life and golf at the Memorial Tournament. That could have been the first step to a total meltdown. However, he turned around and kicked golf right back in the throat by winning the Open after rocking a couple of clutch putts late. It’s not about compensating for tough breaks. It’s about rebounding from them. 
  • The above two are important. But we also can’t swing the other way. Staying present and being able to stay cool and reset after a bad shot(s) allows you to avoid being in an unlucky club we witnessed this weekend. Top guys not making the cut. Every major, we see guys miss the cut who should always be in contention. This weekend was no different. Sometimes our skill and confidence can get ahead of us. It’s important to slow down and stay engaged regardless of who we’re playing with. 

It’s like any interpersonal interaction. What isn’t said is almost always as important as what is said. So it’s important to look at what the leaders are doing and see if you can replicate or implement those strategies. But it’s just as important to be able to look at what the pros aren’t killing it in and figure out how to learn from their mistakes. You can be stubborn and learn through adversity or you can watch these tournaments for the things beyond the club and learn a whole lot that can catapult your own game.

Dr. Chelsi Day

Dr. Day is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is an Ohio native who completed her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Health and Sport Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio while competing on the Varsity Swimming and Diving team as a diver. She then went on to earn a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology followed by a Master's degree and later a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.