Ben Hogan once stated, “golf is not a game of good shots, it’s a game of bad shots.”

If you really want to play consistent golf, manage your game by managing your mistakes. After each round, you should look at your statistics a bit deeper than your typical fairways or greens hit, but not as deep as strokes gained putting, that gets too be too much in my opinion. But hey, if that type of over-analyzing works for you, go at it.

2012 US Open champion, Webb Simpson, and his caddy, Paul Tesori, have a specific system that examine their own play. It’s quite simple; they look at four statistics that show where they are making mistakes….They know that the person who makes the fewest mistakes usually wins.

After every tournament, they look at the following four statistics:

1)   Three-putts

2)   Bogeying any par-five

3)   Bogey from the fairway <8 iron

4)   Double bogey

They have deemed that any of these mistakes is like giving 2 shots back to the field that they cannot afford to make. Assessing their play in this fashion also helps direct their practice, and/or game strategy.

If the goal is consistency, are you managing mistakes in your own game?

Dr. Rob Bell is the author of Mental Toughness Training for Golf, an AASP certified Sport Psychology consultant, and caddy on tour. He consults with athletes, coaches, and teams at all levels helping build and enhance their own mental toughness.  His website is and you can find him on Twitter @drrobbell,

In early 2000’s, Ken Ravizza was doing one of his impromptus, yet standing room only, presentations at the national conference of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology. He was working with the Anaheim Angels at the time and one of his messages was “don’t ask for gear.”

In essence, if the team and coaches enjoy your work, they will freely offer you team gear and swag. I LOVED IT! I have lived by this mantra, although I thoroughly enjoy fresh warm-ups, lids, and jackets. I have a passion for supporting and helping the various teams I work.

Here’s the deal, if you want to know your effectiveness, let the coach get your size and outfit you. I have come to associate that a coach that freely gives you “gear” means he/she wants you to be present and a part of the team. It is a small, yet important, token of appreciation and a rite of passage.

You’re receiving monetary compensation as well (you should be if you’re not), so it doesn’t necessarily mean a coach that doesn’t “outfit” you appreciate you, but it does go a long way.

What are small ways that you feel a part of the organization or team that you work with?

Have you ever played the game— I love you more? Choose from the following three choices, which relationship most describes you.

1) Your partner loves you more than you love him or her.


2) You love your partner more then he/she loves you.


3) You love each other equally, but it’s boring.

Now, if you did not pick an answer that says something as well. But, the question, if answered honestly, tells us more about our sense of control, more so than our actual relationship status.

If we pick answer #1, we want to be loved MORE than our loving the other person. It means we value control. The person we are closest too physically, emotionally, and spiritually, we still want just the slightest bit of control.

If we picked answer #2, we sacrifice control over the relationship, knowing what ultimate love really feels like. It involves complete trust, because we believe that our emotional needs will still be met, and it means we are willing to be vulnerable. We are completely exposed, and if your heart has ever been broken and you can honestly pick #2, you’re stronger than you think.

If answer #3 was your choice, you either weren’t honest or you are really boring. Maybe that’s a good thing. It means you avoid all or nothing thinking! The older I’ve gotten, the more I actually take this choice.

We confuse and spend too much time on the things we can influence, rather then focusing only on the things within our control. The only things inside of our complete control are our attitude, preparation, and our hustle. We control the door, not The Hinge.

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kids: Build Their Mental Toughness   

The big loss

 What Happens with the Big Loss?

Throughout the course of season, losses will most likely occur, but this is about The BIG LOSS.

The loss that ends a season, or a missed opportunity so bad, that it causes the worse type of feeling in sports.

If you are in the game long enough, you’ll experience it.

Really good teams and athletes possess a different mindset. They are so confident, that there is little doubt that they will win!

This type of belief is actually what makes them so successful. So, here are five facts of the big loss and five things to do if you experience it.

Five Facts of The Big Loss

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  1. It is a shock that the loss happened, and yes, there is sadness and anger, but the overriding emotion becomes a lack of any feeling. The immediate feeling is complete numbness.
  2. The BIG LOSS is more mentally and emotionally painful than any physical pain encountered throughout conditioning or an injury. It hits the core self.
  3. “Success has a thousand fathers, failure is an orphan.”  When you win, “everybody” will want to be a part of it, from pats on the back to phone-calls and text messages.  However, when you lose, it’s just you.  You’ll then realize who is really there for you. 
  4. The loss will ALWAYS stay with you. There is so much emotion involved, that it actually becomes time-stamped in our memory.
  5. What follows in the days and weeks ahead is part of the grieving process: Denial, anger, depression, and acceptance. It is a healthy process and there is no speed course.

5 Steps after The painful defeat:

  1. Read & Re-read: The Man in the Arena & The Man Who Fights the Bull (below).

    “Bullfight critics ranked in rows

    Crowd the enormous Plaza full

    But only one is there who knows

    And he’s the man who fights the bull.”


    It’s you that put in the hard work, the sacrifice, and the one who played.  Refuse to give anyone else the power of how you’ll feel, especially after The Big Loss. Some of those emotions like “letting people down” or “embarrassment” serve no positive feedback. You’ll have to remove that type of mind-garbage as quickly as it arrives.

  2. There is nothing that can be spoken that will ease the pain. The Big Loss although very painful, will not kill you. It is an inconvenience, not a tragedy. What happens is that our inability to move-on is what causes the mental strife.
  3. The ball bounces funny sometimes, and usually with great teams and players, it comes down to a hinge moment: One shot, play, or catch that makes all of the difference.
  4. You have to know that “it is okay.” You lost, and you don’t have to like it, but there is nothing that you can do about it now, except, move-on.
  5. A larger piece of experiencing The Big Loss is your faith and acceptance as a person outside of your sport. It is a difficult to accept, but if all you consider yourself is “an athlete”, then the Big loss is not even the real issue. You have to believe that “you are not only how you play, you are so much more.”
  6. Okay, one more….“People have no idea how many times you have to finish 2nd in order to finish 1st.” – Jack Nicklaus

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the recent books on Mental Toughness-