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Cindy Miller: Ability to bounce back in golf is most important trait

How important is the ability to bounce back and recover from a setback in golf?

It's only the most important thing. Why? Because we all miss shots.

The Players Championships is this week. The first-round leaders — Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley — played terribly last Saturday in Orlando at Bay Hill. Bradley shot 75 and Fleetwood shot 76.

Why is that a big deal? Because they were co-leaders going into that round. Fleetwood rallied Sunday to tie for third, but Bradley shot 78 and finished tied for 46.

How does that happen? It’s easy. You lose your feel, your timing, you start thinking about score, you get a couple bad breaks or you just start swinging badly.

How difficult is it to bounce back?

That depends.

It depends on you.

How resilient are you?

Do you know what causes your bad shots? Do you know how to fix them? Or, do you hear that little voice in your head say, “Here we go again. Same old thing. You always mess up this hole.”

If you really want to learn how to bounce back, you need to do a few things.

  • Realize everyone misses shots. Get off your own back. Lighten up.
  • Learn to identify your tendencies. What is your miss? Why does the ball go where it does? Do you know how to fix it? Let’s say you tend to hit it thin when you are under pressure. You might even skull shots into the green. Do you know why? The club isn’t getting to the ground. All your playing partners tell you that you are looking up. You know you aren’t. I would tell you that your arms are most likely locking up, which are pulling you up, which is making you hit it thin. If that is the case, your miss isn’t coming from your golf swing. Your miss is coming from your thoughts. Fear and apprehension are making your arms lock up. When you pull away from the ball, you will hit up on it. Relax your arms and brush the grass and everything is fixed.
  • Have the courage to look in the mirror. Be willing to see what the real cause is. If you are willing to reveal the truth, you will be able to bounce back more quickly. Why? Because you will be able to defeat your demons. Nothing will scare you.

How long does it take to learn?

That depends.

How badly do you want to fix it?

You see, when the pain hurts worse than the fear of what you might find, you will be willing to fix it. Cause/Cure. It’s as easy as that.

I have been trying to get good at this difficult game forever.

I am one of the few who is willing to admit my weaknesses, seek help to fix them, and share my faults with others. Why? Because I know for a fact, I am not the only one who screws up. I want my students to know I understand how they feel, I have felt the same way, and this is what I have found out.

Someone who is in Jacksonville at The Players told me that Fleetwood was on the putting green until 6:30 p.m. Thursday. His tee time was 8:22 a.m. Friday. Why in the world would he be putting so late?

Bounce back.

He knows his tendencies. He is on a mission to defeat the demons. He knows what he needs to do to gain the clarity and confidence to continue playing well.

I wonder how he will finish. My guess is if he doesn’t win this week, it will be soon.

Sit back and watch.

I bet it won’t be long.

Cindy Miller is a former LPGA Tour Player, a current member of the Legends Tour of the LPGA, and a Golf Channel Academy Lead Coach. She is a Certified Behavior, Motivation, and Judgment Professional who is sought after as a speaker, coach, and corporate trainer. Reach out to her at Follow Cindy at  and on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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