Over the weekend I was watching a bunch of Moe Norman videos. While Moe does talk about the mechanics of the golf swing, he would usually revert back to the mental game of golf. I thought this video was his most informative piece of work towards the game:
I've mentioned this before...mechanics are very important. But, in order to strike the ball at Moe's level and to shoot the scores he did (and being a lousy putter), one must have the mental makeup for it. The game has a very small margin for error. 2-3 degrees off can be disastrous. It also tends to work against you because your brain finds a way to adjust around your mechanics. If a piece of your mechanics may cause you to hit the ball low, you can bet that you'll likely incorporate some type of compensatory mechanical piece to try and get the ball higher in the air.
So Moe has a lot of key phrases and words like 'don't be afraid of yourself' and 'winners see what they want and losers see what they don't want.' Some of this may come off like psychobabble, but in the end I feel Moe was saying that he focused on the shot he wanted to hit along with the swing thoughts that would produce that shot. That was his sole focus.
Instead, most golfers start thinking about what they are afraid they are capable of doing....hitting a poor shot. That divides their attention. They start thinking about possibly hitting a poor shot and the swing mechanics that go into a poor shot and they start losing focus on the shot they want to hit and the swing thoughts that go into that shot they want to hit.
Over a week ago I wrote on my Twitter that between the statistics and science behind the brain...it shows that playing defensive golf is pissing away the opportunity to be great.
From a statistical standpoint, we see performance typically goes downward when the golfer starts playing more defensively. They end up having more difficult shots to hit. As I wrote in 2014 Pro Golf Synopsis, golfers are better off having to hit a tee shot with a higher level of difficulty than an approach shot with a higher level of difficulty. If you hit a poor drive on a par-4 because it has a high level of difficulty, you now have 3 more shots to 'make up for it' and save par. But, if you hit a poor approach shot because it had a high degree of difficulty, now you have only 2 more shot to make up for it and save par. And we also see that laying up with a 3-wood off the tee presents its own problems in terms of finding the fairway. Lastly, if you're playing for the 'worst case scenario' and are afraid that a bad swing with the driver will result in a very bad shot; there is ABSOLUTELY NO GUARANTEE that you would not have taken a poor swing with whatever club you are laying up with and end up in a worse position.
And if you talk to Dr. Bhrett McCabe (www.bhrettmccabe.com), people perform better when they are in an 'aggressive' mindset versus a passive mindset. Think about the person who drives a car very casually versus the person that tries to be 'careful' driving the car. The casual driver will likely reach their destination quicker with no problems versus the careful driver.
I think Moe's mindset had more to do with his ability to strike the ball than his purported autism or mechanics. As he states in the video, he was able to aim and fire instead of aiming and directing. He knew what shot he wanted to hit and focused solely on that and believed there was no reason why he could not do it. And if he mis-fired, it was no big deal. As he said 'a bad shot only hurts my vanity. And vanity is the luxury of fools.' Working on you mechanics is an imperative to good golf. But all that work is for nothing if you don't have the mental approach to trust your talent to hit those shots.