Mindset - Becoming a Birdie Hunter

So, we all go to the course and try to do our best right? 

I don’t know if you have ever tried to have a deliberate attitude on the course? For example, today I want to enjoy the game as much as possible or maybe that today I’m gonna shoot a low score or something similar? 

Well, I’ve done it a lot and here are my learnings. Again, everything written is not right or wrong, it’s just my experience and if it helps you, then great! (check out the golf technique change guide for a deeper story on who is writing)


Short Background - input values

I’m basically a club level golfer that is just a bit more nerdy than the average person and go about trying to shoot under par as much as I can. That’s why I play golf, the sweet feeling of a nicely hit shot and how satisfying it is to “beat the course design”. 

If you’ve read my texts before you know that I’m a result based dinosaur brain person that really benefits greatly from keeping the result out of my shot making process. You can read about my mental routine here in a break down done a while ago. That’s my routine, not the attitude that I will discuss in this text but the background is good to have to see who is babbling on here…

I notice a huge difference in my actual performance if I adapt certain mindsets through a round or a stretch of holes. Below I will break down a bunch of different mindsets that I’ve tested, what has worked really well and possibly more important - what definitely doesn’t work.


The Confident Shoot Low Attitude

For me I have many times felt so "damn good" about my shots in the warm up that I’ve been (subconsciously) saying to myself that - Today Buddy You Will Shoot Low.

This normally leads to an awesome start with some sweet starting holes and then it becomes a grind where my focus slowly disappears and I mess up my routine and start to play rather bad. I make bogeys and double bogeys and especially the putter seems to want something else for me that day.. It usually leads to me after e.g. 9-12 holes needing to recalibrate and write off the round as crap and just go out and have fun instead. Then normally, I will start way better on the remaining holes and all in all produce a decent score, maybe 76-78 or something like this. On the odd occasion I would go 72-74.

Another way of putting it - I start off with high ambitions, play sh*t, retune / give up and finally catch a good break on the final holes. 

This is basically how I played my first 15 years of golf so I have quite some experience with it. Train hard to feel confident and then put pressure on during the round. I guess I thought this is how the big boys did it. Again, the example with this attitude was with a swing where I felt confident. If I would do this with a swing where I didn’t feel so confident we wouldn't talk about 76-78 but rather 80-90…


The Let’s Enjoy Attitude

Ok so I figured out that this kind of “giving up part” was really solid for scoring. So what if I apply this as a mindset? What if I just don’t give a f*ck about the result and just have fun.

I tried this out for maybe 20 rounds as it really created miracles for the well being on the course. I had nothing to worry about because I demanded nothing. I much preferred it to the “Confident Shoot Low Attitude” and it produced much more steady results. Instead of fluctuating between 72 and 90 I was pretty much shooting 70-76 on a regular basis.

I actually started swinging more steadily too. From a technical perspective I didn’t perform as many crap swings when doing this but I could always deliver roughly what I wanted swing wise. This led to fewer double and triple bogeys etc. 

And more importantly, it was so much fun and I felt very little anger out there on the course.

But there was also something missing. There was the edge of trying to achieve something that lacked. And I knew that I always have this as my back up, so I went deeper into the mindset journey. What if I could find a chain of thought that actually freed me like “Let’s Enjoy” but also gave me some spark like I had in the “Confident Shoot Low”.


The Birdie Hunter Attitude

I went to the root and asked myself. Why do you play golf? Why do you enjoy it so much? And it all drilled down to the social event, the nature experience, hitting great shots and making birdies. Regarding the latter - it’s certainly childish but I love it. It’s beautiful, motivating and just pure fun.

What if I would say to myself - “Dude you are about making birdies. No result, no nothing, just about birdies.”?

It not only worked, it created wonders.

Firstly, the shot making I have covered in my routine (again linked here) but those few extra percent of focus now became available to me. It influenced me to approach my shots much more vividly. I had an easier way of seeing my ball flight in the visualization and I was starting to perform my mental routine better. It made mundane shots from 135-145 meters more exciting. And I think this just raised my ability to actually do the best I could more often. 

Also, from a course strategy perspective it was a wake up call. If I had a par 4 in front of 370 meters with bunkers at 250 I knew that my best birdie opportunity would be from the fairway. Why now try to fly the bunkers with my driver where I succeed every second time and ruin the best birdie opportunity (and it helps knowing that I hit my 9 iron in the same proximity as my gap wedge). 

I had the chilled attitude from the Let’s Enjoy and added that little bit of spark that was needed to focus better. I basically connected my attitude to the love of the game. This led me to finally, after so many years, break 70 and start shooting in the high 60s and finally to a career low nine (!) birdies in one round. It was like this birdie hunt led me to a score without having to think about a score.

No more did the “under par ghost” creep into my head saying - “you are now three under with four holes to go, what’s up with that”. Or if I’m totally honest it definitely did creep in there but now at least I had a response which was “I’m about making birdies, I don’t give a sh*t about the score”.

Some people will say that don't hunt birdies but let them come to you. I think the distinction here is that I don't let my "hunting" affect my shot making process but I let it affect my choices before the process starts. Or maybe it's just a personal preference that works for just me. Who knows...

Of course I will say this. It does bring me closer to the “Confident Shoot Low Attitude” so time and again I have to recalibrate my mantra and really work on it because if it becomes about scoring it more hinders than helps. And I will also mention that it’s not switching on and off a button, you need to work hard on it. Write it down, repeat it before the round and let it be what you think about when the demons come flying.

If you haven’t taken a mindset journey - try it out and find what makes you love the game and incorporate it into your mindset. I’m sure it will work wonders for you too.

I hope this helps you and that you can get something out of it! Feel free to reach out if you wish. petter@snoleo.com

We are also available on Facebook and Instagram under snoleo.golf.

Good luck out there!

Petter Tärbe

Co-Founder at snöleo

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