It was great to see that earlier this month Ashleigh Buhai won her fifth Ladies European Tour title in South Africa by a four-shot margin with incredible rounds of 64-65-69-68 for a total 22-under par - scores that most of us can only dream about!
Just to remind you, Ashleigh is the current AIG Women’s Open champion, when after 221 LPGA Tour starts, she won her first Major at Muirfield, beating South Korean In-gee Chun on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff. Prior to this championship, other than winning on the WPGA Tour of Australasia at the beginning of 2022, her last LET title came at the same Investec South African Women’s Open in 2018.
It’s so true that confidence breeds success and success breeds confidence and with golf, you definitely have to make the most of it if you’re on a good run, winning competitions, and playing consistently well. As we all know, there is a no more unforgiving sport than golf, as it will always jumps up to bite you when you think you’ve cracked it!
As the great Bobby Jones said, "Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course - the distance between your ears." Interestingly, Ashleigh credits the work she did with her mental coach, Duncan McCarthy, as a contributing factor to her Major success.
Here’s a link to her full story on how she learned and adopted the mental skills to get her over the line, and whether you’re a professional or an amateur golfer preparing for your next competition, we can all learn from Ashleigh, especially when it comes to putting. For me personally, it’s those short putts, the ones I know that I shouldn’t miss and I feel really embarrassed when I do! Of course, nerves come into play, and you start overthinking, rather than just stepping up to a putt with a clear head and tapping it in positively as you would do in a practice round.
n Ashleigh’s own words, this is what she explains. “We did a lot of work on the putting side where everything was good fundamentally but I would doubt myself. I had four steps in my routine; read the putt, plumb the putts, line the ball up, and then hit it. I would keep second-guessing myself in between the stages, so he came up with the idea of closing the door after each stage. So, read it. Close the door. Plum it, trust it, and close the door. Line it up. Close the door. And hit it. That was my routine and my only focus - no more second-guessing and committing to it. If it didn't go in, then I had still done everything that I wanted to do.
Good advice, I think! What I would say, is we’re renowned for giving gimme putts during winter months, but keep practicing those short putts, so they don’t take you by surprise when competition golf kicks in. Based on what I’ve said, if I ever come up against any of you in a match, I know you won’t be giving me anything!