Own your 40 seconds

In her latest column, Chilliwack Golf and Country Club's Jennifer Greggain offers tips on staying focused between shots.

  • Aug. 23, 2012 7:00 p.m.

Jennifer teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy. She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including 2 years on the LPGA. She was also named the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Tour Low Teaching Pro of the Year.  She can be contacted at 604-798-9805, or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com


Remaining focused for 18 holes of golf can be difficult. Many players become distracted, which can cost them valuable strokes. Here are a few tips to help keep your head in the game for your entire round.

To remain completely focused for four or five hours (the average playing time of 18 holes) is nearly impossible. Great players are able to relax between shots, then return to the ‘zone’ and completely focus their thoughts on their next shot.

I call this ‘owning your 40 seconds.’

It takes about that long to execute a shot. Remaining completely focused for 40 seconds per shot is much more reasonable than four or five hours.

It’s important to let your mind take a break between shots, like thinking about things other than golf while you’re walking to your next shot.

Some players use this time to chat with their playing partners, for example. But when it’s your turn to hit, you must be able to return to your zone of complete focus.

But ‘owning your 40 seconds’ is not just about focusing during your shot. It’s also about taking control of the tee box during your 40 seconds. This 40 seconds is yours, so don’t let anything (or anyone) take it from you.

Does it bother you when you are paired with players you don’t know, or having others watching you tee off on the first hole? What if the group in front of you is slow and won’t let you play through? Or if you just took a high score on your last hole? And what if that slice that you’ve been working to eliminate works its way back into your game?

Believe it or not, these are all things that are ‘not in your control’ during your round. Ultimately, where the ball ends up is also not in your direct control. You could hit a perfect shot, exactly as you were intending, only to find that it takes a bad bounce and ends up in a bad position.

So why do we worry about things that are not in our control? Do you think that by wasting your energy on worrying about these uncontrollable variables, you will hit a better golf shot? I would argue that it would hinder you, yet golfers are plagued by these distractions all the time!

To successfully block out these distractions, you must take control of your time during your shot and own your 40 seconds. There are many things that are not in your control. However, one thing that is definitely in your control is how you think through the shot.

Focus on the process of hitting the upcoming shot. And don’t worry about the things that are not in your control. That’s the best piece of advice that I can ever give, and that counts for both on and off the golf course!