The following excerpt is from Dr Mo’s first book, Learn To Win - One Shot at a Time.
The 4rs process of playing one shot at a time
If your head is in the wrong place, you can expect everything else to follow – Unknown
When you are thinking your best, you focus on one shot at a time. There is no thinking back or projecting forward. Thoughts of score or what you might shoot do not exist. Mistakes from earlier in the round are completely forgotten. Your focus is entirely on the shot before you and nothing else. When not playing a shot, your mind is consumed with the simple joys around you – - – the smell of the grass, the beauty of the clouds, a conversation with your playing partners. You are not thinking about the next hole, or how the match stands, or why you just pulled your last shot. You are in control of your mind and your focus is clear and concise.
The million –dollar question is, “How do you keep your mind this focused every time you play?”.
I believe your best chance of achieving this focus is to have a thinking process which occupies your mind. This process gives you the best chance of playing great more often. The key is to make your thinking process 1 – effective and 2 – a habit. Make it become a true “part of your game”.
In my opinion, all great players utilize a consistent thinking process. And even average golfers are using such a thinking process when they are playing great. You have used this thinking process. You may not have used the same terminology I do to describe it, but in essence, when playing great, all golfers are using the same basic thinking process. What is this effective thinking process? It is what I call the “4 r’s of Golf”. And when consistently applied, the 4 r’s produce the 5th R, Results. Especially the kind of results you want to achieve.
The 4 r’s, in order, are:
1. refocus – This is your golf decision-making (shot selection, club selection, lie, wind, best place to advance the ball, etc.). This is when you should be doing the vast majority of your thinking on the course and it occurs BEHIND the ball before you walk into the shot.
2. routine (pre-shot routine) – This is your golf preparation (how you walk in, get set up, and take practice swings if desired). This happens only after the decision has been finalized and it occurs WALKING INTO and BESIDE the ball but before you actually swing.
3. react – This is your golf execution (making the actual swing or stroke). This happens IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ROUTINE is done, and can best be described as the player’s “trusting and going”.
4. relax – This is your relaxation on the course. This is how you spend time BETWEEN SHOTS, and when doing this, you are not focused on golf. During this time you can think about architecture, wildlife, clouds, hobbies, anything — just not golf. Surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of your time on a golf course is spent in this r (or at least it should be!).