Relaxed and Poised
One of the keys to playing well is the ability to relax and play without stress and tension. Once you are relaxed, the key to playing at your best is your ability to become poised to enter the zone. This is quite an undertaking for the average golfer, but poise under pressure is what all great golfers have in common.
Unfortunately, many golfers find it hard to relax because they are too stressed out trying to play well and shoot a low score. Some golfers who can relax complain that it is hard to play well because they are too relaxed. That's because they don't take the next step and get poised before executing their shot.
Let's quickly review the four-step routine in "The four mental Steps"; 1) feedback response, 2) relax, 3) preparation and 4) instinctive execution. Once you make your shot whether it was good or bad, learn from the feedback. Since it's over and is now just history, take the time to clear your mind and relax before you prepare for your next shot.
Now that you are relaxed, it's time to prepare for the shot you're facing. First, you have to take in all the inputs necessary for your mind to calculate the requirements to execute the shot at hand. Then, it is time to become poised so you can prepare your mind and body to execute while in the zone, which is when you play at your best.
So how do you become poised? The answer to this question is the key to excellence in golf and life. Once you are relaxed and have taken in the inputs, you focus intently on your target expecting to hit it without any concern about the outcome. While doing this, slow down and take your time. It's similar to putting yourself into a trance like state of mind. By making this practice the most important part of your set-up routine, you will start to get a feel for what is it like to be poised and ready to execute in the zone.
You will be in the present without any thoughts about the past or future. You will not have a care in the world except your total focus on your target. Your mind will have its full intention on hitting the target without being attached to achieving the outcome. Your brain's chemistry will be at its optimum and you will be poised to execute your shot instinctively.
It takes time and effort to train yourself to become poised. Once you master this art, your game will never be the same because you will fully realize that controlling your state of mind is the key to increasing your ability and probability of making the shot.
So if you want to lower your score, forget about scoring. Focus on becoming relaxed and poised. This is what great players do. If you doubt this, just ask Jack, Arnold or Tiger.
P.S.: Winning at golf is more than just getting more distance. It is about SCORING. And here is a book that I can recommend to help you learn more about course management.