The great Arnold Palmer once said, “Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind.” This statement couldn’t be truer, because there is nobody out there that can help you when things start going downhill, except yourself! If your attitude starts to turn negative, you will definitely see the results on your scorecard. Whether you’re new to golf or have been playing for years, help improve your golf score with the mental tricks below.
- Be Present: For many golfers, their mind isn’t on the shot they are about to take, they are more focused on their opponent’s score and what they must do to beat them. If your mind is in the future, you can not expect to focus on the task at hand… the shot you are facing right now. Remember, you can’t control what will happen in the next 30 minutes time, or what happened 30 seconds ago. However, you can concentrate on the next shot, chip or putt and do your best possible job at it. If you are always focused and your mind is in the present, your scores will tumble.
- Each Shot is a Personal Challenge: Every time you reach for your ball, your objective is the same, to get your ball into the hole in as few shots as possible. Don’t think about the worst-case scenario, just focus on how to get the ball in the cup as efficiently as possible from where it is currently lying. If you have a bad shot that puts you in a difficult spot, breathe, and stay rational and logical. Sometimes, it’s better to take a penalty drop than to swing around in the bushes erratically causing more damage than it’s worth to your score.
- Leave the Past in the Past: A lot of amateur golfers and even those who have played for years, tend to replay poor shots and mistakes. But ask yourself, why? Once you have hit the ball, there’s nothing that can be done about that shot. However, the one thing you can change is what will happen on your next shot. If you need to blow off some steam try using the same psychological strategy as Tiger Woods, “the 10-yard rule.” After a bad shot, you can internally vent your frustration until you’ve reached a point 10 yards from where you struck it. Once you have crossed the imaginary line, that shot is over and done with, totally forget it, and instead focus your mind on the next stroke.
- Never Give In: Some golfers can be guilty of giving up too quickly, but remember…never surrender! Things can change quickly on the course with one good swing. If you do get to the point when you know there’s no chance of beating your best score, change your target instead, switch it up to beat your handicap now. If it goes really south, you can focus on improving your swing and play the next shot to the best of your ability.
- No Negativity Allowed: Of course, everyone is going to have one of those days from time to time, where the ball just seems like it will not drop into the hole. Instead of wallowing in your sorrows, focus on the positives. If you have picked a line and you started the ball on that line, you did putt well, you just misread the green. On your next shot, you’ll get the line right and your putt will drop.
Of course, these tips on improving your mental game might seem obvious. But ask yourself, when is the last time you actually used these simple mental tricks while on the course? By utilizing the mental strategies above, you’ll see an improvement in your score in no time. Don't worry if you slip up from time to time. Even the pros have some room for improvement...