The single biggest factor holding back intermediate golfers is the mental part of golf. If you know the mechanics of a good golf swing, understand the course, hit great shot on the range, but just can’t seem to put those good golf shots together on the course this information is for you.
We often hear people say that golf is a mental game. Well…it is. In fact all sports are mental games. What makes golf special is that you have a long time to think about each shot, and a long time to over-think, second guess, and psych yourself out of each shot too.
The lag time between golf shots is a major problem and leads to frustrating days at the golf course, broken shafts, and strong words directed at that evil little golf ball. Seriously though…golf can be very frustrating, but when you get a handle on the mental side of golf you will start shooting lower scores (the ones you know you are capable of) and you will start having a lot more fun too. Here’s how:
Controlling The Mental Side Of Golf:
It’s okay…we all talk to ourselves and that’s perfectly fine (as long as it isn’t out loud). The inner dialogue you have with yourself on the golf course can be one of the biggest handicaps to your game. The key is to acknowledge that this inner dialogue exists and train it to work in your favor just like every other part of your swing.
Slow down that inner dialogue. A good friend and colleague, Golf Pro Billy McKinney, likes to tell his students to “Quiet Their Mind” before they make each shot. This is crucial to creating a great golf swing that is consistent and repeatable. Think about it…to create a consistent golf swing we all know that you need to make the same movements every time you swing the golf club. Why should what’s going on in your head be any different?
Training your self-talk:
You need to come up with a special phrase that you say to yourself every time you swing the golf club. This should be a simple slow phrase almost like meditation (this is how athletes get into that ‘zone’ we always hear about). You can say something like “Back…And…Hit,” or my favorite “Slow from the top.” The important part is that you think these words while you swing, this is not some kind of pep talk you say to get yourself pumped up before the swing.
A great phrase to use as your anchor would be a short piece of golfing advice that an instructor gave you. Especially if that advise really made things click for you. But to be honest it could be any word or phrase, because the most important part is that you say it the same way every time you swing the golf club.
Think About One Shot At A Time:
The purpose of this article is not to get you to stop thinking on the golf course. You should always be thinking about the shot at hand. For example you will want to know what club to use, what hazards to look out for, how long the roll is on that particular day (is the grass long, short, wet, or dry) and any number of other important things.
However, you should only be thinking about one shot at a time. Don’t beat yourself up because you happened to hit your last shot into the rough (that shot is over and done with, you can’t change it), and don’t start worrying about chipping over all those bunkers by the green until you are actually there. Focus on the shot at hand, making it the best shot you can (remember you can only play this game one shot at a time).
This means you shouldn’t be worried about your score while you are getting ready for your next shot. Good swings make good golf scores, but your score should have no effect on your golf swing.
If you follow these tips I know that you will see improvement in your golf game the next time you play.