Some credit their success to natural talent. Others believe success is achieved through practice. The only way to truly be great, however, is to believe that you are.
As Jim Flick famously said, “Golf is 90% mental and the other 10% is mental too.” Although learning technique, practicing and even having natural talent are important, if one is not mentally prepared for the game of golf, one will never see the success that they are hoping for.
In order to strengthen their game, golfers need to work on mental toughness. This includes building mental stamina, confidence and a positive outlook. One can master the shots and the physicality, but what ultimately determines success is the ability to perform under pressure.
We have compiled five tips to help you keep your mind focused, your spirits high and your score low.
1. Be Confident
The mental game of golf starts with how you view yourself and your abilities. Half of the battle of mental toughness is believing that you are capable. Every shot taken has the potential to influence your play, for better or for worse, so it’s important to walk onto the course envisioning a strong game and, throughout, reminding yourself of the confidence that you started with. If you can play without wavering, you will see yourself making the shots that you know you are capable of.
2. Develop a Pre-shot Routine
Pre-shot routines are different for everyone. Whether it’s body alignment or the number of practice swings, determine what steps are important to you and focus on building them into a specific order.
When setting up for each shot, the routine should occur naturally, so your mind can be visualizing where the ball needs to go and focusing on getting it there. This gives your body time to sync with your mental state which prevents overthinking and trying too hard to control your swing. Prepping the same way each time, will lead to more consistency throughout the round.
3. Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself
In order to stay focused it is important to tune out everything except for the current shot. If you are dwelling on how you duffed your ball into the bunker three holes back, you will spend the entire round trying to get out of the sand.
On the other hand, if you are doing well, the exhilaration from the thought of winning or achieving a personal best can also shake you. Approach each shot without considering what has already happened and how it will affect the future. By staying in the present, you will have a better chance of keeping your focus in check.
4. Manage Your Emotions
It’s no question that emotion on the golf course leads to mistakes, but it can be challenging to stay neutral. This is true even for the pros – just look at Tiger Woods fist pumping at his successes and throwing golf clubs at his mistakes.
It is normal to experience heightened feelings following a shot, but try to shake off those feelings instead of carrying them over to the next hole. Golf is a frustrating sport and puts players on an emotional rollercoaster. It is okay to feel emotions, just make your best effort to manage them and return to a neutral mindset as quickly as possible. If it helps, give yourself a time limit to be mad, then forget it and move on.
5. Retrain Your Thinking
We’ve all heard that positive thinking is a key to success, but many don’t quite know how to achieve that. It is as simple, and as challenging, as retraining your thoughts.
We are used to thinking in terms of what we should not do, but the challenge is to reroute our brains to instead think of what we should do. For example, instead of telling yourself “Don’t hit the ball too far to the left or it will go in the water,” you should be thinking, “I’m going to hit the ball just far enough to the right so it stays on the fairway.” This is a small change, but reversing the negative thoughts can improve your mood and view of the game.
Once you’ve got your pre-shot routine down and your mind focused come out to Pound Ridge Golf Club to test your mental toughness - book your tee times here: http://www.poundridgegolf.com/booking.