It’s a question that has been asked millions of times. How much of golf is mental and how much is physical? These numbers will vary depending on the golfer you ask, but almost every answer will have something in common, the mental side of the game is always the larger share. Having a strong mental game will keep you focused and calm on the course, and can help you rebound from mistakes much quicker than most casual golfers can. Below are some tips for strengthening your golf game without even lifting a club.
Possibly one of the most cliche words in golf, proper visualization should start before you even step foot on the golf course. A lot of competitive golfers will play their ideal round, shot by shot, the night before in their head. Because you’ve already hit that perfect drive the previous night, it’s much easier to visualize it on course and follow through with the plan. Just remember to stay realistic in your thoughts. If you’ve never reached that par 5 in two before, it’s best to go ahead and lay up in your head as well.
One of the easiest ways to start seeing results in your mental game is to establish routines. Have a plan for right when you arrive on the property in the morning. Whether it’s straight to the putting green or two large buckets on the range, know what you want to accomplish before your round and stick to the schedule. If you’re bouncing around pre-tournament with no real direction, odds are your golf round will go the same way.
Another major routine of importance is the pre-shot routine. This should be unique to every golfer and repeated in the exact same order before each shot you take. Pre-shot routines should help clear your thoughts, allowing you to focus on the very next stroke and nothing else. They also help keep you level-headed. If you use the same pre-shot routine, no matter the circumstances, those high-pressure putts should feel no different than a casual round with friends.
Perhaps the easiest way to improve your mental game is to have an extremely short memory. Most golfers will obsess over a bad hole for the entirety of a round, leading to more bad holes and more negative thoughts. It’s easier said than done, but forgetting the bad and focusing on the present separates a strong mental golf game from a weak one. Besides, you can’t change the double bogey on the 9th hole from the tee of the tenth. The best way to turn your day around is to stay focused, positive, and leave the last hole back where you left it.
Almost every golfer agrees that the mental side of the game is the most important, but very few of them spend the time on it that they spend getting lessons or hitting range balls. Try these simple tips before your next golf tournament, and you’re likely to find more success on course and between your ears.
About the Author: Brian Neufeld
Brian Neufeld’s background includes more than 15 years of experience in golf course management, specializing in agronomy. Brian uses his knowledge of the game and best practices in turf sustention to create informative pieces for GolfTourney.com’s readers.