02 May Tips For Effective Mental Golfing
Golfers often hear advice such as “Get your head in the game” or “It is all in your head.” These suggestions have a lot of truth behind them. Certainly, you need a baseline foundational understanding of form, rules and etiquette to feel confident on the greens. However, you also need to develop a strong mental game. In fact, the most consistent players regularly invest in golf mental game training to round out their abilities.
Why Golf Training Is Mental, Too
Although golf is a physical experience, it is equally mental. Unlike other types of sports, golf is not reactive. Players have quite a bit of downtime between shots, giving them time to consider their upcoming choices. In contrast, baseball players may also have a little break, but when the ball is hurled at them, they must react.
This lag time between shots can be a huge boost to a golfer who has learned to apply golf mental training exercises. At the same time, it can be a big problem for a duffer who overthinks everything. Having a proper sense of perspective and focus changes every decision, from which club to use to how much force should be used to sink a putt.
If you routinely experience increasing levels of frustration every time you head out on the links, you may assume it’s because you are not a good golfer. Yet the real issue could be a lack of mental concentration and clarity. Below are some golf mental training tips used by pro coaches and athletes. Apply them the next time you head out for a round.
Tip #1: Putt Before You Play
Many players skip the practice putting green, launching straight into 18 holes of play. Spending time practicing your putting will relax your body and engage your muscle memory. At the same time, it will help you make the transition between whatever you were doing before to readying yourself for several hours of golf.
Think of your pre-game putting activity as stretching for your body and mind. Since the putts will not affect your score, use the opportunity to take calculated or even riskier shots. Starting to get discouraged on the putting green? Remind yourself to stay calm. Beginning a round in a bad mood will only be a recipe for disaster.
Tip #2: Simplify Your Choices
Simplicity may not sound very glamorous, but it is the key to improving your mental state during golf. Plenty of players mistakenly keep an extensive list of pre-swing “to do and not to do” items. Then, they either go over the checklist mentally or literally, such as on their devices.
Although this may sound like a reasonable way to stay on track, it often becomes a serious handicap. With so many thoughts going through your head, you may end up completely messing up your shot. Instead of psyching yourself out by trying to do everything perfectly, make sure your pre-swing mental game involves only a few reminders.
Tip #3: Let Go of Bad Shots
We have all seen players, even professionals, who never recover after a series of poor shots. To be sure, their shots may begin to get so terrible that we wonder how they ever got to the top at all.
This phenomenon is common in the world of athletics. Players not only hold on to their bad shots, but they let them have rent-free space in their heads! To increase your mental toughness training for golf, give yourself permission to let go of your less-than-great play. Had a lousy couple of holes? Learn to leave them behind you. With repetition, you will get better at moving forward, and your game should improve.
Tip #4: Develop Routines
Does it feel like you are always playing your game a little differently? Consistency helps smooth out your play so you can rely on being able to confidently take swings and make putts.
Worried that a routine will hamper you? As long as your pre-shot routine is simplified and streamlined, you should feel a sense of comfort from it. If your routine becomes too bogged down, reduce it to two or three motions or activities. For instance, you might want to take a deep breath, visualize the shot and double check your body position before every play.
Tip #5: Track Your Progress
If you are serious about becoming a more successful golfer, part of your sports psychology golf mental training should include charting your progress — but don’t just record your overall score. Dive a little deeper and evaluate what you did well and ways you can improve. Then, aim to keep improving the next time you play.
Of course, do not give in to the mistake of “over-analysis paralysis.” Analyzing every detail will only muddy the waters and put a snag in your golf mental game training. Also, give yourself a mental break after you play. Do not analyze everything in the moment, because you may be too emotionally invested to be objective.
Tip #6: Treat Every Shot as “The One”
Forget about the shot you just took or the par-4 coming around the next bend. The only shot that matters is the shot you are about to take right now.
Being able to remain in the moment will boost your mental golf training because your brain will be less jumbled with past regret or upcoming concern. You may want to rehearse this type of mental calmness in your everyday life, too. That way, when you get to the greens, being uber-focused on the next choice will come naturally.
Tip #7: Distance Yourself Between Holes
You have a nice long walk to get to your next hole. Why spend it ruminating on what you will do next? Give your brain the opportunity to think about other things, like enjoying your favorite course or talking with other players.
By the time you get to the next hole, you can re-focus your energies. You might even discover that you feel more fresh and alert thanks to your deliberate mental distancing between holes.
Golf Mental Training Practice Makes Sense
Feel like your golf game has been lacking something special? Put golf mental training tips into your play mix. You might be surprised at how often your brain can be one of the most important body muscles when it comes to any sport.