Get Your Brain in Your Golf Game

Golf is like any other sport in that mental strength is essential for success. Indeed, sometimes it is all that matters when it comes to winning or losing. If you learn to develop the correct mentality and to turn your weaknesses into strengths, you can increase your chances of winning.

female golferSo think of mental toughness as a skill that you need to work on and develop, and then use it to your advantage when you are under pressure. Here are some ways to get your brain in the game.

Be Prepared

If you know you are as prepared as you can be, this will give you confidence when you are in action. One of the best things that you can do is practice your shot routine until it is completely natural, so that when the nerves hit you can fall back on an automatic routine that you know well.

As well as working on your routine, make sure you practice a bit of everything during your warm-up. Spend some time on the driving range, practicing your putting and your short game to really get everything fresh in your mind. Just take a look at Tiger Woods’ warm-up for some inspiration.

Focus on Each Shot

Rather than going for a total score, try to focus instead on each individual shot you play. This is all about focusing on the present rather than paying any attention to the mistakes of the past or the possible mistakes in the future. By focusing your mind on each shot and being in the moment you can learn to make each one count rather than being distracted by other thoughts.

Know Your Weaknesses

If you know your weaknesses, you can work on them and improve them, which will give you greater confidence when you play. One way to do this is to get some professional help. A trained instructor like those you will find at BirdGolf will know where to focus on making improvements in your game so that you can banish lingering doubts over your technique.

Use Nerves to Your Advantage

Don’t think of nerves as a bad thing. Instead, convert them into a strength. Everyone experiences nerves, even the top pros, but nerves can help to provide you with focus. When you get nervous before a shot, accept that the nerves are there, and remind yourself that they will help you to do the best you can. There is lots of information online about overcoming sports anxiety, such as this guide at Psychology Today.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Once you realize that things are going badly during a game you have two choices: Keep going or get upset. If you start feeling sorry for yourself, you can quickly lose focus and give your competitor the advantage.

Don’t beat yourself up over one bad shot, because suddenly it can change your whole game. If you dwell on it, it can ruin your game and you can quickly fall apart. Obviously this is easier said than done. Try hard to focus on the fact that it was just one bad shot and that it does not mean anything for your next shot. You have to remember that your technique has not changed, only how you are thinking about it.

Part of improving your game involves working on your technique, but don’t discount the power of your mind when it comes to boosting your score. Build working on your mental toughness into your practice and see how much it can improve your game going forward.

About the author

Shirley Furlong is the senior West Coast instructor at the Bird Golf Academy. She joined the LPGA Tour in 1984, and during her 15 year career on tour, recorded several top 5 finishes. Shirley is a passionate instructor and enjoys sharing her tips with others. She believes that a good golf swing comes first with good fundamentals and stresses the importance of having a good “pre-shot routine”.

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