Mental Techniques for Better Golf

Published On July 16, 2015 | July/August 2015

In the game of golf the mental aspect is equally important to the physical

By Kyle Jerome

How many of you have reached a point in your golf game where you feel like you’ve hit a plateau? You feel like no matter how many balls you hit on the range, you just don’t seem to get any better. Well, here’s another question for you, how many of you have ever spent any significant amount of time on your mental game? If your answer was, “Not much,” then you may have just found the problem. You are part of a special group, you are golfers. You picked the hardest game in the world to play. You also picked the best, and sometimes, most rewarding game in the world to play. You don’t have to be built like LeBron James or J.J. Watt to be a good golfer. You do, however, need to be able to think properly and decisively on the golf course. We’ll show you just some ways to do just that.

Set Goals
Setting goals is important for several reasons. Goals help give you something to work toward to make yourself better. Goals are great, as long as they are attainable. Make sure when you set goals for yourself, think “baby steps.” The goals you set for your golf game should be attainable. If your average score is 90, you have no business thinking about shooting 72, yet. For example, set a goal of getting your average score down to 88. Once you’ve achieved that, reset your goal for 85. Resetting your goals is something you may have to do from time to time and that’s a good thing. It means you’re making progress. So the lesson here is, be realistic when setting your goals.

Identify Your Weaknesses
Identifying your weaknesses lets you know where your game needs the most work. If the brakes on your car are failing, it won’t do you any good to go to the car wash. Your brake problem is still there. You know what the problem is, now fix it. You can do this very easily with your golf game by keeping track of where you are losing shots. Whether you are a scratch player or a 36 handicapper, this can be narrowed down to two categories – loose swings or bad decisions. Keep track and categorize your mistakes in one of these two categories. This lets you know if you need to spend more time working on the physical aspects of your game or your course management. Efficiency is always the key when practicing, not quantity.

Harness Expectations
Expectations are much like goals, if they are realistic they can be helpful. But if you watch Rory McIlroy on TV and go out the next day expecting to hit all of your shots like he does, well, that’s not realistic. Augie Garrido, the baseball coach for The University of Texas (coach Garrido has coached six National Championship baseball teams) has said, “Expectations hinder performance as much as any aspect of baseball.” The point here is to focus on the process and not the results. This perspective applies to golf as well. Don’t focus on what you want to shoot or even what you want to make on a particular hole, focus on the shot at hand. Build your round shot by shot. Don’t expect to shoot a certain score; expect to execute your shot the way you have it planned. Not only will this technique help you hit more shots the way you want, but it will also help relieve the pressure of shooting a certain score. The oldest cliché in golf is still the most applicable – one shot at a time.

So instead of focusing all of your energy on hitting balls on the range, spend some time on your mental game this year. Keep track of your mistakes and focus more time on your weaknesses. Remember to set goals, identify your weaknesses and harness your expectations.

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