Getting Your Mind Right to Play a Great Round of Golf
The great Arnold Palmer once said, ‘Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind’. So, what does this mean? Well for the golfer beginning their journey onto the golf course it simply means you do not have to hit the ball the farthest to be a great golfer, instead you need to have a strong mind! This means being able to stay in the now, not letting one bad shot get you down, remaining composed and a few other key reminders that will help your mind get in the right state of mind for a great round of golf.
Stay in the NOW
Think of this as a reminder to only worry about the shot you are preparing to take. Don’t worry about your next shot until you are at the ball looking at that shot. Don’t worry about your score or what you need to score on your next few holes to meet your goal score. You cannot control what will happen to you in 30 minutes on the course or what happened 30 minutes ago. What you can control is concentrating on the shot you are about to take.
Are you the type of person who thinks the worst in every situation? Because golf is such a mind game, the instant you begin overthinking your shot is the instant you will lose your mental toughness. You may be wondering, am I overthinking my shots? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you are. Do you question your club choice more than once, take more than 2 minutes to decide what shot to hit, or over analyze the weather conditions or how the ball will fly? One way to combat this: make a decision and stick to it!
10 Yard Rule
One of Tiger Woods’ favorite rules is the 10-yard rule. It is not a rule found in the rule book, but one in Tiger’s mind. The rule is you only have 10 yards to be mad at yourself for the shot you just took. Ten yards to get all your anger and frustration out on yourself, while still maintaining composure that is appropriate for the golf course, like not slamming your club into the ground. Try this on your next round and see how it works for you.
Don’t Play for a Score
This piece of advice is simple, don’t play to shoot a 72 or 94 or even 114. Go out on the course with the goal of playing the best round you can by playing each shot the best you can. This goes along with the mantra of positive thinking. Going out on the course with a specific number in mind will only cause you to overthink, overanalyze and force you to stay in anything but the present.
This is the number one piece of advice beginner golfers should all hear. Golf is not meant to be learned in one round of 18 holes, so don’t get frustrated. Golf is a game that takes years to master and even then, there will be bad shots where you will wish you could take a mulligan. The game of golf is meant to be a time where you can relax, have fun with your playing partners and enjoy the scenery. There is no other game in the world where you get to enjoy the company of your opponents. A wise golfer once said, ‘A bad day on the golf course is still better than a good day at the office’.
Do you remember the quote from Arnold Palmer about being more mentally strong than physically strong in the game of golf? Hopefully, with these tips, you will be able to prove that quote to be correct! Remember, golf cannot be mastered in a day just like Rome was not built in a day. Golf is also meant to be fun, so don’t take it so seriously! Have fun, learn from your mistakes along the way and enjoy yourself!