5 Tips to Improve Your Golf Mental Game
It may be a sport, but golf is all about your mindset. Your ability to focus and make calm, level-headed decisions can pull you from the brink of a bad round, salvaging even the worst performances!
Unfortunately, far too many players focus on the physical part of their game.
That’s not to say your technique and swing are unimportant. They do matter. But you must also invest time into mastering the mental side of golf! So, here are some golf psychology tips from the pros.
1. Focus on the Present
One of the best mental tips for golf is to focus on the present.
We all want to have a great game, but we can’t really control what happens. And nobody can change the past! Those fumbled holes may haunt you, but you can’t let a few missed shots get you down.
Instead, focus on what’s in front of you. If it’s a putt, it may help to visualize yourself in front of your indoor putting mat. This relieves the pressures of public performance and may improve your mental clarity. Moreover, it’s one of the mental keys to golf.
It’s also a well-known mantra among professionals! Annika Sorenstam notes that the here-and-now mindset is a badge of honor, stating that the best golfers “learn how to forget bad shots and move on.”
Consider Establishing a Pre-Shot Routine
Some players boost their focus by hyping themselves up with a pre-shot routine. Think of it as a “ready to go” dance.
A good pre-shot routine begins with an action — such as removing your glove, tugging at your hat, or lining up a shot. Then, you prepare. You get into the psychology of golf and think about your next move.
Obviously, you want to visualize your shot. However, it’s also helpful to think about your pacing. Playing too quickly is a recipe for disaster, but playing the long game may tire you out before the last hole.
2. Build Mental Endurance
As we continue our golf mindset tips, let’s consider the endurance aspect of golf. Those 18 holes take a while. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Prepare for the game by building your mental toughness. Golf is, after all, a slower sport!
Aside from keeping you focused, mental toughness training boosts consistency and improves your scores. It’s also an essential part of a holistic golf regimen. Some players even consider the long-haul mental work the most enjoyable part of a game!
But how do you build mental endurance?
Phil Mickelson regularly plays 36 or more holes for every practice session. So, there’s one method. You can just extend your practice to cover many, many more holes.
However, you can also work on your focus by using indoor putting mats — like our Perfect Practice V4 Standard Putting Mat — to build your mental tolerance for short shots. Over time, the intense focus required to perfect these shots will carry into your long-range practice!
3. Focus on the Positives
One of the best ways to start exploring golf mental strategies is to begin a regimen of positive thinking.
Nobody likes a bad practice session. It’s easy to look back and think of everything you may have done wrong, but it’s more productive to emphasize the positives of every interaction! Even your worst day teaches you something.
If you need some help, there are plenty of amazing golf sports psychology books to guide you. One of our favorites is Doctor Bob Rotella’s Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect,
4. Visualize Your Game
You’ll also want to work on your imagination.
is the practice of imagining an action before committing to it, and it’s cited by many pros as a source of success. It may sound strange, but this method is one of the best ways to remove yourself from the analytical side of the game.
Again, we’re not saying to avoid thinking about the technicalities of your playing. You must still master the perfect swing. However, dwelling on such matters pulls you out of “the zone,” increasing your margin of error.
Comparatively, visualization offers a hands-off way to prepare yourself for a tricky swing. Imagine yourself moving to hit the ball and perfect your swing without digging too deeply into the mental aspect of golf. See the ball’s arc and watch it land in the hole — or wherever else you may be aiming for — without bogging yourself down with analytical criticisms.
Think about what we said earlier. Some players choke around others, suffocating themselves with a fear of public criticism. So, eliminate that negativity! Instead of seeing your next putt as a public game, imagine yourself in your office. Think of the lines on your Perfect Practice V4 XL putting mat. Align yourself and prepare, then take the shot!
(If you need more help, we suggest picking up a copy of Doctor Bob Rotella’s golf psychology book Putting Out of Your Mind.
5. Always Be Ready for a New Challenge
Finally, our last tip will be on the lips of any golf sports psychologist. It’ll be the first thing any professional golfer will tell you, and it should be at the forefront of your mind as you play…
Every shot is another chance to perfect something new. Even the champions of our sport have room to improve, so don’t be discouraged! Keep trying! Growth comes from failure, and your worst moments will become the foundation for your best rounds.
This is the most important of all golf mental tips, forming the basis of everything you’ve learned.
So, consider yourself a minor pro in golf psychology! You’re ready to tackle the mental aspect of golf and conquer the game.