Golf is a mental sport. Sure, golf is a physical sport too. We all get exercise walking the course or even walking to the greens from the cart path! Swinging clubs over and over helps to develop flexibility and strength.  However, when it comes to the skill of golf, when it comes to scoring the best you can, most good players will tell you much of it is mental. We have 5 mental golf tips to help you play your best!

  1. Don’t worry about the score. Lee Westwood used this technique to make the cut at The Player’s Championship this week.  (It’s Saturday a.m. so we don’t know yet if he won). In an interview afterwards he said he wasn’t thinking about the outcome. He wasn’t thinking about winning or posting his best score ever. He was just thinking about the next shot. Go out, make a good swing, get the ball in the fairway, get it on the green, make the putt. Don’t put so much emphasis on the final score.
  2. Limit swing thoughts. When you’re standing over the ball thinking, “Outside to in, shift your weight, hit down on it” all at the same time, you may find you barely even hit the ball, much less make a good shot. Limit those thoughts. Give yourself one swing thought, or even consider an external thought like thinking about your target instead of a swing thought. For example, if your target is a tree behind the green (target for aiming, not landing) then once you take your practice swing and address the ball, think “tree.” Doing this can help you to swing the club more naturally.
  3. Let it go. If you hit a bad shot, let it go, quickly. Give yourself 10 steps and then let it go. Thinking about that bad shot all the way to your next shot might lead to, you guessed it, another bad shot. Bad shots are going to happen.  Take a deep breath and focus on making a good swing next time.
  4. Remember, you’re playing the course, not your buddy. Don’t compare yourself to others. Sure, we can all benefit from playing with someone better than us, but your game is unique to you. Perhaps your buddy drives the ball further, but you might have a better short game. If your game works for you, that’s all that matters.
  5. Think about the outcome you want.  Focus on what you want to do, not how to do it. For instance, when your tee shot has to go over a pond, don’t think to yourself, “don’t hit it in the pond.” Think to yourself, “On the green.” This is similar to #2 on limiting swing thoughts, but if you’re focusing on the outcome you desire, the cheer you’ll hear when you hit it close to the pin, you’ll most likely do better than if you were standing over the ball thinking, “don’t chicken wing it.”

We hope our 5 mental golf tips will help you have a more relaxed round. For more help with mental golf tips, check out Joseph Parent’s book, Golf: The Art of the Mental Game.

X