Mindset for Enjoyable Golf

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Mindset for Enjoyable Golf

As we approach the upcoming golf season, it is not only important to work on your skillset, to play enjoyable golf; but we must also work on our mindset.  In all sports, what happens first is our mind sees what must be done and then the body reacts.  This is where it gets tough, is our mindset now positive or negative before hitting a shot; are we confident and believe that it can be done; do we have trust in ourselves or are we afraid of the outcome?

Here are some keys to getting in the right frame of mind for your golf round.  The more you work on your mindset, the more enjoyable your rounds will be.

Setting Reachable Goals

What are your goals for the round?  Maybe you want to hit each fairway; or make less than 36 putts; or you’re trying to hit the greens in regulation.  Notice I did not put too much emphasis on score.  Focusing on a certain score can induce stress and thus altering your mindset.  Select a goal or goals and stay true to it.

One Shot at a Time

Three putt the last hole?  Thinking about hitting your tee shot over the water on the next hole?  Giving 100% on the shot at hand is a difficult task for all golfers.  The best athletes in the world are experts at staying in the moment.

How can this be done?  Go through your pre shot routine for the shot; select the target, get your yardage, select the club you will use, then swing with trust and confidence.  It is easy to swing with trust and confidence when you have done your homework in the pre shot routine.

Many golfers become swing conscious during the round; this can hinder an enjoyable round.  When you tee it up on the 1st tee it is now time to play golf, not perfect the swing.  Golfers play the game, not swings.

No Matter What – There’s Another Shot

I can bet that this happens to all athletes.  Dwelling on negative shots can only cause stress and tension which will then create a snowball effect in your round.  In some cases a negative outcome might not even be in your control.  There could have been a wind gust causing your distance or direction to be off target or there was a bump in the green causing your putt to go offline or slow down.   It is important to remember that there is always a next shot that needs your 100% attention.

Enjoy Your Surroundings and Company

Your outside and taking in the scenery, getting exercise, as well as playing with friends or new golfing friends you just met.  These are all good things to keep in mind as you play.  Taking deep breathes and enjoying the environment around you is another way to clear your mind for the next shot.

As a New England Patriots fan, the best example of staying in the correct mindset is what they did in Super Bowl 51.  Being down 25 points with 8:31 to go in the 3rd quarter could have been demoralizing.

As a fan I didn’t quite count them out, but doubt certainly crept in my mind.  When listening to highlights you here players say, “It is going to be a great story.”  “Let’s take it one play at a time.”  You can see that they all kept each other in the right mindset to allow their skills to take over.

So for more enjoyable golf in 2017, be sure to also practice your mindset for your round along with your skill-set.

Craig McLaughlin
Craig McLaughlin
Director of Golf | The Oaks Golf Links | Twitter: @cmacgolfpro | www.cmacgolfpro.com

1 Comment

  1. Sue Smith says:

    Thanks, Craig! The mindset thing is what gets me into the most trouble most of the time. One bad shot can make me doubt the next one, and then it can spiral down. I know if I come to play earlier than my tee time and spend some time on the range and do some chipping and putting, I start out my round with more confidence because my body will have “found my swing” which results in a much more positive mindset.

    I’m looking forward to the coming golf season and focusing on keeping positive. Thanks for the reminder of how important it is!

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