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Golf Mental Game Secrets
Golf is all about performing well when it counts. While most golfers want to reach where they are holing putts to win in competitions and big events but the million-dollar question is how do you become mentally tough in golf?
Golf is a mental game that bypasses a good swing and average physical skills. ‘Mental toughness’ is one factor that all great games have and if you are a golfer I’m sure you have heard of it.
This mental game relies on how and what you prepare and practice, during practice players love to put in the amount of time or the number of balls they hit.
These two cannot be far from the truth but what is important is how the time was invested. Below is a quick dive into understanding mental toughness.
What is mental toughness?
Mental toughness in golf is the ability to access your best game in whatever situation. It’s simply being able to handle your emotions and the stress of the competition without getting carried away from the task at hand.
How do you become mentally tough in golf is a question that can be broken down with the following process.
The process of mental toughness
The idea here is what we think or say to ourselves becomes our emotions which in turn triggers our body response. Negative emotions such as fear or doubt are a result of your inner voice telling you that something is impossible or difficult to do.
This results in negative physiological reactions such as tension, shaking, or tightness, and what these reactions do to a golf swing is a complete disaster!
The good news is that if a person can control their thoughts and adopt a positive body language thus eliciting positive emotions such as confidence and determination.
Positive physical reactions including seamless action and fluid motion are quintessential in playing golf.
Separating you from the player
Building mental toughness is followed by separating the player from you the champion. This involves the golfer acting into the persona of a champion and this prepares your mind to have a taste of what a winner or a champion feels like.
Similarly, all great athletes do this and this enables them to access their ‘player-self’ without caring about their ‘real-self’. Separating you the person from you the player builds strong and unshakable confidence that helps the player to go a long way in this mental game of golf.
Triggering an emotional response from within
Since playing golf requires mental strength you need to get it right off the bat, from the postures you make to your body language within. While feeling confident is great and it can help you achieve great milestones while playing golf it is crucial not to be cocky.
When moving on to your next shot it is helpful not to talk about your round or holes as this will make sure you do not overthink. The last thing you want to do is to trigger a negative reaction or create a distraction, thus after taking your shot keep calm and wait for your next shot.
Act your way into thinking right
When you are on the course no matter how you are playing you should learn how to use confident body language. Have you ever wondered why Tour Players always walk confidently in between shots with their shoulders back and eyes arched at the flag level?
This is because laughing, postures, and smiling directly interact with your mind keeping your head in the game while you deal with the pressure from within. Here are 9 simple tips to make your mental game stronger while you are in the course.
Ways to work on your mental golf game
Make 100 3-footers in a row. The first challenge to any golfer who wants to know how do you become mentally tough in golf is to make 100 3- footers in a row. Taking these shots in different spots will replicate pressure and getting to 90, 91, 92 makes will further increase the stress.
This drill becomes more of exposing your mental toughness than taking actual strokes. When you overcome this every time you see a 3- to 5-footer your thoughts back up on the confidence that you have made this over 100 times already.
Make it a competition. A player needs to view each practice session as a competition. Being put in stressful and pressure situations will help you to control your mind, thoughts, and feelings. Slowly you can be able to understand the emotions that you feel and thus better prepare your mind for the same type of pressure.
Remember competition builds mental toughness and the more you tackle it the better you become.
Set a goal for every practice. Not many players set a goal for every practice session and if you want to get it right from the start you should have short-term objectives. Before you start to practice know what you want to achieve and focus on it.
To train your mind to become even tougher you should set a difficult-to-reach goal and once you achieve your goal move on to something different and challenging.
Develop your pre-shot routine. Rory Mcllroy the winner of the British Open in 2014 opened up and said the two things he focused on during the tournament were: process and spot. The process (or pre-shot routine) is one of the most important parts of a golfer.
Not only will developing a pre-shot routine keep your mind occupied but will also eliminate fear which turns a great player into a disaster.
Short game, short game. Your mental game is directly connected by your shots and the ability to save par. All you need to get to the next level is the short game.
Make it a norm to save pars as this will provide you with the momentum you need to aim for greater success. Practicing the short game is daunting and to know how key it is not having it will lose a tournament for you.
Only use one ball to practice chipping. Putting with one ball is easier and realistic than practicing chipping with one ball though the premise is the same. To win any tournament or majors you need to know how to handle the pressure.
On the actual course, you only have one ball thus the need to execute full routine and focus on chipping. Chipping with many balls results in blocked practice which is a setback and thus it is key to develop a habit of only chipping with one ball.
Go-to shot. It is inevitable to hit a bad shot and it even happens to the professionals. This is where your ‘go-to shot’ comes in handy. To have acceptable distance and accuracy this is the shot to always count on.
Developing a go-to shot that you can count on will help with your mental game. Whether it is a 6-iron or an 8-iron this shot helps to build momentum and confidence for your round and it will get you back on track.
Embrace your golf personality. Know what best works for you and embrace it. If you don’t like to talk while playing golf or you like socializing on the course that is your personality and let it work for you.
Hitting poor shots in golfing is a must and it is up to you to not get distracted by the second guy who has taken a great shot. The best time to address this mental skill is after you hit a bad shot, just don’t let it affect your confidence and instead develop a personality that will improve on your mental game.
Avoid hitting the same shots in a row. There is a difference between practicing golf on a range and a course. Some golfers are always in their best form while they are on the range because there is no stress or consequences.
To improve on mental toughness you need to get out of the groove on the range and instead make your shots and practices randomized. The simple rule to follow is to hit different shots at the same target in a row and this will help any golfer to adapt and improve constantly.
Following the above techniques, drills and strategies will not only help a golfer to improve on their mental toughness but will also help to put them at the very highest level.
These small adjustments must be approached with confidence and as the saying goes practices makes perfect, This will transform any player to be a good player.
The mental toughness you will build while playing golf will also be essential in your daily living and it will help you as a person to improve many aspects of your life.
In time your playing partners will be asking, how do you become mentally tough in golf?
You can choose to send them here if you like!