“Golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course… the space between your ears.” - Bobby Jones
There’s never been a more true statement. How many of you have been victim to the mental game that ends up costing you the game? You’re not the only one… here are five easy steps to help improve your mental game on and off the golf course.
We’re trying to control the game before we even get started. This is many golfers' major downfall, so the most important tip is STAY PRESENT.
Being able to stay present, not just in the game of golf, but in the game of life is so important to any success. When we lose track of our present task things can start to become overwhelming in our brain, making simple tasks, like our current shot, hard to do. When we stay present we are able to focus on the current moment, leaving all others worries and plans out of sight.
2. Every Shot Matters
Every shot is a chance to be better, the shot before and the shot after don’t matter. The only thing you should be thinking of is the ball in front of you. It’s truly the only shot that matters.
If you put yourself in a tough position with a difficult lie, think of it as a challenge, instead of defeat. The battle is not over, unless you give up. Don’t give up, stay present, and remember that every single shot matters, the most important one is the one you're currently at.
A great way to let off steam and forget the errors is the, “10-yard rule.” It’s a psychological strategy employed by Tiger Woods in his prime, amongst others. After a bad shot, you can vent your frustration (internally of course) until you’ve reached a point 10 yards from where you struck it. After crossing the imaginary line, that shot is history, it should be totally forgotten and your mind should move on to the next stroke.
4. Never Give Up
One of the best ways to improve your mental game, is to start talking nicely to yourself on the course, and never allow yourself to give up.
If you get to a point when you realize there’s no chance of beating your best score, change your target – it might now be to beat your handicap. If things slide, then you might still be able to play to your handicap, you might break 90 or, simply, you might play the next shot as well as you can.
Try to stay positive, if you’re having a rough day, maybe just toss the scorecard out and focus on the things you’re doing right. Remember, it’s just a game, and it's supposed to be fun.