When I say mastering golf is hugely deceptive, the usual response is, “Yeah, no kidding.” But that’s good. We know it’s tough and accept the test of our resolve and abilities. That’s why we love the challenge of a great course like River’s Edge in Bend, Oregon. The natural beauty and setting are wonderful, and the stimulating course awakens our spirits.
Golf challenges come in many forms. But the most changeable are emotional, physical, and mental. Practice helps the physical side, but all three are fortified by being mentally tough. So read along, and we’ll delve deeper into critical practices you can use to enhance your mental skills in playing golf.
Practice and Pre Round Jitters
Nothing gives you more inspiration and satisfaction than seeing improvement through practice. Quality repetition leads to excellent muscle memory. That’s important because, while you don’t want your mind to be blank while you address the ball, it’s best to relax and quiet your thoughts. The great Bobby Jones exclaimed, “You swing your best when you have the fewest things to think about.”
Positive thinking is a must. Yes, you should be realistic about your abilities, but be decisive about your plan to attack each shot.
Pre-round jitters usually happen because you are keyed up and uncertain about your game. Instead, accentuate the good parts. You’re playing golf, exercising, and enjoying the course. You made it to the course with your clubs, right? If you forgot anything, it’s available in the River’s Edge Pro Shop. So, don’t sweat the small stuff!
On your first drive, trust yourself to make a solid and smooth swing. Ignore the last second “I’ll kill the ball,” thoughts. Go smooth and steady and enjoy the middle of the fairway.
Focus and Concentration on the Golf Course
With your first drive out of the way, focus on each shot with positive outcome concentration. Forget about the front nine, the whole round, or beating your handicap. That will all come if you stay present.
Be realistic about each shot within the realms of acceptance. If you regularly drive 250, don’t go Tin Cup and insist on trying to clear water or sand at 260.
If you remain in the moment – which means playing one shot at a time – you can focus on a realistic spot for your ball to land. Trying for that “extra” push often leads to a tighter grip, overswing, and a ball that hooks. Have faith in your regular swing to get the ball where it needs to go.
Concentration is the ultimate focus – when you don’t let any outside factors influence your decisions (shot selection, club selection, the break on green), think about the task at hand, and trust your swing.
Middle Golf Round – Stamina and Observation
After the turn, you may feel tired or confused about your round. Knowing you’ve got nine holes to adjust your round can be stressful. Let it go. You aren’t playing for a million dollars. You’re playing to enjoy the course and your friends and make some good shots. So, make them when you can without worrying about what happens if you don’t!
Use what you’ve learned through observation in previous holes. This should include wind direction and green speed. Put your mental skills to work and ascertain your play. Adjust your expectations without judgment if you have less energy and are driving shorter distances. You’re strong enough to be honest with yourself.
Keep hydrated and grab a snack if you need to. Meals can be ordered in advance at The Edge Bar and Grill.
Golf Confidence while under Pressure
Ideally, we’d all have supreme confidence in ourselves and never question our ability. But that’s a dream world. We all have self-doubt, so instead of trying to wring more out of your muscles and body, work on simple stretching to get ready for each round.
Many players find that things get worse when they don’t get kicked off on the right foot. Reduce the chances of starting the round under pressure by being on time, taking practice swings, or hitting the range and putting green.
If you do, seeing some good shots and putts will improve your confidence. Fifteen-time PGA winner Tommy Bolt knew something about confidence and overthinking things. He said, “The mind messes up more shots than the body.”
Managing your Approach to Golf Emotions
Because golf is a solo sport, many players fall into the trap of blaming themselves for every bad shot. That’s fatalistic and unproductive. We know there’s no perfect round. It’s not your fault if the winds are swirling, the sky’s high, it’s hot, or the greens are fast. That’s the challenge we all face.
So accept the fact that you won’t make every putt each round. Just take a breath, clear your mind, and trust your putter. If you misread a distance or green or make a bad call on club selection, move on with that new knowledge and do better.
Alice Cooper, who never won a PGA championship because he was busy putting hit songs on records, said, “Mistakes are part of the game. It’s how well you recover from them; that’s the mark of a great player.”
When your round is over, take what you’ve learned and adjust where you can. Beyond that, it’s in the past. Let it go!