Seven Tips to Build Confidence

Seven Tips to Build Confidence

By David Mackenzie, Golf State of Mind

As Jack says, confidence is probably the most important factor in playing golf to your potential.

Something that all PGA Tour players have in common is confidence. They all have the same swagger and confident demeanor. They don’t get affected when they hit bad shots because they know how counter-productive this is. They’ve trained their minds to prevent this happening. Some of this confidence comes from hitting A LOT of golf balls and winning a lot of tournaments, but some comes from knowing how to practice and control the mind and shut out negativity. But this can be practiced every time we play.

If we follow some basic rules, we too can work on a process to build unwavering confidence. While golfers know the end result of increased confidence, few know how to acquire and build it. Here a few things you can Golf 6do EASILY to improve your confidence and lower your scores.

1. Don’t be Self Critical. If you start to beat yourself up over your mistakes, you will reduce your positivity and it will be hard to regain it before your next and “most important” shot. Learn from your mistakes at the end of the round. Remember the quote: “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” With each round you become a more experienced golfer however you play. You can’t get rid of negative thoughts, only replace them with positive ones. The more positive your thinking, the fewer detrimental negative thoughts you will have.

2. Don’t Give Yourself Technical Feedback on the Golf Course. Giving yourself technical feedback diminishes your confidence because you are admitting to yourself that you doubt your golf swing.Thinking about technique takes your focus away from what is ultimately important: hitting the ball to a specific target with a clearly visualized path. As I mentioned earlier, the golf swing takes place during a couple of seconds, so even the slightest thought about your body movement will cause you to lose focus on the shot itself.

3. Visualize and Feel. The more vividly you can see a shot and the less you see what you fear, the more your body will respond to the positive visual stimulus. Every shot should have a purpose. Synchronizing the body and mind with a clearly defined objective will increase confidence. Hogan used to say he only hit 3-4 shots each round exactly as he intended, but it was having commitment to the shot he visualized that made the others not too far off line.

4. Develop a Strong Shot Routine. When you have a good routine, even when you are in a high pressure situation you can feel confident you have approached the shot correctly. Your fundamentals are right and you have mentally and physically rehearsed the shot. This is the time to compose yourself and feel prepared and confident ahead of pulling the trigger. An additional part of the routine should be the next tip of how you react to the shot.

5. React Indifferently to Bad Shots. Holding on to poor shots is extremely counter-productive. The longer we hold onto them, the more frustrated we become and the longer it will take to regain that lost confidence. One of the keys to becoming a better player is quickly letting go of the past and staying in the present. After all, the present is where we need to be to give every shot our best intention. If you hit a bad shot, look up to the sky or focus on the beauty of your surroundings. Quickly realizing the relative insignificance of what happened will put it in perspective and allow you to move on immediately.

6. Take Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone. Overcoming nerves, doubt and fear and succeeding will make you stronger and more confident. When you put yourself in situations where you are out of your comfort zone and pulling through will increase your confidence in the longer term. Rely on your pre shot routine under pressure and try is as often as you can.

7. Change Your Goals. Make the “process” of hitting good golf shots your goal for the round instead of shooting your best score. Focus on executing your routine of Analysis, Visualization, Feel and Trust will help your game in the longer-term instead of judging your performance by your score.

Check out more of David Mackenzie’s work at

S² Tip

Some confidence comes from hitting A LOT of golf balls and winning a lot of tournaments, but some comes from knowing how to practice and control the mind and shut out negativity.

Success Story

22 year old Derek Ernst went from being the 4th alternate at the Wells Fargo Championship to being in the winner’s circle Sunday afternoon. Congratulations on your first career PGA Tour win, Keep playing with confidence, Derek!

In Another’s Words…

“Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your talent, there is only one way to obtain it-work.”

— Jack Nicklaus, golfer