5 Helpful Tips
By Rick Semple
I often hear from people who have a golf outing or event coming up and they are feeling anxious because they haven’t played in a while. They want a quick mental golf tip or two that they can start using right away to help their game. If you are in a similar situation, or are just interested in starting to beef up your mental game in general, I have put together a list of some mental golf fundamentals that you can start doing right now, wherever you are. A key idea behind all of these tips is one of changing mental habits that clutter your mind and distract your attention away from really focusing on your strategy and the shot at hand. These are things that I continually remind myself to do, especially if I am feeling “scattered” and off-track in my mindset and my game is reflecting that same thing. By starting these new mental practices right now and persisting with them, you will be headed in the right direction for building a stronger mindset and setting the stage for more Positive Golf experiences. Keep in mind, these things can (and should) be done both on and off the course, whenever you are playing or thinking about the game. These skills get more natural and effective with practice.
1. Let go of those bad shots. I know. I know. Easier said than done. But believe me, it makes a difference. Dwelling on missed putts and errant drives demands a lot of mental energy that distracts you from productive thoughts and better focus.
2. Don’t dwell on fear. Here again, easier said than done. And here again, an enormous “consumer” of mental energy. Start by picking one thing you are really fearful about (i.e. missing short putts and looking bad in front of others) and consciously make an effort to “switch gears” to more productive thoughts (i.e. swing thoughts and your strategy) when this pops into your mind.
3. Let go of that blame. Like fear and holding on to bad shots, frequent blaming also consumes a lot of mental energy and distracts you. While blaming might help you justify things and help you feel better for a moment, it takes your thoughts away from the shot at hand and also from getting to the real cause of swing problems or other challenges. (Your clubs and the weather are not always at fault!) Make a concerted effort to tune in to your blaming tendencies and steer your thoughts in a more positive and productive direction.
4. Take the pressure off. It’s a common practice to continually put pressure on yourself to hit farther, make more putts, and score better. Self-motivation is one thing, but persistent pressure can distract your focus and be counter-productive. Seriously, give yourself a break. When you notice those pressure-filled thoughts filling your mind, switch gears to swing thoughts and some self-encouragement.
5. Stop dwelling on “hitting.” It’s a very common tendency these days to think about hitting at the ball harder with more effort in order to achieve more distance. A lot of people spend a lot of mental energy dwelling on trying to figure out how to “hit harder,” when the real solution is less effort and more allowing. Switch those hitting thoughts to more productive thoughts of feeling and allowing the smooth, natural swing.
Now, you’re on your way to a mental golf mindset that is stronger and more aligned with the flow of productive thoughts and a smooth, effortless swing. Here’s to great golf!
The only way to have a successful round, is to start by creating a positive vision about what you wold like to accomplish during your round, then setting out and doing it with confidence.
Making An Impact
Based at Olney Golf Park in Maryland, the Salute Military Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Its mission is to provide rehabilitative golf experiences and family-inclusive opportunities for post-9/11 wounded war veterans in an effort to improve the quality of life for these American heroes. The organization has a strong relationship with Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It has equipped more than 500 wounded warriors with properly fitted clubs and offered free lessons to 1,000 combat-wounded veterans. Nice job guys!
In Another’s Words
I truly believe in positive synergy, that your positive mindset gives you a more hopeful outlook, and belief that you can do something great means you will do something great.
– Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks QB)