One of the most underestimated tools in your golf bag is your golf mental game. When you’re in contention and heading into the final stretch or about to break your own personal record, having a strong mental game will make all the difference.
In fact, when you are in those situations, thinking about them is exactly what you don’t want to do. However, that’s easier said than done.
At the Golf Performance Center, we have the best golf psychologists that can assess your golf mental game state and provide effective tactics to keep you focused, especially when it counts. With our Player Development Index, golf psychology is one of our 5 Elements of Success that ensures your golf game is getting a well-rounded upgrade with tangible goals.
If you’re looking for a competitive advantage on the golf course, no matter your playing level, this is it.
The Importance of Training Your Mind with Golf Sports Psychology
Managing your golf mental game while you’re playing well is critical, but so is keeping your emotions level when things aren’t going your way on the golf course. The core philosophy behind golf psychology coaching is training you to stay present and even-keeled in all situations, good and bad.
While there are universal truths about the golf mental game, you really begin to excel when you pursue a plan tailored to the way your mind works. Everyone is different, so it makes sense that each person has his or her own version of a successful training regimen.
Let’s explore some examples that demonstrate how important golf psychology is while you’re on the golf course.
You’re about to tee off on a hole that has given you trouble in the past. You somehow manage to hit it in the water on the right 95% of the time – the other 5% you’re pulling the golf ball left to overcompensate. This situation is rooted in fear, and there is a way to overcome that fear.
How about when you’re standing over a three-foot putt? Are you trusting your read or doubting you should be aiming outside the hole? Once again, strengthening your golf mental game can fix this uncertainty.
Lastly, imagine you are playing in a junior tournament and a college coach is watching you. You know they will not appreciate you throwing your golf clubs in anger, so how do you channel your emotions after an upsetting shot? You guessed it – through golf psychology training, where you celebrate the little victories.
How to Improve Your Mental Golf Game
We’ve all experienced some variation of the situations above (and more) where a strong golf mental game would have saved us strokes or embarrassment. So, how do you improve?
Just like with your golf swing and physical fitness, you need to train your mental muscles, preferably with a golf sports psychologist; think of them as the equivalent of your golf coach or physical trainer. There is a steep learning curve, but the lessons you take away will not only become second nature, but will also spill over into your everyday life.
When thinking about the water tee shot example above, there are several tactics to play in confidence instead of fear. Sometimes, it’s as easy as focusing on a specific target where you do want to hit the ball versus where you don’t. Other times, other mantras and reminders may have a larger impact. Either way, this new way of thinking will take time, so be sure to be patient and kind with yourself.
If you’re doubting your green reading skills or your club selection, one solution is to nail down a pre-shot routine. Working with your golf psychologist, you can create a simple routine that ensures you feel confident before each putt or shot. Many mental game coaches use this technique to trigger confidence and the right mindset before every shot.
Another large impact of training your golf mental game is learning how to accept and channel emotions rather than suppressing them until they erupt at the wrong moment. Yelling, swearing or throwing and breaking golf clubs isn’t a good look, and while it might feel temporarily good to get your frustration out, these sorts of actions could hurt relationships with both college coaches and your playing partners.=
It’s okay to be angry on the golf course, and golf psychologists typically encourage breathing and visualization techniques to help you overcome a poor shot and quickly transition to a state of readiness for the next one. It’s in this space you can channel your inner Dustin Johnson and forget the bad shots – because they happen – and prepare for your next good one.
If any of these situations feel familiar and you’re wanting a more balanced mental game approach to your golf rounds, we at the GPC are ready to help. Just a little golf mental game practice leads to truly phenomenal results.
Train with the Best Golf Psychologists
If you’ve ever felt “in the zone” on the golf course – hitting fairways, throwing darts, sinking putts – you know the calmness and confidence behind each shot doesn’t come around often. But what if it did?
Assessing your current golf mental game skills and developing an individualized plan will bring your awareness and focus to another level, both of which lead to more balance and confidence on the golf course.
Everyone can use some help developing mental toughness, from professional golfers on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour to weekend warriors to junior players. Your mind is one of your biggest assets out there, so why not strengthen it?
After all, even Arnold Palmer, a legend whose work on his golf mental game never ended, said, “Golf is a game of inches. The most important are the six inches between your ears.” Who are we to disagree with Arnie?