These 3 common mental mistakes are killing your golf game
Do you ever realize how badly mental mistakes truly impact your scorecard?
I never really thought about it until playing in my first-ever Pro Am a few weeks ago, when I my teammate (GOLF Teacher to Watch Ryan Young), won the individual portion of the tournament by shooting 2-under.
Why did it take until then to open my eyes? Because I was able to see firsthand how Young limited mistakes and managed his “bad” shots, never allowing a mishit to derail his round.
For most amateurs, this is nearly impossible.
Forget about the fact that Young’s a pro who has the physical ability to recover from most bad shots. And it helps that for him, a bad shot means just missing a fairway rather than slicing it OB. But he’s still human, and it’s natural to assume bad shots could rattle him; he just doesn’t let them.
That’s one area where really good golfers separate themselves from inconsistent golfers: mental toughness.
The players who can have a short memory and avoid spiraling after a poor shot are the ones who often shoot low scores. And because it takes a lot to reach that ability, another GOLF Teacher to Watch, Dr. Alison Curdt, is here to provide some guidance.
Below, Curdt doesn’t just identify some of the more common mental mistakes that amateurs make; she offers up solutions to overcome them more successfully.
So take a look at what she has to say, and start using the info to better find your zen on the golf course — which will help lead to more positive thoughts and lower scores.
Top mental mistakes amateurs make on the golf course
Golf is a sport that requires plenty of mental fortitude.
While many golfers focus on improving their swing mechanics and technique, they often overlook the crucial aspect of mental preparation. The mind plays a pivotal role in the game of golf, and avoiding certain mental mistakes can greatly enhance performance on the course.
Since this is something too many amateurs forget about as they play, here are the top three mental mistakes I often see players make during a round.
1. Overthinking and doubt
One of the most common mental pitfalls is overthinking every aspect of the game.
Golfers often get bogged down with analyzing every shot, constantly questioning their club selection, stance, or grip. This indecision leads to doubt, eroding confidence, and causing unnecessary tension during the swing.
Instead, golfers must trust in their training and rely on their instincts to execute shots confidently. Simplifying thoughts and focusing on the process rather than the outcome can significantly improve performance.
If this is something you struggle with, remember that the practice facility is always there after a round to rework your swing; not during a round — because on the course, “when you overthink, you stink!”
2. Lack of focus and concentration
Golf demands a high level of concentration throughout a round so it’s easy for golfers to lose focus easily, especially after a bad shot or a string of poor holes.
Dwelling on past mistakes distracts you from the present moment, hindering your ability to make strategic decisions.
This is where routine plays such an important role in success.
By developing a pre-shot routine and maintaining focus on each shot, you can lock in and help prevent lapses in concentration; leading to more consistent play.
3. Fear of failure and performance anxiety
Fear of failure is a mental hurdle that plagues all golfers, not just amateurs.
When someone has anxiety about making mistakes or embarrassing themselves on the course, it can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Allowing the body to tense up will oftentimes lead to errant shots.
No golfer is perfect, so learning to accept that mistakes are a natural part of the game and adopting a mindset of continual improvement can alleviate performance anxiety.
So embrace challenges and treat setbacks as opportunities for improvement, which will help you handle pressure-packed situations with greater composure.
Mastering the mental aspect of golf is essential for golfers looking to elevate their game. Overthinking, lack of focus, and fear of failure are common mental mistakes that can hinder performance on the course.
By developing mental resilience, staying focused, and cultivating a positive mindset, golfers can unlock their full potential and enjoy better rounds.
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