Like any other sport, golf players require both physical and mental aspects to properly play the game. The physical aspect is usually about techniques and the clubs used for playing while one’s mental state is important when playing golf such as the pace of the game, walking the fairway, setting up the shot and watching opponents take their time can guarantee ample time to reflect on each and every move made.
At times over-analyzing can add the mental stress which is not needed, or being distracted by things like work or family while trying to sink a putt. Certain aspects of the game like a wayward shot can make it all worked up.
Despite this, one can enjoy the game including other aspects such as the beautiful scenery and pleasant weather. Also, by letting go of whatever might bother you, golf can help in relaxation and in turn, focus on all the elements that are involved in the game even when you lose a ball.
Also, the top players move with a personal sports psychologist to keep them in the proper frame of mind before a game and give them methods to stay in a happy place for the duration of their round. Unfortunately, many ordinary people can’t afford such a luxury.
Hence, there are some key psychological tips and pointers that can help the average amateur to stay mentally tough on the golf course which will be discussed in the next section.
5 Tips to Boost Your Mental Game
To play a good golf game, one needs to focus beyond the physical aspects and consider the mental aspect of it as well. For this, practice these five skills to improve your mental golf game:
Visualize Your Best Game in Your Mind
This skill is often used by the pros, but any golfer, even a beginner can do it. Pick a quiet moment and play the game in your head until you drift off. You may not be able to predict every shot but this mental practice helps to see an ideal situation, be it the stance, the swing, the putt, and prepare the mind to stay calm when in the moment.
Creating a routine
Going through the same familiar motions every time a shot is lined up can help one to focus. Sports players usually practice ritual movements that make them feel settled and prepared to perform. One’s personal routine can include taking a deep breath, rubbing the hands together, doing a brief visualization of the shot imagined in the mind or telling oneself what they want to happen like a smooth swing or a high shot.
Leave the last hole behind
There’s nothing like one bad shot to ruin the next one and this would happen if one lets it happen. A tough hole whether it’s the initial drive, a bunker, a gust of wind or some other moment gone wrong can get frustrating. Being able to shake it off will help to face the course ahead in a more successful manner.
Use the time-traveling between holes to hit the “reset” button and prepare yourself. You may even want to forego riding in a cart and opt for carrying your clubs or a pull cart. According to research, it is found that golfers who walked the course yielded the best scores because traversing the green on foot allowed them to take in the terrain and are able to think about their next shot and decide which club to use.
Eye On The Ball
Keeping the eye on the ball is a cliché yet effective advice while playing the game. Some elite athletes, including golfers, use high-tech glasses to track eye movement for understanding where exactly they’re looking which can help them adjust how they focus on the ball. One can improve visual control on their own as well. Experts recommend following a pattern involving quickly moving the gaze between the ball and the hole for several seconds, then just before the swing (or putt), fixate the gaze for few seconds on the back of the ball and then, making contact with your club.
Physical tension can impact a golf swing and the score. However, some simple techniques like progressive muscle relaxation can make it easier to keep the body loose. This can be practiced at home, for instance, while sitting or lying down, start with the feet and tense the muscles as tight as you can for about five seconds and then release and relax them completely for thirty seconds. Continue up the body to the calves, thighs, butt, abdominals, hands, arms, and so on, tensing and releasing along the way. It is said that the golfers who practiced relaxation of this kind several times a week over three months improved their scores more than those who didn’t. After getting the hang of it, try doing quick relaxations while standing around between shots.