We all want to get better at golf and I’m sure many of you have “lowering my handicap” as a New Year’s Resolution. The key is learning how to play the mental game and a better approach to game improvement. Here are a few tips to make your practice time more effective and your scores better.
1. Try to make a positive pre-shot routine a habit before EVERY shot: Focus on your target, the shape of shot you want to hit, the feeling of that shot and being correctly aligned and you will execute better. If you can concentrate on this routine, it will also help to distract you from any negative mental interferences.
2. Stay in the present: We have no control over the past, like the 3 putt on the previous green or the tee shot hit out of bounds. What we do have control over is our attitude and our approach for EVERY shot we are about to hit. If we are thinking about the past or future it dilutes your positive intention for the shot at hand. This is KEY to becoming the best we can be.[subscribelocker]
3. Practice with visualization and feel on the driving range: when you are on the driving range, don’t waste time hitting balls relentlessly at the same target and working on complex technical drills. Try to use as much visualization, creativity and experimentation as you can. This is much more effective use of your valuable practice time.
4. Never work on technique on the golf course: if you start to lose confidence during your round, eliminate the tendency to work on a technical solution, which is what most golfers do. This only acts to further distance yourself from what is going to get you hitting the ball better: visualization and feel.
5. Make putting more about visualization and feel: putting is an almost pure mental game. How we practice and approach each putt has a huge impact on our results. Work on a better green reading approach, seeing and feeling the line and being correctly aligned to the apex of the putt. See the putt, feel it and hit the ball out the center of the putter. It’s that simple.
6. Enjoy the game however you play: golf is a game that you play in your valuable free time and unless we play on the Tour, our scores have no real consequence on our lives. In other words, we should be able to enjoy it whatever we score. Try to find something deeper that can be taken from the game. Think of the relationships you can develop with your playing partners or how you can develop mental strength from coming back from a few bad holes. Not putting so much weight on the outcome of shots will help you become a more relaxed golfer and your scores will improve as a result.