Golf Warm Up

Your Pre-round Confidence Boosting Warm-up

What are your goals for a round of golf? What do you expect to get out of it?

Your answer to these questions will say a lot about how successful you will be.

Your attitude and expectations before a round have a huge influence on how well you play. Are you setting yourself up for a great round, or a mediocre one?

Re-framing your perspective to what your round really means will have a huge effect on what you get out of it.

We need to create a mood for being successful. How can you do this?

This lesson is an excerpt from my upcoming “Pre-round Confidence Booster” audio book, that will be available for pre-sale within the next couple of weeks. This is more of a mental warm-up than a physical one. You could call this “the best warm up for golf”.

Have an attitude of gratitude, not entitlement

Gary Player, one of the most successful golfers in history talks about how his “attitude of gratitude” helped him get out of his own way and handle the rigours of playing professional golf.

Having an attitude of gratitude is about being grateful for what you have, not what you don’t have. Simply thinking about this once a day, can really help you feel more content and not sweat the small stuff which has no contribution to long-term happiness.

Research shows that people who are more grateful are happier, less depressed, and have more restraint and self-control, especially in stressful situations.

After winning the Masters in 2012, Bubba Watson said he felt immense pressure to perform, “to be a superstar”. He had a whole new level of expectation on his shoulders, which often happens to players after big wins. However, Bubba believes he was able to change this perspective by simply being thankful. Thankful for the being able to play golf for a living, thankful for his family, thankful for the good things in his life. Since then, Bubba has won 5 times on Tour.

So, let’s start by putting your round of golf in perspective. Think of 3 things that you are grateful for (they don’t necessarily have to do with golf), that will not change with how you play.

I know golf (and your score) is important to you, as it is to me. But when you take a bigger picture perspective, it’s easier to let your natural game emerge.

To take the pressure off, we need to find something that you can take away from your round that has nothing to do with how you play, and bring that to the forefront of your mind.

We need to find something that is certain (or guaranteed) to provide satisfaction, regardless of the result. There’s far less stress when you are focused on things that are certain, rather than uncertain (score). Let’s find out what that those things might be…

What is your motivation for playing? What do you really love about golf?

Here are a few possible reasons:

  • Is it that you can get outside in beautiful surroundings?
  • Is it that you enjoy the company of the people that you are about to play with or the prospect of meeting new people?
  • Is it that are able to enjoy some exercise?
  • Is that you get the opportunity to hit at least a few “quality” shots, just like a Tour player?
  • The mental and physical challenge the game provides?
  • Being able to play a game that gets your competitive juices flowing?
  • Is it that you can get better at staying calm when faced with adversity?

Any of these are reasons that golfers love the game of golf. And all of them have nothing to do with the number that goes on the scorecard. But the value of these things are often outweighed by those (short-lived) things that appeal to the ego, such as what others will think of you if you shoot a good (or bad) score.

To guarantee yourself an enjoyable experience, and to make good scores more possible, remind yourself of why you love the game – it’ll help you look on the bright side and stay positive when things aren’t going your way.

So let’s start by having an attitude of gratitude and thinking about the pleasures that golf brings us irrespective of score. Being grateful keeps our minds open and receptive to things that go beyond the numbers on the scorecard – and ironically you’re more likely to see a lower number on there at the end of it.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Schreiber

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David MacKenzie

is a mental golf coach and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind, a teaching program designed to help golfers condition their minds to overcome fear and play with confidence.

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