When you step onto the first tee, your technical skills are what they are. It’s the mental game that’s going to help you to access your very best skills on that day.

In other words, if we make the mental game the measure of success for every round, we maximize our chances of success.  With my Mental Game Scorecard, you can set mental goals for each round and score yourself on how well you did at achieving them. From my experience of coaching the mental game of golf for over 10 years, the better the mental score, the better the actual score.

Mental Goals For A Round of Golf

Why set mental goals for a round of golf?

In golf there are a lot of variables, which includes the outcome of each shot and your score. When we set “outcome goals”, we are setting goals for things that are not completely within your control – there’s an uncertainty factor. And if we focus on things that are uncertain, it makes us feel stressed, which creates tension and makes focusing harder. Let’s say you set the goal of keeping 3 putts off the card or avoiding double bogeys, then you proceed to have a 3 putt double bogey on the first hole. That’s not going to make you feel good is it?

It’s far better to set goals for things that are 100% within your control, that are process related, not outcome related. Immediately you will feel less performance anxiety when you do this. If you achieve those process goals, it will give you the best possible chance of getting the outcome you want.

Process Goals

When I begin work with a new student, I assess them and identify what they need to be focusing on during their “shot routine” to maximize their chances of hitting a good shot. Once we’ve done this for each type of shot (full shot, short game and putting), those steps become goals and the measure of success for the shot, not the outcome!

I set these Process goals for my Shot Routine (for full shots) last weekend:

  • Clear Target
  • Visualize
  • Breathe
  • Commitment

mental game scorecard

I scored 88% on my “Mental Game Scorecard” and shot a 74, which for me is a good round.

Other Types Of Process Goals

The time in between shots is actually 80% of a round of golf. Many golfers lose shots because they’re focusing on the wrong things during this time, which increases performance anxiety and burns mental energy. For this reason, it’s important to we need to create goals such as the following for the in between shot time:

  • Staying present (focusing on breathing, senses etc)
  • Positive self-talk
  • Thinking about things that keep you positive
  • Talking with playing partners

I also have my students measure their mental performance (in their Post Round Review) by other criteria such as:

  • Strategy
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-round warm-up
  • Golf IQ
  • Nutrition and hydration
  • Staying Present