Mental Game Scorecard

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Post-round review questions

In golf, we need to celebrate success but use failure to get better.

After a round, the big questions we need to ask ourselves are:

“What did I do well and what do I attribute to that success?”

We need to maintain these things during practice.

“What did I not do well and how do I improve that?”

Let’s try to notice the things that might be causing these things.

What we need to do is find patterns in our play – if it was a great round, what specifically in your mental process and your mood was contributing to that? Was it that you really stuck to your pre-shot routine? Was it that you had a swing cue that worked? Was it a particular thought in between shots? Was it an attitude that you had before the round? Was it focusing on your breathing? If you can identify it, let’s repeat it in the future!

If it was a bad round, what was it in the process or your mood that could have caused it? Was it a lack of patience? Was it tension in your swing? Was it a failure to accept the bad shots? Was it that you set off to shoot a great score and had high expectations? By being aware of the things you are doing and feeling when you’re playing poorly can help you avoid them in future rounds.

Your mental game scorecard

There are several key indicators to look out for. I like to call this a Mental Game Scorecard. I’ve included a link to a pdf version at the end of this section, so you can print off and fill out of you would like. Here are my top questions I like my students to ask themselves after every round.

How good was my routine?

For me this is the best way to judge your performance during a round. To make sure the focus is always on process instead of outcome (things you can control vs things you can’t), I have my students play a game whereby they can measure whether how well they stuck to their routine. This is one of the games that’s part of my Ultimate Mental Game Training System.

How good was my course strategy? Did I make good misses? How good was my club selection and choice of shot? Could I have chosen different shots around the greens?

How good was my visualization? Did I really get a clear picture of each shot in my mind before swinging? Did I see the shape and trajectory of it and where it would finish?

Was I rehearsing a particular shot during my practice swings or tinkering with my swing mechanics?

How good was my green reading? Did I give it enough attention?

How good was my alignment? Did I stand behind the ball and pick my spot in-between the ball the target?

How well did I accept bad shots and put them behind me?

How well did I talk to myself? Did I offer words of encouragement or disapproval?

How did I handle the pressure and challenges the round threw at me? Did I embrace it or cave in?

Did I give up when I started to play poorly and a good score was out of reach?

Did I stay in the present and enjoy my surroundings?

Was I able to “switch off” in between shots and turn off my golf brain?

Did I start to analyze my swing when I hit off target shots?

What was my attitude like at before the round? Was I grateful and full of optimism about the possibilities, or putting pressure on myself to shoot a good score?

How often did I think about my score during the round?

How good was my warm-up today? Did I use it to build confidence or did I start judging my game?

How good was my food and drink consumption before and during my round?

Did I think about how I was playing in relation to my playing partners and what they thought of me?

Was I a fun playing partner today?

Did I sabotage my round when I was playing well?

It’s a good idea to start keeping a mental game journal after each round, and these questions are a good template for each entry.

Photo courtesy of Julie Rybarczyk

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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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