Good Better How

How To Review Your Rounds To Build Confidence and Lower Scores

The simple post-round review process

Whenever I ask a golfer how they played (not including students of mine), unless they played exceptionally well, the typical response would be a negative one, something like: “not great”, “my driving was awful” or “I couldn’t hole a putt today!”.

The brain has a negative bias

Why do we tend to look at things through a negative lens? According to many scientific resources, the brain has a negative bias, meaning that negative experiences are remembered much more than positive ones. Unless we do something proactive about this, it’s very easy to become a “glass is half empty” person which lowers confidence and performance.

Why does the brain have a negative bias?

The brain’s negative bias is a survival mechanism we’ve developed throughout our evolution. Possible bad (life threatening) outcomes would have been more on the minds of our caveman ancestors than positive outcomes. Being eaten by a tiger is final, while missing out on the opportunity to get food isn’t. As with the “fight or flight response”, we still share some of our automatic responses to our environment with early humans. What strengthens negative memory further is that more thought is put into the processing of negative outcomes than it is positive outcomes.

Reversing the negative bias

So that we stay positive, confidence and optimistic about where we are going with our games, it’s important to reverse the negative bias. How do we do this? With a simple post round review process called “Good, better, how?”.

Good Better How

All my current students review their rounds in this way:

3 things that were GOOD

1 thing they could have done BETTER

HOW to make it better – an action plan gives you a definitive solution to the problem

An example of this could be:


Driving was great – 75% of fairways

Distance control on my irons was really good

Lag putting was great


Scrambling could have been better today. I only got up and down 30% out of 6 missed greens


3 hours of short game practice this week with more of a focus on high pitch shots from rough

This gives us a ratio of 3:1, the reverse of the brain’s negative bias.

Keep a Performance Journal

There’s a lot to be said for writing things down. All my students have access to the performance journal Edufii, and I see every entry they make. Combining this with your stat tracking, will enable you to put together a more effective practice plan for continuous improvement.

I also require my students to enter their weekly (or daily) practice goals and hold them accountable to getting them done. Doing what you say you’re going to do, will make you feel like you’re moving forward and further increase confidence for golf.

Going through this process will help you reverse the brain’s automatic negative bias, so you stay confident and positive. It’ll also help you put more focus on the “how” of getting better. The results of it will be continuous improvement and better golf!

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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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