Don’t Make a Good Score Your Goal

Having expectations or trying to beat your best score every time you play will only have a negative effect on your game. Trying too hard and forcing yourself to hit the golf shots needed to score well, creates pressure and tightness, limiting your performance. This is one of the most important things to realize in learning a better mental game.

When you set scoring goals for yourself and you are not meeting them, frustration and dissatisfaction set in, leading to more poorly hit golf shots. In golf, you need to give up control to gain control. Learn how to accept the outcome of all shots (good or bad), swing freely at your target and enjoy all the challenges that the game throws at you.


A great way to break away from scoring targets is to set yourself goals that have nothing to do with the number on your scorecard. One such goal is trying to to stick to your shot routine for x number of shots per round. Even the top players in the world struggle to achieve this for every shot, but they continually work to improve it. If you stick to your routine for every shot on a hole, circle that hole number on the card. Total up the circles at the end of the round and make that your target (not your score) next time you play. Being able to go through a good shot routine and make sure you are mentally prepared for each shot as well as accepting the outcome of the shot, will help you more than continually measuring your game by your score.

At the end of each hole write down the number of shots that you felt you successfully stuck to your routine. Total these numbers and make this your new target.

Try this and I’ve no doubt that you will see lower scores.

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David MacKenzie

is a golf coach and golf publisher and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind a teaching program designed to help golfers eliminate negative mental interference and play with confidence.

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