Mental Plan For Golf

Increase Your Confidence by Playing the Positive Points Game

The game was invented by the late Ted Ball and is called “Cuts and Scrapes”. Try it and it will definitely help your mental game and lower your scores.

The game is designed to credit anything positive about your shots and your routine, so that becomes the focus. The more positive thoughts you have, the more you will suppress the negatives which is what we need to do for better performance. It is designed to teach you to focus on the process of hitting the shot at hand and to get you to stay in the present, instead of thinking about your total score.

There are 2 versions of this game:

Results Based:

The player scores:

1 point for hitting a fairway
1 point for hitting a green in regulation
1 point for being closest to the pin
1 point for a birdie
1 point for an up and down save for par

The player loses a point for:

Leaving a putt short
Scoring a double bogey
Taking more than 2 putts

Process Focused

This game is called “Circle 18” and rewards you only when you have stuck to your routine for EVERY shot during the hole.

At the end of each hole, circle the hole number on the scorecard, only if you have stuck to the process of your routine for every shot. This should include:

1. Picking a small target or spot on the green
2. Visualizing the shape the shot
3. Feeling that shot with practice swings (nothing technical)
4. Getting aligned correctly
5. Forgetting about the shot once you’ve put the club back in the bag

Total up your score and make 18 circles your target for the round. This will help you start to focus on the positive steps of your routine, instead of chasing a score and you will undoubtedly play better.

Photo by Steven Newton

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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.

This Post Has 9 Comments

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    j nicol

    Going to try out these positive points games during the winter season. Thanks

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    Jos den Hartog

    Hello David,

    The points game works perfect. I use this game since I read about it in the book Every shot must have a purpose from Pia Nilsson. For people without handicap 0 (so 100% of my customers) I recommend the points for fairways in handicap regulation and green in handicap regulation. The game you describe has some extra features (lesser points for double bogey, leaving a putt short and extra points for nearest to the pin) and next time I will implement these in the game.

    greetz from Portugal!

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    Hi j, thanks for posting a comment and appreciate you reading the article. Look forward to hearing you get on! There are a lot more exercises and tips in my eBook and 2-week course if you would like to sign up.

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    Mike Pedersen Golf

    What an interesting way to look at golf performance. I am a huge believer in the mental side of golf performance. A lot of our issues is between our ears no doubt.

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    another great idea, looking forward to trying it out, makes so much sense to focus on how you’ve applied yourself rather than the scores you make

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    Austin Curtis

    Hi David
    Use similar version of the 2 games in my coaching , good stuff keep in touch
    Austin Curtis Advanced PGA Golf Professional.

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    Morris McCullagh

    If you only play golf for results perhaps you should try a different sport. Golf is about giving your best on every stroke and certainly mental application is of equal importance to the physical sroke. The only way to improve that side of your game is by dedicated practise and monitoring to ensure you dont lapse, so I endorse using either of these approaches as a way of doing this, because it is not easy to give 100% concentration to every shot.

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    Ed Boyce

    David, I think this is one of the better ideas I have seen this spring. thanks

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      David MacKenzie

      Thanks Ed, would be good to hear your feedback after you’ve tried it out. Always looking for ways to improve drills like this!

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