Mental Game 101

The Mental Game of Golf 101

Whether you’re new to the mental game of golf or a seasoned player, these basic principles are essential for anyone trying to be more mentally competitive as a golfer. If you’re a regular GSOM reader, these will be a great refresher!

  • Re-think of golf as an Art not a Science
  • Never have expectations of how you should play. Enjoy that you have no idea what will happen to you out there
  • Think about golf as a series of individual shots executed as best you can, instead of an aggregate score
  • Be prepared to scramble from the start (remember it’s the challenge that makes golf the game it is)
  • Have a disciplined shot routine to keep you in the present. You cannot be preoccupied with the past or future. Make process not outcome your goal
  • Always hit to very precise targets and have a clear picture of the shot you are about to hit
  • Never have technical thoughts about your swing on the golf course. This reduces your focus on what you are about to do – hit the golf ball to a precise target with a clearly defined shape
  • Every practice swing is specific to the particular shot you are about to hit
  • Use the driving range to experiment with as many shots of different shapes and trajectories, not to work on “the perfect swing”. The best way to learn is by visualization and feel and to teach your subconscious mind
  • We are aiming for consistency in our scores not our shots. Every shot is different
  • Your enjoyment should not be hinged on your score or you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Think about what you can learn about yourself in the process

  • Golf scores and the quality of your golf shots will never define you as a person. However, there are many parallels with life and golf gives us the opportunity to practice many important life skills (patience, overcoming adversity, staying in the present, acceptance, staying positive and much more…
  • Golfers will never be judged on how technically sound their swing is
  • Accept every shot, good or bad, and move on quickly to the next
  • Commit to every shot 100%. A fully committed aggressive swing will produce a better result than a timid one
  • Enjoy the game no matter what happens. Time is precious and after-all, golf is only a game.

Photo by Keith Allison

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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 One Comment

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    I purchased your audio session and I listen to it every chance I get, it gave me an incite on golf I never had. I was told of the different things to do, but being told why we have to do it, made all the difference. Thank you. Most of it described my game to a T. I’m a 5 HC, I shot even par several times at a couple of different courses, I know it’s in my head about the breaking par barrier. I’ve been under par many times with a couple of holes to play, than you know what happens. Hopefully I can use your teaching to break that barrier this year.
    Thank you again.


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