Golf is not just a sport where you need to master the physical aspects of the game. In fact, it is probably more important that you master the other side of the game of golf – the mental game.
The mental game of golf has been written about extensively and is becoming an entirely separate part of the game, with the top professionals enlisting the help and support of psychologists, mental game experts, and even hypnotists in an effort to improve their scores.
The way that you conduct yourself on the golf course is all down to the mental game, from whether you get angry and beat yourself up over the one bad shot that you hit, to your poor shot decision which cost you the monthly club competition.
The mental game covers all of these aspects and changing the way that you approach the mental game will have a massive impact on the way that you play the game, and in some cases, the way you approach everyday life.
If you are struggling with the game of golf and feel frustrated and angry at the constant battle you are having with yourself then you need to think about changing the way you think and behave when on the links.
I want you to consider the possibility of changing your focus from that of “I need to hit every shot as well as I can” to something that, for the majority of you reading this, will benefit you more – “I will enjoy every round, regardless of the outcome”.
Go Back to Day One
I want to take you back to the very beginning. You need to think about the reasons that you began playing golf. What was your reason for taking the game up?
I doubt many of you will say to win the club championship or to be world’s number one. Instead, what I do expect is that you began to play for enjoyment and the chance to be surrounded by friends and nature; a chance to unwind and relax by playing a game that you enjoy.
I believe that this is one of the major mistakes that amateur golfers make as they become obsessed with hitting the perfect shot and playing the perfect round. They lose sight of the main reason for playing – enjoyment. The single most important reason why we as human beings play any game.
Think About Your Last Game
I would like you to think about your last game and remember how you felt walking off the 18th green. Were you happy, content and relaxed? If the answer was yes then you probably played well, if the answer was no you had probably failed to meet your expectations. But was everything about your round really that bad? Did you not enjoy a single moment during the four hours that you were strolling down the links?
If you didn’t enjoy one single thing then maybe you should consider playing another sport. If you did enjoy something, even if it was seeing an eagle soaring through the sky or a squirrel scurrying through the trees, try and focus on those moments of pleasure.
Play for Pleasure
Many of us get too hung up on our results, which, unless we are playing to earn a living, don’t really have much bearing on our lives. But what happens is that we make it have a bearing on our lives, arriving home in a bad mood or snapping at our loved ones, or the dog, when we walk in the door.
To begin to play better golf you have to learn to accept what you have done, good or bad, and move on. Try to react to each shot in the same manner, but more importantly for the average golfer, you need to enjoy every single round you play.