Golf is a game of consistency and repetition. Developing good habits will not only translate to your performance, but also your approach to the game. After all, golf is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable activity. By developing these six habits, you’ll work on both the physical and mental aspects of the game.
1. Develop a Consistent Pre-Shot Routine
Athletes across all sports develop some type of routine. A basketball player may dribble the ball a certain number of times before shooting a foul shot. A swimmer adjusts their goggles before getting up on the blocks. Or a softball player goes through a certain set of moves when they’re about to step up to the plate. For golfers, this is exhibited through a pre-shot routine. Think about what you do when you approach the ball. Do you follow a series of steps each time? If so, you have a pre-shot routine. Staying consistent with this routine is a way for you to center yourself and relax when things get stressful. Whether you are trying to recover from a bad shot, or you’re one putt away from winning a tournament, approaching each shot the same way helps you focus and reduce stress by doing something familiar.
2. Make Practice Count
Practice may not always be the most fun, but how can you improve if you don’t practice? Be present and intentional when you go out to practice. Are you trying to work on your swing? Or are you trying out a new putting stroke? Going into a practice with a clear goal or vision will help you focus and make the most of your time.
3. Set Goals
Goals help us stay motivated. Plus, doesn’t it feel awesome when you actually meet one of your goals? Goals don’t have to be this big, daunting thing. They can be something as simple as saying you want to play a round without hitting the ball out of bounds. Or, you want to hit all the fairways in a round. Whether it is a short-term or long-term goal, giving yourself something to work toward will help you make improvements and feel accomplished while doing it.
4. Review Your Performance
After finishing a bad round, the last thing you may want to do is look back and analyze it. You just want to drive away from the course and forget it ever happened. But after a great round, you sit around talking with your friends about each shot and how you felt. It’s important to sit down and review your performance - good or bad. What went well for you? Where did you struggle? Is there something you can work on in practice? Keeping your own stats during a round is an easy way to keep yourself accountable and discover trends across rounds.
5. Follow Golf Etiquette
Golf is a game of honor and respect, and etiquette plays a big role in that. Be a good playing partner by respecting the other players, giving them space to hit their shot, and keeping up with pace of play. Respect the golf course: replace divots, fix ball marks, and keep your cart on the path where marked.
6. Learn How to Move On
Let’s face it, some days aren’t your days. No matter what you do, the ball just isn’t going where you want it to, or you are making little mistakes. That’s ok, you’re only human. A habit that distinguishes good golfers from great golfers is knowing how to let go and move on from a bad round or a bad shot. You are going to have off days. Every professional golfer has rounds they would rather forget. But, learning to move on will prevent you from letting a bad shot ruin your entire round.