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  • Writer's pictureANNIKA Foundation

Five Ways to Improve Your Mental Golf Game

When it comes to golf, many of us think about the swing or putting, but the mental game is just as important. Developing a strong mental game takes time; there are countless professional golfers who are still learning how to master the mental side of golf. Here are five ways to help you with your mental golf game.

1. Practice

It may seem odd to start off a list about mental preparation with physical practice, but practicing your golf game will help you feel prepared and confident. Picture yourself standing over your ball for a big putt in a tournament. If it’s a putt you’ve practiced hundreds of times, you will feel more confident versus if it’s not something you practiced very often.

2. Have a routine

As you start playing in golf tournaments, you may start to experience nerves before and during your rounds. One way to help settle yourself down is to have a pre-round routine. This is an opportunity to have time to yourself, prepare, and think about your game.

During your rounds, and when you are practicing, you’ll want to have a pre-shot routine. Whether you hit an amazing shot or one you’d like to have back, coming back to the same routine before hitting your next shot helps you stay focused and present.

3. Set goals

Goals help with motivation and assessing your performance. Whether it’s a short-term goal or a long-term goal, giving yourself something to work toward will help you feel accomplished. Plus, it’s a way to measure your progress. You may start off wanting to hit half of the fairways and over time you can inch that up to hitting all of them.

4. Stay in the present

Golf teaches you so many lessons, and one of the biggest is staying present. It’s easy to think about the next hole or the next round or the next tournament, but staying present allows you to remain focused on the task at hand. You can’t necessarily control what is to come, but you do have control over your next shot. Plus, staying present will help keep the nerves at bay as well as any negative self-talk.

5. Visualize your shots

If you listen to professional golfers talk about their mental game, a lot of them will speak about how they practice visualization. It is really simple, but takes discipline. Put yourself in a comfortable place, breathe in and out, close your eyes, and visualize how you would hit different shots. This is especially effective after a practice round before a tournament. Go through all the holes and think about how you would react to a bad lie or a certain situation. The advantage of doing this is when you actually encounter this situation for real, you’ll already have thought through how you would approach it.

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