Golf – The Mental Game

Golf is often thought of as a relaxing and calming sport. It definitely can be, but as you become more familiar with the game you quickly realize that it’s highly cerebral. We tend to get caught up in thinking what not to do in our golf game instead of thinking of what we should do.

“I don’t want to slice the ball” or “I hope I don’t go into the bunker”, are some examples of what many golfers are thinking about on the course. Instead, you really should be thinking about what you should be doing, or where you should be hitting the ball. Thinking negatively will often translate into tension in your body posture and swing. This will throw off your rhythm and accuracy.

For example, when you’re positioned on the tee box the first thing many golfers tend to do is to pick out the hazard areas. They begin to concentrate so much on avoiding the water or sand that they lose focus on what they should be doing. Instead, try thinking about where you should land the ball. Pick out a reference point that you can use as a positive spot to place the ball. When you start thinking in this manner, you’ll stop focusing on the areas you are trying to avoid. As a result you concentrate more on how to get the ball where it needs to go instead of thinking about where it shouldn’t go. You’ll play more at ease and you should see the positive effects of this in your overall game.

Try it the next time you’re on the driving range. Pretend one of the greens or markers are a hazard you want to avoid. Think only about avoiding that area. Try this for about ten hits. Then try picking out another spot where you want to hit the ball. Think only about landing the ball in this area and disregard where you shouldn’t hit it. Chances are you’ll see better hits when focusing on the positive landing area. Mental tension translates to stiff posture, which is detrimental to your swing. Only when you’re relaxed will you have a chance at proper swing technique. Good mechanics involves timing, proper swing arc, full arm extension at impact and continued follow through.