Picture this: You get to the golf course on a beautiful morning for a game with your friends. The birds are singing, the sun is shining and the grass is perfect.
Your first shot of the day flies straight and far…... into the trees out of bounds on the right. "No worries" you tell yourself and tee up another ball only to hit it 10 feet in front of you. All of a sudden you feel slightly embarrassed and smile at your friends. Inevitably bad shots start to fill the day. The driver slices in the woods and cannot be stopped, a bladed wedge over the green from 50 yards, 3 putts from 10 feet, leaving the ball in the bunker……FRUSTRATION!!!!
Golf is a unique sport because one day we can love and obsess about the game, then the next day we can feel extreme frustration and anger. It's best to realize that every golfer has and will experience peaks and valleys in the game. Here are 5 strategies to help you cope when golf is giving you trouble.
Strategy 1) Put Golf In Perspective
In the end golf is just a game. There are more serious matters going on in the world everyday and there are worse things than shooting a bad score. Appreciate the blessing in your life and that you're lucky to have the physical ability to play in the first place.
Strategy 2) Be Factual About Your Game
When you're slicing the ball to the right instead of saying "I'm horrible with my driver. I'll never be able to hit it straight", be factual. "The clubface is pointed to the right at impact, and I need to check my grip and alignment". If your'e having trouble putting and chipping don't tell yourself "I have a bad short game, I'm not any good with my wedges", be factual. "I haven't spent any time practicing that part of my game, and that's why I'm having trouble". Having a golf coach helps clear up any confusion about your game and will present you with simple solutions to your faults.
Strategy 3) Be Your Best Friend
Unlike baseball, basketball or football, golf is not a team sport. You only have yourself to rely on. Dig deep and tell yourself encouraging statements like "You can do it!", "You've hit great shots with this club, let's do it again!", etc. . You'll have a better chance to picking yourself up and getting your game going. The alternative? Being negative and throwing in the towel. Never give up on yourself.
Strategy 4) Be Neutral or Positive
When you have a strong negative reaction to a shot it gets stored deep in the memory. This memory will later come up when you're playing golf in a similar situation. Put the bad shots behind you and really appreciate the good shots. Next time you hit a great shot, close your eyes and store that amazing feeling into your memory for later use.
Strategy 5) Pay Attention to What You're Telling Yourself
There is constant self talk in your head during a round of golf. Telling yourself negative stories about your game will lead to negative beliefs about your abilities and destroy the possibility of confidence. Don't let this happen! Instead be present in the moment. Look around and take in the details of the course or be social with your playing partners. The mind is powerful so make sure it's working for you rather than against.
The sooner you can put the poor shots in the past, the faster you'll be on your way to better golf. Many of my students just need a simple reminder of basic fundamentals to get them hitting the ball better again. There is no perfecting golf so enjoy the journey of improvement.