Golf is more of a mental game than other sports, the two greatest ever players, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, have always had the strongest mind.
Here are ten tips for getting your psychology right when you are a beginner and just starting to play:
- Enjoy the game
If you play badly and enjoy it, you win. If you play well and enjoy it, you win. You will also play better when you enjoy the game.
- Visualize your shots
Picture the perfect shot before you hit the ball. See the ball in your mental theater as if you were watching yourself and see the great swing and the ball going towards the target.
- Limit your downsides
Don't go for the shot that will be a disaster if you don't pull it off. Have a large margin of error when you hit your shots.
- Take one shot at a time
Many players get ahead of themselves and start thinking of the birdie before they have even hit the putt yet. Or, they hit a bad shot, three putted, and they carry that around with them for a while and remain angry at themselves.
- Don't think too much
You'll play better when you go with your first decision. If, as you walk up to the ball, you think "8-iron", grab that club out of the bag and go with your instinct. This will also help you play faster
- Switch on and off between shots
Golf is a game that gives you too much thinking between shots, so you should try to turn your focus on 100% as you are playing your shot. Then, as you walk between the green to the next tee, stop thinking about golf, chat with your playing partner and enjoy the nature all around you.
- See the target and react
Most players focus on what is going on with the ball where they are, rather than at the target. Try this: Take your focus away from what you are doing at the ball and focus on where you want the ball to go.
- Don't fix your swing out on the course
Leave all the analysis, the fixing and the drills for the practice ground after your round has finished. Play with what you have for that day and don't try to tweak when you are in the middle of the round.
- Pick out targets
From the tee, pick out a target at eye line level and hit the ball towards that. When you are putting, aim for a certain blade of grass or at a spot on the back of the cup.
- Play the shot that you feel comfortable playing
If you are not comfortable opening the face of the wedge and hitting a flop shot up in the air then go with the simple seven-iron bunt. It is better to be comfortable and confident over the ball with the wrong club rather than having doubts. Doubt is the killer in golf.