Power Tips for the Golf Mental Game

By Patrick Cameron
Getting the ball up and down is as much mental as it is physical.
Getting the ball up and down is as much mental as it is physical.

Golf is truly a one-of-a-kind game. While mechanical adjustments to the swing seem to be a never-ending process, golf is as much about the mental aspects as it is the physical. In part this is due to the delay. No other sport in the world gives you so much time to think about what you're going to do next as that trip between shots on a golf course.

Releasing Control

There's a rule that all good baseball pitchers live by. Don't think about the pitch...just throw the ball. That principle can be applied to the game of golf as well. When you think too hard about shaping and honing a shot just the right way, you may have a tendency to overthink the shot. There is a method for relieving your mind of all the heavy lifting. Give the shot over to your body. You've trained your body to swing a club. Let it do what it was trained to do. So come up with a mantra that you can use to allow your body to hit the shot, not your brain. Something like, "Okay, body, I'm letting you take this one." This will release your brain from overthinking, and allow your natural swing to hit the shot.

Don't Dwell on the Bad

We all hit some bad ones. It's what you do between that bad hit and the next one that can make the difference between a good day on the course and a bad one. Professional golfer Camilo Villegas has a good tip for taking care of the bad shot blues. He promotes getting mad. You just hit a bad shot. It's okay to react...but then move on. The key, he feels, is take your 10 seconds to be angry about the bad shot then, when you go to play that next shot, grab a little bit too much club (one club above what you would normally hit). Because you don't want to send the ball rocketing over the green, clubbing down will allow you to slow down your swing and not try to swing out of your sneakers.

Tough Tee Boxes

Every golfer has his demons, and pretty much every course has a hole that brings them out. The next time you step to the tee and you're looking at a hole that has trouble all over it, take yourself away. Visualization can be very powerful in the game of golf. When you get to that troublesome tee, take a step back and visualize a hole that you've played and had great results. Then pick a spot on the fairway that plays in to how you hit, step up and let it fly with confidence. The right mental attitude can make all the difference, and it only takes a little coaxing to get you there.

About the Author

Patrick Cameron is a freelance writer with 10 years of diverse experience in consumer goods branding, promotions and retail communications. He works out of his home in Denver, Colo. He received his Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Minnesota.

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