Mental Golf Tips for Beginners

By Brian Hill
Golf instruction should focus on both the physical and mental aspects of the game in order to build confidence.
Golf instruction should focus on both the physical and mental aspects of the game in order to build confidence.

Good golf requires plenty of practice and use of proper technique. The coordination and timing required to hit the ball squarely do not come naturally to many individuals. As golfers gain experience, they discover that the mental approach they take is just as important as the athletic ability they have. Beginners particularly need to learn mental techniques that will help develop their confidence and concentration.

Avoid Over-Thinking

When you are about to begin your swing, try not to have too many swing thoughts. Cluttering your mind with a jumble of instruction tips you have learned usually results in an ineffective, choppy swing. The practice range is the place to work on improving the various components of your swing such as the takeaway, weight shift and shoulder turn. On the course, just try to maintain a fluid swing.

Visualize Success

Beginning golfers tend to focus on the negative, the insecurities they have about their golfing ability, or the potential disaster that awaits in the form of deep bunkers and water hazards. Learning how to visualize the outcome you want--a golf shot that is right on target--can actually help you bring about more positive results. Your mind helps train your body to execute a good swing. Golf is much easier when negative thoughts are avoided altogether.

Stay Calm

Beginners let tension and fear impair their ability to make a sound swing. Take deep breaths and exhale slowly before you begin the swing. Relax your shoulder muscles and don’t hold the club with a vise-like grip. As you walk up to your ball, take a moment to enjoy the scenic beauty of the golf course. This should calm you down as well. Treat the experience like a walk in the park.

Find Your Favorite Club

Most golfers have one or more clubs they hit particularly good shots with. In their minds, they believe they can rely on that club. The club just feels more comfortable. Find out which club you are most confident with and use it when you feel uncertain about your next shot. You might be shaky with the driver but you always hit your 4-wood well. Don’t be afraid to use the 4-wood off the tee. You may actually be able to hit the ball farther with it than with the driver simply because you are so confident.

Go Out for Target Practice

Beginners don’t even have to be on the course to train their minds to focus on hitting a specific target. The driving range can be used to emulate playing an actual golf hole. Instead of hitting 20 shots with your driver, or your 3-iron, try hitting a tee shot to a specific target area on the range. Then pick out a spot where the green would be, and take another club to hit your second shot. Continue by taking your pitching wedge and hitting your third shot, again to an imaginary target.

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