The better you get at the physical side of golf, the more important the game’s mental side becomes.
Put another way: As proper swing mechanics become ingrained and automatic, continued improvement rests on your ability to handle golf’s many psychological challenges.
Chief among these is the ability to focus on each shot for an entire round. Most golfers find this is much easier said than done.
Any number of factors can cause you to lose focus for a single shot, a couple of holes or even a long stretch. You may be distracted by a poor result on a previous shot, the specter of a looming hazard, or personal issues entirely unrelated to golf. The brain’s energy and capacity for focus wax and wane, too. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Like mastery of the golf swing, perfect concentration is fleeting. One hole you’ve got it, the next hole you don’t. Here are a few pointers to boost your focus and lower your scores:
1. Develop a strict pre-shot routine
The best way to block out unwanted thoughts is to give yourself something specific to focus on. Going through a pre-determined sequence of actions before each and every shot achieves this goal.
While there’s no single right way to build a pre-shot routine, it should include steps to get you aligned properly with your mind fixed on the target. This will also make you more consistent from shot to shot.
To learn more about developing a sound pre-shot routine, watch this video.
2. Analyze bad shots, then let them go
Dwelling on mistakes is a sure way to lose concentration and derail a round. It’s even worse if you tend to get angry or down after a poor shot or hole.
In golf, as in life, every unpleasant experience presents an opportunity to learn and grow. After a lousy swing or stroke, distance yourself emotionally and determine what you did wrong. File away the data for future use – perhaps on the very next hole – and move on.
3. Keep your body well-nourished
Because golf isn’t considered a physically taxing activity, nutrition is an often overlooked key to playing well. Eating the right foods before and during a round is an easy, fool-proof way to improve your energy and focus.
Want more info on what to eat and drink to play your best? Read more here.