How to Stay Strong on the Course

The golf course can do bad things to your confidence. Even if you step to the first tee feeling great about your game, you can find yourself dejected and frustrated just a few holes later. It takes a mentally strong golfer to overcome the setbacks that are sure to take place in each round. If you let your poor shots chip away at your confidence, you’ll soon be doubting your ability to handle even the easiest of shots.

One of your greatest challenges as a golfer is finding a way to remain confident when things don’t go your way. While it is ultimately up to you do discover this kind of mental strength, we think the techniques below may help.

  • Analyze your mistakes. You are going to hit bad shots. Every golfer hits poor shots from time to time, with some players hitting at least one bad shot on nearly every hole. You shouldn’t feel bad about this, and you shouldn’t let it stop you from having confidence. Golf is a hard game, and it is not designed to be mastered. It will always be tough – that is part of the fun. So, when you hit a bad shot, don’t get mad at yourself. Instead, take a moment to analyze the shot and figure out what went wrong. Instead of feeling frustrated, you can take this as an opportunity to get better. Figure out why your shot did not come off like you wanted, and then make adjustments to hopefully avoid that outcome in the future.
  • Don’t bury yourself in expectations. It is easy to damage your confidence when you place tremendous expectations on yourself right from the first tee. If you think every round is going to be a career best score, you’re in for disappointment. This point relates to confidence because you can get down on yourself when your level of play doesn’t live up to what you expected prior to starting the round. We aren’t suggesting that you should never expect to play well, of course. Rather, you should just pick reasonable goals for each round. You will feel less pressure when you don’t expect to play brilliantly each time out, and you’ll probably have more fun along the way.
  • See the big picture. When you make a big mistake early in a round – say, you hit a drive out of bounds – it is easy to feel like you’ve ruined the entire round. It’s a big penalty to hit a tee shot out of bounds, as you lose a stroke plus the distance of the shot. However, you can’t let a single bad shot – or even a series of bad shots – cause you to give up on yourself. A confident golfer will see the big picture, knowing there is plenty of time to hit good shots as well. Every round is made up of good and bad shots, so do your best to stay patient and give your best effort all the way through to the last hole.

There is a lot to be said for the role that experience will play in allowing you to be confident on the golf course. As you gain experience, you’ll get better and better at holding your rounds together even when things don’t go your way at the start. Also, an experienced player will be more likely to remain confident under pressure, which is something that can be tough for a beginner. Pay attention to your level of confidence during each round and do what you can to maintain self-belief regardless of how you are performing.