The Confidence Factor 1

Confidence: To play your best golf, you simply must have it. Confidence is necessary to perform to your ability and potential, and fosters trust in your swing under pressure. With confidence, you spend less time battling negative thoughts and put more energy into positive action.

Work on these golf basics to build confidence in your game:

  • Grip the club with proper hand position and pressure.
  • Correctly align your body and club with the shot’s target line.
  • Exercise to gain strength and control over your body and clubs.
  • Play clubs that are custom built to your height, arm length, swing speed and hand size. The right fit will build trust in your equipment.

Making the right equipment choices will also drive up yor confidence. Some examples:

  • If you have problems hitting long irons, take a close look at hybrids or fairway woods to replace them. (Especially if you don’t like hitting down and taking divots, but prefer a more simplified, sweeping swing.)
  • If your drives have a fade or slice and sometimes block to the right (for a right-handed golfer), changing to a driver with an offset hosel can make a big difference.

If your putter swing has too much wrist action, causing you to flip the putter head at the ball, consider changing to an oversized grip and/or a putter with a heavier head.

There are many boxes you need to check if you are going to play good golf.

The Confidence Factor

Of course, for starters, you need a reliable swing. Your swing doesn’t have to be mechanically perfect, but it does need to get the job done on a reasonably consistent basis. Also, you need to have a trustworthy putting stroke, and the ability to chip the ball properly from around the greens. Beyond these physical capabilities, you also need to have a good sense of course management, knowing when to be aggressive and when to play it safe. This is a hard game, and only players with a diverse set of skills are going to succeed in the long run.

To add to everything mentioned in the previous paragraph, you also need to be confident on the course. The confidence factor is often overlooked in golf, but it is hugely important. Simply put, your chances of success on a given shot are increased if you actually believe that you’ll be successful. If you are standing over the ball thinking about all the way in which your shot could go wrong, trouble is likely to be waiting just around the corner. It’s not always easy to believe in yourself in this difficult game, but that is exactly what you need to do.

Ultimately, it isn’t going to do much good for us to tell you that it is important to be confident – you probably knew that already, anyway. Your confidence is going to have to come from within, and it has to be legitimate. This is not something you can fake; you either believe in yourself on the course, or you don’t. Once you do start to genuinely believe in yourself, you may be amazed at what is possible – even without making any technical changes to your game.

In this article, we are going to talk about a number of different ways you can work on building your confidence. If you use the advice that we provide in the following sections, you may be able to boost your confidence rather quickly, leading to better performance in a shorter period of time. Some of the tips we have provided will be put to use during practice, while others relate to the time you spend on the course.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Break the Mold

Break the Mold

If there is a common thread among amateur golfers, you could argue that it is a lack of confidence. The average amateur player simply does not believe in his or her ability to play this game successfully. While they love the game, the typical player doesn’t think much of their talent, or their prospects of shooting a low score in a given round. Unfortunately, this lack of belief is one of the biggest hurdles standing between amateur players and meaningful improvement on the links.

Of course, this lack of confidence is understandable. Golf is an extremely difficult game, and the average player doesn’t get out onto the course very often. If you play once per week as an amateur, you should consider yourself lucky – many players don’t even get to play once per month. Even if you figure something out during one round that you think can help you moving forward, you may forget all about it prior to your next round. Or, even if you do remember this new key you’ve discovered, it may not work the same way when you try it again, since you haven’t been able to practice it consistently. Simply put, it’s hard to get better at golf when you don’t spend time working on your skills each day.

Another issue that is faced by amateur players is the standard set by their favorite professionals. Most golfers are also fans of pro golf, meaning they watch tournaments on TV on Sunday afternoons and follow the achievements of the world’s best. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, as it can be great fun to watch the top pros do their work. With that said, watching professional golf can cause you to set an unrealistically high bar for your own play. Professional golfers have typically been playing since they were children, and they practice for many hours nearly every day of the week. Thinking that you’ll be able to play anywhere near the standard set by the pros is only going to prime you for disappointment.

So, by this point, the challenge should be clear. Despite the hurdles which stand in your way, you need to find a path toward a confident mindset on the course. To get started in the right direction, consider the tips below –

  • Set realistic expectations. The first step toward confidence on the course is setting realistic expectations for yourself and your game. What do you want to accomplish in golf? What do you think is possible, based on your current skill level and the frequency with which you can practice and play? Take some time to think this through and set some specific goals. It helps to have realistic goals in mind because you can track your progress toward those goals – and that progress will give you something to feel good about. For instance, if you currently shoot in the high 90s, you could set a goal to break 90 for the first time. That is a goal which will require improvement, but it should be within reach. As you get closer and closer, you’ll notice the improvements in your game and you will feel good about those changes. And, of course, once you do break through and shoot a score in the 80s, you’ll get a bigger boost of confidence and be ready to take on new challenges.
  • Focus on the positive. There is a tendency among golfers to focus on the negatives that take place during a round, rather than the positives. It should go without saying that this tendency is going to stand in the way of improving your confidence. It won’t always be easy to focus on positives when playing a round of golf, but do your best. For example, if you hit a great approach shot but then three-putt for a bogey, try to think more about the excellent iron shot than the wayward putting. In time, the pattern of paying attention to the positive over the negative is going to help you be a more confident player overall.
  • Change the conversation. Part of the problem in terms of building confidence come from the fact that others in your group may want to talk negatively throughout each round. This plays right along with our previous point. If the others in your group tend to talk negatively about their games – and about your game – that negativity can be contagious. Consider asking your golfing friends to be more positive – or, at least, ask them to avoid criticizing your game. After all, it’s hard to tell yourself that you are a good golfer when the people in your regular group are telling you the opposite. Surround yourself with the right kind of people and your journey to positivity should be an easier one.

Make no mistake – it’s not going to be easy to build confidence in your game. You aren’t just going to head out for your next round and suddenly think about yourself in a new light on the course. This is going to take time, and there will likely be some setbacks along the way. Stick with it, and be patient as the new, more confident you gradually becomes a reality.

Building Confidence in Practice

Building Confidence in Practice

Everything you do on the golf course starts in practice. If you want to hit better drives, for example, you need to give your driver a workout on the range. Or, if you want to make more putts, you need to spend quality time with the flat stick on the practice green. You don’t get better at golf by accident – it takes intention and purpose to make strides.

With that in mind, the same concept applies to your confidence. If you are going to play a more confident brand of golf on the course, you need to build your confidence during your practice sessions. How can you do that? Give the following tips a try.

  • Make a lot of short putts. One of the fastest ways to give your confidence a boost is by making plenty of short putts during each and every practice session you complete. Making short putts is helpful for a couple of reasons. First, you’ll gradually become better at holing out from three feet, which is an important skill to have in this game. Also, since you will feel more confident from short range, you will actually take pressure off of your putting from long range. When facing a long putt, you won’t be as worried about leaving yourself a three-footer to finish, since you are prepared for just such an occasion. This same kind of thinking applies to your chip shots, as well. With tremendous confidence in your short putting, you’ll know that a perfect chip shot is not necessary in order to get the ball up and down. Just chip it up somewhere relatively close and let your putter finish the job.
  • Pick specific targets on the range. This is a great tip not only to benefit your confidence, but also to help you become a better overall player. For each shot you hit on the range, be sure to pick a specific target. Then, once you hit the shot, follow the flight of the ball carefully and see how you’ve done. Hopefully, you’ll find that you are able to hit your target rather frequently. As you see more and more shots head toward the target, your confidence is sure to grow. There will be some poor shots mixed in, of course, but simply seeing that you have the ability to hit a target is going to help. For instance, if you hit a few seven irons right at your target on the range, you are going to feel better about your chances on the course when that same club comes out of your bag.
  • Challenge yourself. Practice is going to be of little use if you only attempt easy shots. A good way to build up your confidence is to test yourself by making the shots you hit in practice just as tough as those you’ll need to attempt on the course. This can be done anywhere throughout your practice routine, from the putting green to the chipping area and on to the range itself. The best way to practice is to mix easy and hard shots, so you can see some success while also testing your skills. Then, when a tough shot comes up on the course, you won’t be overwhelmed or intimidated. Instead, you’ll be ready for the task and optimistic about your chances of success.

No matter what you do, practicing your game is not going to be the same as testing your game during an actual round of golf. With that said, practice is still essential to your development as a player. Find time to practice when you can, and always do your best to give each part of your game a workout during a practice session. Divide your time roughly equally between the long game and the short game, and do your best to draw out all the positives from your practice while largely ignoring the negatives.