Golf counts as one of the most challenging sports around. It’s also one of the most enjoyable even if it does come with some very frustrating moments. Learning to play better golf is a continual learning curve. But as well as plenty of practice and good equipment you can also use your mind to up your game. In this article, we look at six ways to play better golf using your mind.
Of all the ways of using your mind to play better golf, this is perhaps the one with the best proven outcome. Research by sports scientists at Manchester University discovered that accuracy in golf shots improves by a massive 57% using visualisation techniques.
It consists of imagining yourself playing the shot. You don’t just see every step of your shot, you also imagine the course itself – the sights and sounds, the smell of the grass, the warm sunshine… In short, you have to ‘live’ the shot in your mind.
This technique works better still if you can film yourself while taking a shot and then watch the video afterwards. But whether you’re on or off the course, spend time thinking yourself through different shots.
At Rio Real, we’ve made it super easy to visualise every single hole on the course. Check out our series of bird’s eye videos and then imagine yourself hitting that ball.
Positive mind set
Half the battle to anything is positive thinking and golf is no exception. Pro golfers recommend thinking positively from start to finish in a round. All too often amateur golfers play a poor shot and then throw in the towel for the rest of the game. Pros don’t have this luxury since they earn a living from golf so they have to have a positive mind set from the 1st to the 18th.
Instead of giving up, think how you can get the most from the round even if you’d played a bad shot. Take a leaf out of the great Walter Hagen’s book, “I expect to make at least seven mistakes a round. Therefore, when I make a bad shot, I don’t worry about it. It’s just one of those seven.”
Hand in hand with a positive mind set goes confidence. Golfing coaches recommend ‘believing’ in your golf throughout the game. Research has shown that if you believe you are going to hit a good shot, you’re much more likely to do so. Even if you’ve picked the wrong club, it’s windy or you’re having a bad day. In the case of golf, ‘believing’ improves your score card.
Having the best equipment does wonders for your confidence. Check out the latest in our Pro Shop where you’ll find everything you need.
Another easy way to use your mind to play better golf is to fixate on focus. Train your mind to stay on the game and focus on every shot when it’s your turn to play. Golf is obviously social, but don’t get too distracted by chat as you walk the course – there’s plenty of time to catch up afterwards over a drink at the Club House
No one does anything well when they’re uptight or frustrated. And the same applies to golf. Make sure you’re as relaxed as possible when you’re playing so your mind can clear itself of other thoughts and focus on the shot in question. When you’re about to take a shot, give yourself a few moments to relax your body and particularly the muscles you need for the swing, drive or putt.
Set out some clear goals
Our final suggestion on using your mind to play better golf involves objectives. People are driven by motivation and work better when they have something to aim for. Set yourself some clear goals in your game – look at which are your weak areas and look at how you can improve overall.
Doing this solo isn’t easy and you’ll need the help of a professional. Follow the legend Jack Nicklaus’ advice – “Don’t be too proud to take lessons. I’m not.” And sign up to a golf academy. The best offer tailor-made classes to suit you and your objectives.