My good friend and mental coach, David Mackenzie, recently developed a pretty cool audio program for golfers to help with pre-round confidence. This is a guest blog with some of David’s top tips for boosting your confidence before you play.
1. Choose to be excited, not fearful of the possibilities
Today you are playing golf. You’re not working in the office or doing something mundane. You have an opportunity to play the game you love, and if you keep an open mind, you will enjoy it whatever the result. Choose to have an attitude of gratitude, not entitlement and be excited, not fearful of the possibilities for today’s round.
2. Setting the right goals
What do you want to get out of today’s round? If it’s shooting your best score or winning your tournament, you might want to rethink. From my experience of working with players of all levels (including Tour players), goals that are result oriented create too much pressure. Instead, a player is much more likely to succeed by setting “process goals” things they can control in the shot routine or in between shots. Making these the measure of success, gives you goals that are easier to achieve and completely within your control, vs chasing score which has an element of uncertainty.
3. Separating you the player from you the person (your scores do not define you)
The players that make it to the top, play what’s called Mastery Golf. It’s about having personal goals, creating a plan for improvement and sticking to it. Some golfers, who are not as successful, play what’s called “Ego Golf”. Ego golfers put additional pressure on themselves by attaching self-worth to the way they play. They think people will view them as a better person, because they have a better golf game. Free yourself up by making sure you are the former, not the latter.
4. Visualizing a good round
Before you play, spend a few minutes visualizing a positive outcome. See yourself hitting some great shots on the course you are about to play. This helps create the mood for success.
5. Go through a good physical warm-up routine
There are many ways to go about a physical warm-up. A good stretching routine is important before you start hitting balls. When you do get to the range, try a more random warm-up instead of the typical SW to driver approach. Hit some shots you expect to hit on the course. Go from long club to short club, long to short etc. This is a better way to get your mind and body warmed up. Be sure to go through your pre-shot routine for at least a few shots.
6. How to deal with first tee nerves
When you start to feel nerves, this is actually a positive. Ask any Tour player, if they would want to play with nerves or not, and they would always say they welcome nerves as it increases focus. But making sure you are able to keep nerves at a manageable level is important. If you’re interested in learning more about stress management techniques to control nerves, check out the Pre-round Confidence Booster Audio Sessions, which you can get access to below.
7. Preparing for bounceback
You will make mistakes on the golf course. That is inevitable. Accept that before you go out to play. More importantly, keep in mind that whatever happens on the golf course will make you a better player, if you choose to learn from it (in your post-round evaluation). Letting go and responding (instead of reacting) to mistakes is the mark of a champion. Give yourself this challenge during your next round.
8. What is your pre-shot routine?
Clearly defining your pre-shot routine before you go out is key. This is the true measure of success for every shot.
9. Food and drink to boost your performance
The importance of pre-round and in-round nutrition and hydration is key to getting the best out of your body and mind. I’d recommend Fuel4Golf’s program if you want to take this more seriously.
10. Prepare for the “Time in between”
Golf is 90% in between shots. It’s important to “switch off” and “stay present” during this time. Take some time to enjoy the beautiful scenery and your playing partners. It’ll put you in a better mood and state of mind to play the next shot well, instead of fretting about your score or your swing. As Ben Hogan said,
As you walk down the fairway of life, you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”
GET THE PRE-ROUND CONFIDENCE BOOSTER AUDIO SESSIONS! (click below). 30 mins of audio to get you in the best mood to play well.