Having high golf confidence is probably the most important factor to playing your best game.
Loss of confidence and on-course collapses are at the forefront of every golfer’s mind.
We’ve all been there.
Our round might have started well, but now it’s crashing down around us.
We’re struggling to remember our last good shot…or even why we love golf.
The temptation is to rip up the card and head back to the club to drown our sorrows.
After all, we can’t improve things from here…can we?
Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work."
Searching the internet for “Golf confidence tips” brings up a slew of seemingly encouraging results.
However, a closer look reveals these golf tips aren’t any use to us out on the course.
Golf tips like “have a rock-solid routine”, “prepare well” and “work on your visualization” are all very well…but require significant amounts of work before coming out to play.
So what can we do?
Is there any way we can stop the rot and get our round back on track? Of course we can.
Here are 8 techniques I use to build golf confidence when it comes crashing down.
8 Ways to Build Your Golf Confidence ON the Course
1. Walk Tall
As soon as I find myself struggling, my posture changes.
I hunch over, tighten up and scurry apologetically around the course, staring down at the ground.
This lowers my confidence even more and my play deteriorates.
I’ve caught myself doing this on several occasions.
As soon as I realize this, I correct my posture – shoulders back, head up, gaze out toward the horizon – and this always helps.
Motion creates emotion.
The way you move and control your body determines how you will feel.
When you get your body language right, you will feel right too.
2. Monitor Your Self-Talk
It’s incredibly easy to slip into an internal “you suck” monologue.
I used to catch myself thinking “I’m never going to get better at this game”; my game (and my enjoyment) improved when I realized this was untrue.
I’m not advocating mindless “you’re the greatest golfer that ever lived” affirmations here, just a realistic rebuttal of these thoughts.
“I’m working hard on my game and I will improve.”
What’s even better than affirmations?
Incantations are positive affirmations expressed with emotional energy, conviction and intensity.
Top motivation speaker Tony Robbins is a firm advocate of incantations.
With such passion and energy, you not only have positive thought-loops, you have changed your physiology.
Once you change your physiology, your confidence will soar.
3. Focus on What’s Going Well
We tend to dwell on our disappointments as we play.
It might be natural for us to do this, but it’s not helping our confidence.
If you start beating yourself up over your mistakes, you will lose your positivity and confidence and it will be hard to regain it back.
Take some time between shots to mull over what has gone well – you may surprise yourself.
Whatever you focus on only grows stronger. If you truly desire a positive change in your life, then focus on what actions you’ll take to change things for the better – don’t dwell on what isn’t going well.”
Breed confidence by focusing on the positives.
Which brings us to…
4. Celebrate Your Victories
I’m not suggesting doing laps around the 18th green bellowing “In your FACE!”
I’m talking about the little victories that happen throughout our rounds, a good shot from heavy rough or a sweetly struck chip.
We tend to emphasize our disappointments and take our good shots for granted.
Because strong emotional reactions result in vivid recollections, this ensures we recall our good shots and make us feel good.
The more you can relive these great shots you played the more confident you become.
Enjoy the praise you receive with a “thank you” and reinforce it with a grin.
5. Play to Your Strengths
This isn’t rocket science – but it’s amazing how many of us are playing the game we think we should play and not the game we know we can play.
Par 5′s are the classic example.
Most golfers struggle with their 3 wood from the fairway, but automatically reach for this club for their second shot.
If we stopped to think, most of us would get better results from hitting a couple of 9 irons.
Don’t fall into this trap.
Build upon your strengths and your weaknesses will gradually take care of themselves.
6. Have a Pre-Shot Routine
Tiger Woods has it. Phil Mickelson has it. Annaika Sorenstam has it.
Do you have it?
A pre-shot routine is useful for “grounding” you and eliminate unnecessary thoughts prior to your swing.
Golf is a non-reactive sport; the ball is just sitting there waiting for you to hit.
Having a pre-shot routine allows you to have a consistent sequence of thoughts, checkpoints, movements or details to help you mentally and physically rehearse the shot.
Start developing your own pre-shot routine and practice it.
In no time, you’ll feel good and notice an improvement in your consistency and scores.
(And it doesn't have to be this complicated)
7. Concentrate on Feel
This is probably the hardest one to follow.
When our swings are off it’s tempting to tinker with mechanics, but this is an express-ticket to Frustration-town.
It’s not uncommon for golfers to get so wrapped up in the backswing they pay little attention to the most important component:
I have a tendency to go down this route and yet my results are far better if I focus on making a smooth, rhythmical swing.
Might yours be too?
I wrote a post how throwing golf clubs can help with your swing.
It could be the solution you require.
Golf should be fun.
We devote large a chunk of our precious weekends to it but a casual observer could be forgiven for thinking it’s a form of penance.
We get so caught up in the frustrations of the game we forget why we’re there.
I get most of my enjoyment from exercising in the fresh air in good company.
Performance is tiny consideration by comparison and it’s vital we realize this.
As much as motion creates emotion, emotion creates motion too.
When you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll naturally be doing it well.
Have you realized that some of your lower score days are when you enjoy the game the most?
And there we have it.
8 simple steps to revive our flagging self-belief.
Sadly, using these tips won’t guarantee we’ll save our score.
They’re simple steps…but that doesn’t mean they’re easy.
The art is knowing when our round is starting to slip away from us; it’s better to start these measures as early as possible.
The longer we leave it, the more difficult it is to arrest the decline…and the more damage we do to our score.
But it’s always worth practicing these skills, even if we feel our score is beyond redemption.
At the very least, we’ll enjoy our round more.