How to Master the Mental Attitude in Golf – 11 Tips for Success

As mentioned many times around this website, golf has no shortage of challenges. Mental attitude in golf is a critical component to putting together a solid round from start to finish.

image portraying the mental attitude in golf

If you lack golf mental skills and unravel quickly or become easily angered by things that don’t go your way there is a good chance it is sabotaging your game.

The truth is, golf is no different than other parts of life. Things happen, some good and some bad.  How you react and move forward will dictate the outcome you get.

Just knowing that the mental game is a huge part of golf, and life, makes it seem like an easy decision to work on. However, most people, golfers included, just don’t take the time to analyze where they’re at, see where improvements can be made, then take the actions needed to actually do better.

Let’s buck the trend!

This post is going to help you to level up your mental game in life and on the golf course because realistically, you can’t do one without the other.

Let’s get to it! 🧠💪

What Mental Skills Does Golf Require?

image depicting strong brain

Despite what many people believe, golf requires a great deal of both mental and physical strengths… It’s not just a game of physical strength. In order to be successful, golfers need to have a mental attitude that is just as strong as their physical game, if not stronger.

One of the most important mental skills in golf is the ability to stay focused and keep a positive attitude. With so many things going on around them, golfers need to be able to block out distractions and concentrate on the most important shot, the next one. In addition, golfers need to have a good short-term memory in order to remember their previous shots and learn from their mistakes.

Another mental skill that is important in golf is the ability to manage emotions. Golfers need to be able to keep their cool under pressure and not let their emotions affect their play. By developing strong mental skills, golfers can improve their chances of success on the course.

Why Golf is a Mental Game

Golf is often seen as a physical game, but in reality, the mental aspect of the game is even more demanding than the physical. A player’s mental attitude can have a huge impact on their performance.

For example, if a player is feeling nervous or anxious, they are more likely to make mistakes. Alternatively, if a player is feeling confident and relaxed, they are more likely to play well.

The ability to control one’s emotions and stay focused is essential for success in golf. The mental game also plays a role in course management. Deciding which club to pull and how to approach each shot requires a clear head and sound judgment.

Golfers that maintain a positive attitude, and who keep calm under pressure and make smart decisions are more likely to perform well. Golf requires focus, discipline, positive thinking, and emotional control.

Players who can master these skills will be the most successful. End of story.

How to Become Mentally Tough in Golf

image of a brainYour attitude in golf is just as important as your physical ability when it comes to playing the game.

Developing golf mental skills can help a golfer stay focused and confident in spite of any challenges that they may face on the course.

One way to develop mental toughness is to visualize success. Picturing oneself making a perfect shot can help to increase self-belief and reduce nerves.

Another way to develop mental toughness is to set realistic goals. By breaking the game down into small, achievable steps, a golfer can maintain their motivation and avoid getting overwhelmed.

Finally, it is important to embrace mistakes and learn from them. Rather than dwelling on past errors, a mentally tough golfer will see each mistake as an opportunity to improve their game. By developing mental toughness, a golfer can increase their chances of success on the golf course.

11 Top Tips To Help Keep a Positive Mental Attitude During Your Rounds

Here are 11 of our top tips you can implement to start tuning up your mental game! 👇

1. Maintain Perspective

Think about it.. In the big picture, you are out enjoying the game of golf with friends and/or family. That alone makes it a good day. We get it though, we all want to hit good shots and play well, it feels good.

It’s also critical to fully understand that tormenting yourself over a bad shot or shots is NOT going to help you get back on track.

Let go of any pre-determined thoughts you have about how many fairways you should be hitting, or how many GIR you should be hitting.

We are not suggesting that you don’t care, however, letting go and allowing yourself to play the game to your best ability THAT DAY is the only thing any golfer can do.

When you are able to keep things light it will help you to learn to enjoy each round for what it is… or isn’t…

2. Don’t Allow Your Emotions to Eat You Up

One of the biggest problems for most amateur golfers is their lack of control of emotions.

Overreacting to bad shots, negative self-talk, or pouting are just a few of the things that players do when they cannot control their emotions.  

Every one of these things, among others, will completely derail your game that day, and will likely leave you feeling like a knucklehead when the round concludes.

3. Check Your Body Language

The chemicals we release into our bodies are affected by our body language and posture.  If you are sending the wrong signals to your brain it will make for an uphill day on the course.

blackboard words body language

This whole post is about the mental game in golf, and your body language plays a huge role.

The bottom line is to stay positive, smile, and send the right signals so you can get the most of each round.

4. Stay in the NOW

Stop letting the past, or the future, derail your moment.  Golf, and life, is all about the now.  The past has already happened, and the future has yet to be seen.

Take it one shot at a time when you are playing golf. It is so easy to lose focus by dwelling on past shots or stressing over future concerns.

I think it’s safe to say all golfers do some sort of projecting during their rounds.  Whether it be if I do this bad I will shoot 120, or, if I keep this up I will break 80!

Stop… This does nothing to serve you in the NOW.

By staying in the moment right now you can put an adequate amount of thought and focus into the most important shot of the round, the next one!

Being present will also help you deal with fears, anxiety, or other negative thoughts/emotions that can creep into your head during your round.

One method for building this skill is through meditation. In fact, it is highly recommended for golfers to check out all of the benefits meditation for golf has to offer.

5. Learn From Your Mistakes on the Golf Course

Mistakes are part of the game… and life.  Heck, I can guarantee that every person reading this has made some, both on the course and off!

Achieving your goals with anything does not come without a certain degree of adversity, failure, and… mistakes!

Keeping it with golf, you need to remember that even the very best of the best all make mental and physical mistakes on the course. This is where it comes in extra handy to have that toughness and grit on your side, the mental toughness you need to have to play golf at a high level.

Setbacks can come in many different shapes and sizes.  Mistakes are one part of those setbacks and you can either learn from them and be better off next time, or you can repeat them and wonder why things don’t change.  The choice is yours.  We hope you choose to go forward with a dedicated mindset to live life and play the game with the mental attitude and toughness required to accel.

image of a rear view mirror6. Leave Bad Shots in Your Rear-View Mirror

It’s over, you shanked one.  We all do it.  Now, it is time to move forward and focus in on the next shot and not compounding the mistake.

Sure, a quick curse word under your breath is normal, even expected 🤣 — but you need to be able to put it behind you quickly because the game of golf is unforgiving, and dwelling on the bad will eat you up, making it nearly impossible to get your round back on track.

TRUE STORY: I was once a total hot head golfer. Acted like a whiny brat every time things didn’t go my way. I could not get out of my own way, and even worse, I was no fun to play with, and my playing partners let me know about it.

That changed for me when I started playing regularly with a guy that was even worse. That allowed me to see the insanity of it all and helped me put myself in check, fast.

To sum it up, and it’s no coincidence, my scores were never better almost immediately from the moment I learned how to let shit go and simply enjoy the game and all the struggles that come with it.

7. Take Control of Breathing & Heart Rate

When things go sideways on the course, most golfers tend to experience a disruption in normal breathing patterns.

This sends signals to your brain, which can push your body into fight or flight mode which will make it awfully tough to play good golf.

It sounds obvious, but golfers really need to work on steady breathing throughout their rounds. This will help them to maintain the even keel needed to flourish in the game.

Whether it is standing over short putts or a tight match on the 18th tee box, controlling the pace of your breathing will help you to perform at your highest level.

8. Take Mental Snapshots of Your Great Shots

Playing great golf is fun.  There aren’t many greater feelings in sports than striping the perfect shot in golf. Whether it’s a 30-foot putt with 8 feet of break, a smooth 5 wood from 220 to 4 feet, or even an ace, take a quick moment during your round to reflect on the shot and take a mental image for you to recall from the memory banks when you need it most.

But… like bad shots we need to quickly move on to the next shot in the same manner. Dwelling on the bad won’t help the next shot, and neither will basking in the glory of the good.  Enjoy it, remember it, then go do it again on the next shot!

That is the recipe for a winning attitude! 💪

9. Embrace the Challenges of Playing Golf

image of a golf ball in a sand trapChallenges are part of the game of golf and part of the game of life.  There is no straight-line path to ultimate success.

Golf has plenty of challenges, both physical and mental.  Golfers that can learn to lean into them as opposed to living or playing in fear of them will have a much better chance of getting the results they want.

10. Enjoy the Process

You hear the saying in strength training a lot… No pain no gain!

Now golf is a different type of challenge, but it’s vital that you learn to enjoy the struggle.  The first step in this is understanding to your core that the game of golf is very hard! Even the best athletes in the world struggle with putting the little white ball into the little hole hundreds of yards away…

When you learn to embrace the struggle and accept that there are ups and downs it will not only help you to post better scores, but you will have more fun on the golf course in the meantime.

11. Stop Worrying About Scores

image of a golf scorecardAre you earning a paycheck from the game of golf? If you are reading this post I am just going to assume the answer to that is no.

Sure, maybe you are playing for some cash with friends, but whatever your case is, worrying about your scores is probably the #1 way to ensure you don’t post any good ones.

The moral of the story in this entire post on the mental side of golf is that letting go, enjoying the moment, and appreciating the journey will do more for your game and scores than any new club can.

What good is it to have the latest and greatest gear if your brain is always tripping you up?

Stop projecting, stop fretting over the poor shots, simply stay in the now and focus on the most important shot in golf… the next one!

Staying Positive in Golf & The Mental Game: Final Thoughts

final thoughts written on blackboardHope all that helps!  The fact that you have made it this far into this post definitely proves you do have a solid degree of mental toughness!  😊

Golf is a lot like life.  There are so many lessons you can take from the course to everyday life, and mental toughness is just another in a long line.

Golfers that can deal with the challenges the game presents, and have the ability to plod along not allowing the bad to pull them further into the depths, will ultimately have the most success on the course. 

In life, the people that can do the same will find it easier to maneuver themselves to their desired positions in whatever it is they choose to focus on.  It could be work, relationships, hobbies, lifestyle, anything. Having the ability to always be moving forward is a huge thing for successful people.

Developing your mental toughness will benefit you in every part of life, including on the golf course.  Just remember, if it were easy everyone would do it.  When you learn to accept challenges like this and push yourself beyond your own borders and limitations you will experience true growth.

That’s a wrap!

Thanks for checking out this masterpiece on the mental game of golf! 😊. 

If you love playing golf and want to play at higher levels, then get to work on the mental side of it!  It’s never too late to start! 

Like, share, or comment below if you enjoyed this post, and bookmark Golf Sizzle for more great golf-related content!

To your golf success! 🏌️

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