4 Tips to Master the Golf Mental Game

Golf Mental Game

It is the last hole of the club championship and you are 1 up on your competitor. You’re thinking, I’ve got this, its in the bag, start putting my name on the trophy. And then…there is that one thought that creeps into your mind not to push your tee shot into the drink. Without realizing it, your muscles tense up, your tempo is out of sync, and you never had a chance of hitting a good shot. Kiss your trophy good bye!

Golf Mental Game

Golf can be broken into two parts; the physical/mechanical part and the mental side. Believe it or not, the mental side of golf probably plays a bigger part is shooting lower golf scores. Hours can be spent beating balls on the driving range but until the mental side of golf is practiced, lower golf scores are but a dream.

The golf mental game affects every golfer. It does not matter if you play just for fun or you are competing in weekly tournaments. There is that internal talk constantly going on inside of your head that affects how you play each shot and its outcome.

Golf Mental Tips

Tip #1 – A Sound Pre-shot Routine

The purpose of a pre-shot routine is to get you in a state of mind of focus and determination. Don’t over complicate your pre shot routine. It should be short enough to not slow up play but should put yourself in a confident state of mind. Decide what your pre shot routine will be and practice it on the driving range. A good practice routine will include the following:

  • Selecting a Target
  • A visual picture of how your ball is going to take off
  • One swing thought
  • Smooth Practice Swings

Practice swings should serve a purpose. They should not be used to rehearse swing mechanics. It is my opinion that the pace of play would improve if everyone cut out practice swings on full shots. Golfers would actually shoot lower scores if they eliminated practice swings.

Tip #2 – Stay in the Present

Losing focus in golf is easy to do, especially after a bad hole. The reaction after a bad hole is to start thinking how to make up the lost strokes. The correct thought process should be on how to play the next shot. The best way to stay in the present to set small short term goals every time you play.

Instead of focusing on what score you want to shoot, focus on how many fairways and greens you want to hit. Set some goals on number of putts or the number of times to get it up and down for par.

This not only keeps your mind focused on the shot at hand but will identify weeknesses.

Tip #3 – Accept Bad Shots and Move On

Realize that this game is not fair! Bad breaks are going to happen. There will always be the bad bounce, the lipped out putt, the bad lie, and so on. This game is a game of probability. There are risks and rewards in this game and sometimes the odds are not in your favor. What you can control is your attitude.

Your attitude can tilt the odds in your favor and increase the probability of hitting great shots more frequently. No one hits every single golf shot perfectly. Even great players hit bad shots.

Great players do not let their bad shots determine the outcome of how they are going to hit their next shot. They move on focusing on what needs to get done.

Tip #4 – Study the Greats

Focus on studying players and professionals with a strong mental game. Some of the best mental game books that makes our list are the following:

 

Bobby Jones said, “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half inch course…the space between your ears.”

At times this game can torment one’s soul. Be grateful for the chance to be outside and enjoy your surroundings. Use these golf mental tips to keep your sanity in check and  develop your mental side of golf.

Regardless of anything, it is a privilege to spend a few hours of life playing this great game. If you can truly achieve a feeling of gratitude, that my friend, is deepest fulfillment of a golfer’s soul.

 

 

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How To Find Your Perfect Golf Club Grip

Golf Club Grip

So you want to hit if flush every time? Then lets focus on one of the basic fundamentals, the golf club grip. Your golf club grip can make or break your game. It is the only contact you have with the golf club. The flight of the ball is directly related to how the golf club is taken back and through the golf ball. Lets look at some of the different golf club grips.

1. The Baseball Golf Grip

The Baseball or Ten Finger technique is the most natural one to use when taking up golfing. It doesn’t involve interlocked fingers and is a simple hand over hand method. If you are right handed, this hand will normally be placed at the bottom. The little finger of the right hand is placed close against the index finger of the left hand. Reverse the process if you are left handed. Over the years a number of PGA Tour members such as Billy Casper have used this style with great success. Players with small hands would do better in using this grip.

2. The Vardon Golf Club Grip

The Vardon grip also called the Overlapping golf grip, carries the name of the great Harry Vardon. The six time winner of the British Open Championships used it to win his championships. The pinky finger lays snugly over and between the index finger and middle finger of the top or left hand, also referred to as the lead hand. The thumb of the top hand finds a place along the lifeline of the bottom or trailing hand. This grip is ideal for players with large hands.

3. The Interlocking Golf Grip

This is similar to the Vardon, but here the little finger of the trailing hand interlocks with the index finger of the top hand. The thumbs form a ‘V’ shape which should point in the direction of your right shoulder. Interlocking is usually suitable if the golfer has medium-sized hands or weak forearms and wrists. Make sure that you can see the first two knuckles of the left hand.

There you have the three basic techniques. You have to experiment on the driving range until you find the golf club grip that works best for you.

There is a lot of debate out there which grip works best. The focus should be on what works best for you. Generally speaking, your control will be better if you use one of the interlocking styles. The Baseball is less effective in this regard and will in a sense disturb the balance. One hand will always be more powerful in this case – a scenario that is likely to be detrimental to your game.

You might have heard that your grip pressure should be like holding a bird, not too tight to choke the bird but not too loose that the bird flys away. I hate this example! I have never held a bird nor have I met anyone who can relate to this example. The guy who came up with this example must have been really good at catching birds.

Instead, I like to compare grip pressure to driving a car. Normal people do not put a death grip on the steering wheel while driving. The same feeling should be so with grip pressure.

These small golf grip details can spell the difference between a nightmarish experience on the course, or a confidence-building success-story.

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4 Putting Practice Drills at Home

Golf_Practice_Drills

Keep your golf game from going cold during the winter months by practicing these four putting practice drills at home.

Swing the Putter Handle

Good putters are going to be able to keep the butt end of the putter pointing at their belly through out the entire stroke. A good drill to practice at home is to swing the putter while looking at the butt end of the putter handle. This will keep the putter handle in the correct position through out the stroke.

Towel Drill

Who cares if the putting greens are buried in 4 feet of snow. You can still practice your lag putting with the towel drill. The probability of sinking 40 – 50 foot putts is really low. The goal of 40 – 50 foot putts is to get the ball close enough for a tap in putt.

Take a towel and bunch it up. You want the golf ball to hit the towel with a nice controlled speed. If you really want to work on distance control, then lay the towel completly flat. Try to get the ball to stop perfectly on the towel.

Putter Face Alignment Drill

The best putters set their putter face square to their target and the golf ball. Draw a cross on the golf ball as shown in the image above. This practice drill trains your eyes to square the putter face with your intended target. It will also helps set your body square to the putter face.

Eyes on Target Drill

Do you ever feel that your tempo is off and you just can’t get a feel for the greens? Try looking at your target while putting. Many pro golfers, Jordan Speith being one of them, have adopted this approach while on the course. Take three balls and putt towards a target while looking at it. Then take three more putts while looking at the ball. Record your results and repeat. You know you have started to gain a better feel for the greens when all six balls are showing consitency in speed and distnace control.

Keep in mind that while using these four putting practice drills at home, you are focusing on the most important part of the game. Some of the best rounds I can remember was when my putter got hot and I could not miss. The memories I have of great rounds are always the 30 foot par save or the 4 consecutive biridies. Don’t underestimate how the flat stick can save your round!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Golf Lessons For Beginners: Finding a Great Golf Instructor

Golf_Lessons_For_Beginners

So you just purchased a set of clubs, golf shoes, balls, and all the other golf nic naks. You are probably wondering where do I begin? Should I just head to the first tee and let it rip? Let me give you some investment advice. Before you try to smash that 300 yard drive, invest some time and money in a few lessons. Golf lessons for beginners can help establish correct fundamentals, and can help you through the tough times. I am going to be honest, this game is hard! There are going to be times when you wonder why you spent $700 on a set of sticks. Having an instructor/mentor will get you through those times of frustration. Here are six traits to look for when choosing a golf instructor.

 #1 -Credibility

Is your golf pro accredited by the PGA or LPGA? A class A pro will have the experience and knowledge to teach you correct golf techniques. Golf professionals who have received their Class A status from the PGA of America have been through rigorous training and are competent to teach the game of golf.

Who does your golf pro teach? A well respected golf pro is going to have a list of well known golfers that he or she has taught. This does not have to be at the professional level, but can be at the junior and amateur level.

#2 – No Gimmicks – True Fundamentals

Since learning how to play golf, I have seen a lot of different swing fads come and go. While some of these gimmicks might work for some players, they do not replace fundamentals. A golf instructor who tries new swing methodologies on his students will not give great golf lessons for beginners. Focus on finding someone who does not break away from true fundamentals.

#3 – Beware of Price

I have taken a lot of golf lessons from a lot of great instructors. The price I paid for each of those lessons varied from $35 to $200. There were times when the $35 lesson was more productive than the $200 lesson. There were times though that I really benefited from the $200 lesson. The point is, do not judge a golf pro on how much he or she is charging. Price is not a determining factor of a bad or good golf instructor.

 #4 – Goal Oriented

I believe strongly in setting goals and defining a plan. Your golf pro should have the same feelings. There should be always an objective with each lesson. A golf pro should take time to listen to your needs at the beginning of each lesson.

I took lessons from a pro who took 10 – 15 minutes at the beginning of each lesson to listen to me. He would ask follow up questions  and come up with a lesson plan for that day. If you feel your pro keeps on teaching you the same thing without real progress, then it might be time for a new pro.

#5 – Learning Style

Everyone learns in different ways. An instructor should realize this and adapt his or her teaching style to your needs. A visual learner might do better with a pro who uses video equipment to record your swing. Someone who learns by feel would want to go with a pro who uses golf drills. Its important that you communicate your learning style to your instructor.

#6 – Invested In Helping You Improve!

This is the biggest trait a golf professional should possess. A golf pro who wants to see you improve will go out of his way between lessons and ask how things are going. He or she will help you keep a positive outlook on the game. Great instructors understand that their job is to identify your weakness and turn them into strengths.

Golf lessons for beginners is a wise investment. Golf is a lifelong journey with ups and downs. Find someone to show you the way!

 

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