What goes through your mind when you start off a round poorly?
For example, you double-bogey the first two holes, then bogey the third.
You quickly find yourself 4-strokes from the leader before the fifth hole. You will most likely feel frustrated, especially if you missed an easy putt or misjudged a shot.
Let’s further the scenario. The golfers atop the leaderboard are playing lights out, you can’t seem to find your swing, and you are down 6-strokes after the front nine.
In this case, what are you thinking? More specifically, what thoughts are you focusing on?
Thoughts such as, “This round is a lost cause. Why even try? There is no way I will catch up” are detrimental to performance.
This thinking eliminates any chance of finishing the round strong or narrowing the gap between you and the golfers ahead of you on the leaderboard.
The string of negative thoughts affects you in four ways:
- Mentally – Negative thoughts become a distraction and lower your confidence.
- Physiologically – Pessimistic thoughts create muscle tension and performance-diminishing body posture.
- Emotionally – Negative thinking creates unproductive emotions such as frustration and resignation.
- Technically – Unproductive thoughts slightly alter your swing, further throwing off your rhythm.
These four factors detract from your play and compound the problem.
When you find yourself down early in a round, positive thinking may feel fake and unrealistic, but another alternative exists.
The other option is the “Go-For-Broke” mentality.
The “Go-For-Broke” mentality revolves around taking risks and putting it all on the line. Instead of accepting failure, it’s the mindset of going for it, “After all, what do I have to lose?”
When golfers go for broke, they stop playing conservatively and focus on bold, positive action.
- Mentally – Going for it is empowering and allows you to focus on what you want to happen.
- Physiologically – When you go for broke, you maintain a positive and powerful body posture, enhancing confidence.
- Emotionally – Laying it all on the line fosters positive emotions such as determination, motivation, and resolve.
- Technically – The Go-For-Broke mentality minimizes muscle tension, allowing you to swing the club freely.
At the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Championship, Thomas Walsh was fighting for his Tour card and quickly trailed on the tournament’s third day. After the first five holes during Round 3, Walsh was 5-over.
Walsh was frustrated and thought of giving up early in the round.
WALSH: “I’m like, ‘This season’s over. I’m done. Screw this, I’m going home.'”
However, Walsh flipped his mindset, and his play improved as a result.
WALSH: “I felt like I was just getting punched in the face constantly, but I like to fight pretty hard. So you’d better knock me out if you’re going to punch me, because I’m going to fight back.”
Walsh finished strong and played his next 13 holes in 6 under, including five birdies in his last six holes.
The “Go-For-Broke” mentality has a liberating effect and encourages you to play more aggressively.
When you play without restraint, you are more apt to play your best golf, given the circumstances.
When you find yourself behind the leaders or feel the odds are against you, simply tell yourself, “I have nothing to lose.”
Playing without fear allows you to put complete focus and effort into performing.
Do you suffer from fragile self-confidence after missed hitting shots or making mistakes, playing with strict or high expectations that undermine confidence, or the inability to play freely and relaxed on the course?
If you lack focus, have low self-confidence or other mental game obstacles on the course, you cant reach your true golf potential…
Successful golfers have learned how to perform with ultimate confidence in competition, so we’ve developed The Golfer’s Mental Edge 2.0 Workbook and Audio program to help you do this!
The Golfer’s Mental Edge 2.0 program includes the top 11 mental training sessions I do with my personal students to help them boost their mental game and improve consistency on the course.
The Golfer’s Mental Edge 2.0 audio program includes 11 confidence-boosting CDs, MP3 audio recordings, and an 8-session golfer’s mental edge workbook–plus several bonus programs. Available Now!
- Playing Golf One Shot at a Time
- Your Expectation Affects Your Golf Game
- How Short-term Goals Helps You Focus
- Subscribe to The Golf Psychology Podcast on iTunes
- Subscribe to The Golf Psychology Podcast on Spotify