How to Play Good Golf Against Top Players

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Performing Your Best Against Strong Competition

How do you perform when you are playing strong competition? Do you feel nervous and fearful when playing against very good golfers or are you able to maintain your confidence and play your best golf?

In our Golf Mental Game Survey, a golfer sent us the following question:

“How can I stop feeling intimidated or self-conscious around top golfers?”

Playing against high-level competition can be intimidating for some golfers.

When you fall into the trap of focusing on other golfers and their level of play, you feel anxious and unable to focus on your game.

You make comparisons to other golfers. You look at the leaderboard more often. You extrapolate your final score with every stroke you play.

When a golfer in your group makes birdie, you feel you need to birdie as well. You are always trying to hit the perfect shot. When you bogey a hole, you lose confidence, feel added pressure, and a sense of panic grows inside you.

Focusing on your game becomes increasingly difficult. You constantly compare yourself to the other golfers and feel you are not as talented, doubting you will ever be able to play at their level.

You can keep focused and confident by focusing on the following five strategies:

1. Be prepared – Preparation includes paying attention to your physical game and mental game. When you do all you can to prepare for a round of golf, you will be more confident in your ability to compete.

2. Give yourself credit – You’re playing golf against a group of golfers because you have the talent. If you weren’t deserving of such an opportunity, you wouldn’t be playing against golfers of that level.

3. Focus on your game – Focusing on the scores of other golfers will not improve your score at all. In fact, focusing on the scores of your competitors will interfere with your ability to play your best golf.

4. Let go of results – Stay grounded in what’s going on in the moment. Focus on planning and playing the best shot in front of you. Narrowing your focus will prevent the wave of distractions that can knock you off your game.

5. Understand the game remains the same – No matter the level of competition, you still play with the same sized ball with the goal of hitting the ball in a hole a distance away. It’s the same game you have always played.

Sixteen-year-old Reed Lotter received a sponsor’s exemption into the field of the Club Car Championship in the Korn Ferry Tour.

Lotter is one of just 13 people under 17 years old to ever play in a Korn Ferry Tour event. The tournament will include several PGA golfers. Lotter’s mindset is to treat this competition as any other tournament.

LOTTER: “The way I look at it, I still have to hit a round ball and get it into the hole. It’s an unbelievable experience, but I’ve been given this experience, and I still have to come out and play like it’s another golf tournament.”

By putting each round of golf into perspective, you stay calm and improve your ability to play confident golf.

When Playing Against Top Golfers:

Stop focusing on what the competition has. Instead, focus on your talents, strengths, and why you deserve to be playing well.

Think: “I’ve paid my dues too–so I have just as much right to be here right now.”

Get caught up in your game and course management–instead of what golfers are shooting in the group.

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Golfer’s Mental Edge 2.0

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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?

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!

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