How to Stay Calm Over the Golf Ball

Learn To Keep Distractions at Bay

How does your thinking play out in your score on the golf course?

Is your thinking holding you back from playing great golf or enjoying the game?

Shutting off your brain is not an option on the golf course. You can not just turn a switch off and shut down your thinking.

Your thoughts can help or hinder your golf game. Both the content (What you are thinking) and context (What are the circumstances you are facing) of your thoughts have a big impact on your game.

A golfer who responded to our Golf Mental Game Survey requested help with her excessive thinking during tournaments:

“I can’t seem to shut down my thinking when I play golf. I’m so trapped in my own head that my game suffers and I’m losing interest in playing.”

It’s easy to over think during a round of golf because you have so much downtime to ponder, such as:

  • “Don’t miss this putt.”
  • “There is a lot riding on this shot.”
  • “I need to birdie this hole.”
  • “I have to make up three strokes on the back nine.”
  • “Remember to keep head down, loosen grip, relax shoulders…”
  • “The greens are too slick for me today.”
  • “Take it back slow, smooth, and follow through.”

You cannot stop thinking, so you want to learn how to deal with distractions and quiet the mind. Just as distractions are harmful, over thinking your technique is a bigger problem.

You may not be able to stop negative or distracting thoughts from popping up, but you don’t have to focus or dwell on thoughts that are counter-productive to your game.

PGA golfer Matthew Wolff dealt with thought distractions in an interesting manner at the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic. Wolff focused on a unique outside noise to quiet his internal voice.

After three rounds, Wolff was 19-under 197 and vying for winning the tournament.

The unique noise that helped him not focus on negative thoughts or overthinking was the music from an ice cream truck outside the Detroit Golf Club.

WOLFF: “I have to give credit to the ice cream truck that was circling the property. I’m not joking, actually. I heard the ice cream truck and I’m like, ‘I have a good feeling about this.’ Just had that little like ice cream truck song in my head. I think that helped me just not think about the speed or the line or anything, just keep my head free.”

You can’t shut off your thinking, but you can choose to focus on something that will clear your mind, enabling you to be on top of your game.

Coping with Distractions and Over Thinking

Music is a great tool to keep your focus off negative thoughts. Choose a song you can hum in your head that can calm your mind and divert your focus from distracting thoughts.

When you notice that you are over thinking your golf shot, stop and restart your routine.

You should only have one trigger or image over the ball for any shot, such as thinking about the shape of the shot you want to hit.

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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?

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