Mental Strategies to Take Practice to the First Tee

Golf Anxiety

Overcome Anxiety on the Golf Course

Do you perform better in practice than when you play a round on the course? You are not alone…

Many golfers we work with have difficulty competing as well as they perform in practice.

Several golfers from our Golf Mental Game Survey have reached out requesting help with playing competitive rounds as well as they play practice rounds:

  • “How can I be mentally focused to take my practice form to the first tee?”
  • “How can I play with freedom during competition like I do during practice rounds when I have no fear?”
  • “Why can’t I bring my range game to the course and stop the self-doubt/anxiety that is hurting my game?”

You know how frustrating it is to work hard in practice, but consistently fall short in competitive rounds.

You know you have the ability, but when you approach the first tee, something changes. You get anxious. You are hoping for the best, but you expect the worst.

After all, you mess up in competitive rounds, right? You desperately want to be confident, but the doubts are looming in the back of your mind, waiting for that one mistake so those doubts can take over your game. 

Your focus is on not “screwing up” this round. Instead of freely swinging the club and trusting your game, you play cautiously.

What you fear often shows up in your game. When you fear missing a 4-foot putt, you get tight and lose focus and, as a result, you miss the putt.

It’s your mind that interferes with your body’s ability to perform. When you have the expectation of messing up or shooting a bad round, your physiology changes, throwing off your technique slightly. That slight technique interference adds many strokes to your final score.

How can you get your body and mind be aligned to score as well as you do in practice?

The answer is to deal with fear and anxiety. Anxiety interferes with your body’s ability to perform. Since you are the creator of your anxiety, you also have the power to lower your anxiety levels.

When you can manage your anxiety, you’re able to keep your body relaxed and replicate the mechanics of your swing that produce the consistent results.

The ability to stay relaxed and limit pressure by minimizing expectations were two key elements that helped Robert Streb win the 2020 RSM Classic for the second time in his career.

Streb made two birdies on the front nine and extended his streak to 55 holes without a bogey, then birdied the second playoff hole to defeat Kevin Kisner to win the tournament.

STREB: “For whatever reason I felt I was reading the greens well and was making a lot of putts. Sometimes that just happens, I guess, and I capitalized on it.”

Streb stayed relaxed throughout the tournament and “just read the greens” and “swing the club freely” like he normally does in practice rounds.

How to Manage Anxiety from the First Tee Shot:

What is so awful about playing poorly that you get anxious. The first step is to understand your underlying fear. Fear of failure leads to anxiety. You can use breathing and relaxation, but that’s just a band-aid to the real issue.

Is your fear about not playing to your potential? Or are you trying to meet the expectations others have for you? Maybe you don’t want to disappoint others, such as a coach or parent?

Understand your fear and unlock your game!

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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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