By Paul Myers

Many golfers, when they decide they want to make an effort to get better, start by looking at their swing, or their chipping motion, or their putting stroke. Their efforts are sometimes all technical or mechanical in nature, and they figure that if they hit better shots, their scores will go down. Of course, hitting better shots will always help in lowering your score. However, that is only part of the battle. Many amateur golfers can improve just as much by working on their mental game as they can by working on their physical game.

This article offers up five mental golf tips, all relating to the mental side of the game. Work on applying these tips to your own game and you just might be surprised at how powerful the results can be.

Mental Game Tip #1 – Set Specific Goals

A golfer without goals is one that could be destined to remain exactly where he or she is. In order to get better at this game, it can help to have a plan and a direction you are trying to get to. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to decide you want to ‘break 80’ by the end of the year, or any other scoring goal you might have. It can be more specific than that. Instead, you could aim for improving your fairways hit average by 10%, or reducing your average number of putts by two per round. These kind of incremental goals can put you on a path toward continually improving, and the scores should come along with it.

Mental Game Tip #2 – It’s Okay to Miss

This one is specifically geared toward putting, but relates to the whole game as well. When on the green, it is okay to miss a few putts during the round – even short ones. Every golfer misses, from a total beginner to the top players in the world. It can help to take some of the pressure to be perfect off of your shoulders, and simply try your best. It is the nature of the game that some putts are going to miss, so accept that and just make a good stroke each time.

Mental Game Tip #3 – You vs. the Course

Every time you play a round of golf, it is you vs. the course. You aren’t necessarily playing against the other people in a tournament, or even the other people in your group. The course is the thing that gets to play defense against your shots, so focus on defeating it each hole. If you do a good enough job playing against the course, you will very likely succeed when it comes to comparing scores against other golfers.

Mental Game Tip #4 – Don’t Accept the Status Quo

If you want to improve, you should never be satisfied with your game the way it is. There is, and will always be, room for improvement. That doesn’t mean that you need to be throwing clubs and cursing at yourself hole after hole, but you should always have an eye on how you can get better. Even small steps toward improving your game can make a big difference in what you can accomplish on the course. Pay attention to your weaknesses and actively work to improve them.

Mental Game Tip #5 – Use the Switch

‘The switch’ is something that many professional golfers have, and a lot of amateurs don’t. When you are playing a round of golf, you likely chat with your playing partners as you walk or ride up the fairway – nothing wrong with that. However, it can help to be able to flip a ‘switch’ and focus in when it is time to hit your shot. Too many amateurs remain distracted by conversation or other things and never get their mind focused on the task at hand. You should continue to have fun while you play, but when it comes time to hit a shot, it’s time to focus.

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