Mental Game Strategies to Lower Scores

Golfer asian man shake hand for friendship after finish put ball on green.

One of the many wonderful things about golf is that it’s about so much more than just raw strength. In fact, golf, more so than maybe any other sport, is a game where your mental abilities are just as important as your physical abilities—where having the right mindset and intelligence can make all the difference between an average day on the hole and an excellent one.

Every level of golf player should be cultivating and strengthening their mental game just as much as they work on their swing. With enough practice, you’ll find you can lower your score with no extra physical effort!

Here are some strategies to get you started.

Have a Pre-Shot Routine

Ever wondered why athletes have lucky charms like cloths or equipment they always use? It’s not magic, but rather simple psychology. First, the mind craves familiarity. It’s how we feel safe, and it helps us to relax and not make rushed decisions. Second, a familiar item—or, even better, a consistent and unchanging pre-shot routine—serves as a memory trigger. Because you’ve already done it so many times before, your mind and body already know what to do next.

Stay Present

It’s all too easy to let your mind wander to previously missed shots, training problems, and even worries from the rest of your life, but these will quickly distract you from your game, so try to keep them out of your mind and stay in the present moment!

While you don’t have to go as far as meditating on the green, using mindfulness techniques like focusing on the sights and sounds around you can keep you grounded.

Visualize and Feel the Driving Range

There will be times that, no matter what you do, you can’t quite stop external thoughts from coming in and disrupting your game. If that happens to you, the best thing to do is redirect your thoughts entirely to the driving range. Pretend you’re there, visualize the layout, and take your shot just like you would at the range. You’ll find that this can dramatically lower any pressure you might feel on the course.

Don’t Work on Your Technique While You’re Playing

If you make a mistake in your regular swing, by all means, correct it for the next shot. However, the course is not the place to change your technique entirely! To begin with, getting to grips with something unfamiliar in the middle of a game will almost certainly cause problems.

The other problem is that, on a course where you often don’t have access to launch monitors and shot analysis, you simply won’t know what’s working and what isn’t—which can lead to some incorrect assumptions and very bad habits. It’s better to leave technique work to the range or a golf simulator setup at home.

Don’t Play Defensively

Let’s say you’ve just had an amazing front nine. What will you do next? In this situation, trying to protect your score by playing defensively is just about the worst thing you can do. It will lead to overanalyzing shots, choking up the club, and frustration if things don’t continue to go your way.

It’s better to stay with the same strategy and mentality you took to your first few holes, even if it’s aggressive. Don’t second guess yourself if one stroke goes wrong!

Enjoy the Game

young black golfer with golf club, smiling

Sometimes golf is just like life: It’s always better when you’re enjoying yourself! Loving the game improves so many aspects of it, from helping you relax to encouraging self-learning, and you’ll quickly find that this directly translates into a better scorecard at the end of the day.

Make sure you’re playing with company you enjoy, and don’t hesitate to mix it up with different courses and exciting new scenery. By all means, play to win if you love the thrill of competition. At the same time, if you’re more into the peaceful and social aspects of the game, focus on those and don’t worry about beating someone else. Golf should be about whatever makes you happy!

Featuring an incredible variety of drills, games, courses, and precision feedback, our selection of launch monitors and golf simulators are versatile tools for every golf lover. No matter how you play, we’ll help you get more out of your game! Find a golf simulator for sale in our store or contact us today at (858) 880-0179 to find out more!