Bad golf holes can happen to anyone, even PGA Tour pros. So how do you recover from a bad hole? Let’s get right into it!
Don’t let it affect the rest of your round
This is the most important reason because once you let the thoughts of the bad hole creep into your mind, it can affect the rest of your round. You can’t let a score on one hole overshadow what you did on the other 17 holes. There is always plenty of golf to play and if you have your blow up hole early on in the round, then you will most likely have forgotten about it by the time you make the turn.
From my experiences, my best rounds have come when I have a blow up hole because it sharpens my focus for the rest of the day. It is nearly impossible to play an entire round of golf without making one big mistake. Everybody is going to hit a bad shot and it’s something that you just need to accept. The faster you do that, the easier it will be for you in the future.
Forget about the hole by the time you reach the next tee box
This is one of Tiger Wood’s specialties after he has a bad hole or a bad swing on a hole. He is so mentally focused that he can remove all of his anger by the time he reaches the next shot or the next tee box. Try to clear your mind and think about the next task at hand. Once your putt drops for whatever score you get, write it down and immediately start thinking about the next tee shot in front of you. The walk can be short to some tee boxes, so it is important to start forgetting about the hole as soon as the putt drops.
It is okay to express your emotions on the course because it does help release anger, but be respectful of other players and the course.
Go over what went wrong on the hole
It is good to analyze yourself rather than criticize what went wrong on a certain hole. Think about what exactly you did and try to get yourself to an “ah-ha!” moment, where you can see what you did wrong. This way you can visualize in your head what went wrong and you can fix it. Thinking bad thoughts is contagious and will spread to the rest of your round and sometimes even your playing partners.
Whatever went wrong on the hole might not always be something that you caused. Perhaps, your ball landed in a divot in the fairway or someone yelled in your backswing. Only be concerned with things that you can control. Remember all of the good shots you have hit and try to emulate those as you move forward in your round.
If you happened to just make a bad swing, don’t over analyze your swing as that will affect you negatively for the rest of the round.
Focus on “bouncing back” on the next hole
The PGA Tour has a stat called “bounce back”, which tracks how players respond after making a bogey or worse. This is a great way to track how you are able to recover after a blow up hole and will also help you sharpen mentally. You need to transfer your thoughts immediately to, “Ok, I need to get a shot back on this next hole.” The best players on the planet are able to put their bad holes aside and go after the next task.
Make sure you go through your routine on each shot for the rest of the round. This will help you block out the bad thoughts because you will be thinking about what you are doing at that moment.
Take a break mentally from the round
Rounds of golf can be mentally taxing, especially when you have a bad hole or two. To help deal with this you can try to take your mind off of golf for just a minute or two. Think about the movie Tin Cup when Roy puts his change in one pocket, puts his hat on backwards and all of a sudden he starts hitting it pure. That’s because he isn’t thinking about hitting the ball.
To do this yourself, you can go into your golf bag and switch gloves or go scrub your clubs to get the dirt out of the grooves. Just do something to quickly take your mind off of the round.