How To Keep Negative Emotions Out of Your Golf Game

By: Leslie Hughes - Oct 29, 2020

If you’re reading this article, chances are good you love golf.

Chances are also good that golf has frustrated you beyond belief at some point as well. All it takes is a couple of bad shots to feel as if your entire game has gone out the window.

However, by figuring out how to manage your emotions, you can keep those bad shots to a minimum and not let them ruin your entire game.

It does take practice and most definitely some patience, but read on to find out how you can keep emotions out of your golf game, and ensure you have fun without frustration getting in the way.

You may be challenged to apply these tips at first but, like your golf game, don’t give up -- in time you will become better at keeping the emotions at home.

1. Don’t bring outside anger in

If you’re having a bad day at work, a bad day with your spouse or anything else that’s got you feeling angry, the golf course is not a good place to take that anger out. Rather, look at the golf course as a way to work through it by forcing yourself to relax.

Imagining the person you’re mad at being the ball as you whack it down the fairway is not a good way to approach your golf game. You may get a couple good shots in, but you’ll likely find yourself shanking the ball, hitting your putts too hard, and ending up with a lot more strokes per hole. Plus, you won’t be a very fun person to play with, and who likes that?

2. Don’t let the bad shots last long

If you have a bad drive, shake it off. Don’t let that one bad shot trickle through the rest of your game, or even that hole. Allow yourself a moment of disappointment for the bad shot, then get your head in the right place to focus on your next shot, and focus on making it a great one.

3. Accept a bad hole

One bad shot may make it hard to recover the hole, and guess what? That’s okay! You can’t win them all, so rather than push yourself to still make par when you hit it out of bounds on your drive, accept that you may take a higher score on this hole but you’ll make it up a little bit here and there throughout the rest of your game.

4. Fake it till you make it

Rather than letting yourself get upset by your shot, pretend that your ball went where you wanted it to go. By not allowing yourself to feel anger from your shot and pretending that everything is fine, eventually you will lose the need to actually get angry from bad shots. It will take some practice, but it is certainly worth it to make sure that your golf game doesn’t get ruined every time you have a bad shot.

5. Approach your shot positively

Sometimes the bad shots happen before you’ve even hit the ball. You approach the shot thinking about what you should not do rather than what you should do. If there is a big pond in front of the tee box, don’t focus your attention on how you can’t hit it in. Rather focus your attention on the spot down the fairway that you’re going to drive your ball to. This positivity will help you better visualize your shot, and improve your chances of getting your ball where you want it.

In addition, a negative approach to your shot will cause your body to tense up which can result in all sorts of things going wrong with your shot. As you likely know, keeping your body loose is key to a good swing (and thus a good shot), so negative thoughts that lead to a tense swing is likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

6. Have fun

Taking yourself too seriously in golf is never a good idea. Unless you’re a pro, the point of this game is to have a good time, right? So don’t let your mind go too deep into frustration with the bad shots because at the end of the day, they don’t matter. The more you’re able to have fun and shake off the bad shots, the more you’ll enjoy the game and the more you’ll want to get out there and play. And since we know practice makes (almost) perfect, your game will improve if you are having fun. That’s the win-win situation we are all about.

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