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Why Golf Is A Mental Game

It is readily apparent that your physical health is important to play well and improve in golf. I’m sure you have heard about how golf is a mental game on numerous occasions. However, what about the mental aspect of the game? What role does it play in how well you end up playing?

Golf is a mental game because golfers need to have strong mental skills and physical skills. Players need to have a mental framework that enables them to handle any outcome from their games. There are also consequences to the thoughts that golf players have.

However, regardless of what you are thinking, whether it is positive, negative, or nothing, the thoughts you have often are not the ones that cause the issues. The tension starts when you resist how you think or feel at a particular moment. A player’s physical and mental sides are inevitably intertwined.

A golfer thinking about his putt. Why Golf is a Mental Game

How Is Golf A Mental Game?

The mental aspect of golf is really important because players spend a lot of time thinking. In comparison with basketball or football, players spend most of their time playing. Golf players need to be aware of their train of thought as it is very easy to get distracted by the game’s nuances and get pressured into making certain shots.

It’s no secret that golf is a hard game.

As A Golf Player, You Need Mental Skills

Golf is probably 95% a mental game. Anyone can work on their physical skill and be top-notch at it, but not everyone can handle the mental skill needed to make someone that is good, great, or someone great the best. Looking at Tiger Woods, you can tell that he can will himself to make some of the most outstanding shots.

There Are Consequences To Thoughts Golf Players Have

What gets in the way of many players’ performance is when the outcome of a shot has some implication on who you think you are as a person or the value of how much practice you have put in. Golf is a mental game because players always have consequences to thoughts.

If you feel good about a game and are happy, there will most likely be a corresponding physiological consequence. That connection is vital because you can build yourself up or tear yourself down.

Interestingly, there is nothing nerve-wracking about hitting a shot. However, there is something nerve-wracking about hitting a shot when you are thinking about its consequences. The fact that millions of people are watching makes it become more than just about a golf shot.

Golf Requires You To Have A Mental Framework

The most important thing about golf is to have a mental framework where you understand that there are going to be failures. This is where I struggle, as I always want to win due to my highly competitive nature. I’m not saying it’s any different for the pros, but it’s definitely something I’m trying to work on.

If you can manage your failures, you can understand how to succeed and what it takes. 

Many players get their identity wrapped up in whether they hit a shot in a good way and it goes as they wanted, or they have a bad shot, and the outcome is different. Often, players involve their identity. For example, you believe you’re a good person, but once you miss your shot, your thinking suddenly turns to how bad of a person you are.

It becomes too much pressure that you put on yourself when in reality, it is just a shot. If your belief in your talent level is wrapped up in how you play your game, you are unlikely to succeed, reach your full potential, and have a long career in golf.

Golf Course

Golf Players Need To Be Able To Handle The Outcome

Professional players can handle the outcome. Superstars are more concerned about going through the process, having a clear picture, and duplicating a motion they have practiced and perfected.

They realize they need to factor in worst-case scenarios like hitting a ball out of bounds. The difference is that it doesn’t turn into a big deal because guess what? They can hit another one. Sure, these players get upset and disappointed, but the key is that they learn from those bad shots and challenge themselves to get better instead of tearing themselves down.

Because golf is a mental game, pros realize that their thinking needs to be that bad shots do not deflate the time they spend practicing.

Almost everyone has a fragile ego, but the key to being good is to accept the worst possible scenario, be okay with it, and use it as a learning curve. That is how players become mentally strong instead of succumbing to the mental pressure.

Most players get affected by what someone says golf should be, but mentally strong players either know neurologically what is going on in the game, have undergone learning processes, or are physiologically aware. Therefore, they do not have any preconceived notions.

Do you want to know how to become a pro golfer? Check out this article, 7 Ways To Become a Pro Golfer.

How Can You Improve Your Mental Ability?

One way players can maximize the mind-body relationship and conquer the mental side of golf is through establishing a series of routines. Keep the game consistent and try to make every shot you take the same. You can overcome a lot of physical flaws if your mental game is sound.

Instead of playing carefully and timidly, relax. You will be able to control the quality of your ball playing by doing this. You will gain the control that gives you free rein to play well by letting go. Reckless abandon isn’t always a bad thing.

Most golf players’ problems come from dwelling on past bad shots, replaying them, and going on a negative self-talk journey.

To help curb those pesky thoughts, acknowledge that you have a negative thought. Do not try to ignore them because you will make them worse. With time there will be a significant improvement in the negative self-talk.

You can also take up some golf lessons as a good golf instructor will help you on the mental side of the sport. If you’re wondering whether lessons are worth it, check out this article, 7 Reasons Why Golf Lessons Are Worth It.

Final Thoughts

Having a proper mental attitude is crucial to having success in the game of golf. Players know how important it is to have confidence in their game. Mentally is where champions are made.

The world is full of talented players who haven’t gone anywhere with it because they were not mentally tough. Combining your physical and mental abilities will take you far.

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