How do you deal with the disappointment of a bad golf shot?
This is a question every golfer needs to ask themselves.
Both on the course and at the range, golf can be a frustrating sport. How a golfer deals with disappointment can have a huge impact on their golf game.
Teresa in the woods after a bad tee shot
Are you someone who swears and throws your clubs – or can you take a bad shot in stride?
I’ve heard from just about every golfer I’ve met that golf is a mental game.
It’s also a game of patience, stillness, and awareness.
Every golf shot, whether you’re at the range or on the course, begins with awareness – of your body, your set up, where you plan to hit the ball, and what your next strategy will be no matter where that ball ends up.
Christina, Teresa, and Liz at Beaver Meadow Golf Course in Concord, NH
The more stressed out and frustrated you get with yourself, the harder it becomes to pull off a good shot.
Because frustration makes your muscles tense up – which is exactly the opposite of what you want your body to do when you’re golfing.
A good golf shot requires a calm mind and a relaxed body.
Eric setting up his putt at The Oaks Golf Links in Somersworth, NH
So, how do you remain calm and relaxed when you’re hitting like crap?
There’s no one size fits all to this question. However, here are a few key points that may help.
Let the bad day happen…
It’s going to whether you like it or not, so why not embrace the suckatude? Make the mental decision to allow yourself to play through everything that’s going wrong. Use this time to learn how to develop a more refined course management strategy. Course management, after all, isn’t just about knowing what hazards are between your ball and the green. It’s also about being aware enough of yourself to stay calm and make smart decisions – no matter what’s going on with your swing.
Change your mental focus…
It’s easy to chase tail and dwell on what’s going wrong with your game. Why not focus on what’s going right? Learn your strengths and use them to improve your overall game. Attitude is everything. The more positive you are, the better your round and/or practice session will feel. Learn to focus on the positives so that no matter what, you’re always enjoying the time you’re investing in your game.
Matt teeing off at Crotched Mountain Golf Course in Francistown, NH
Learn how to be quiet…
Golf is a game played mostly in silence, yet, silence makes most people uncomfortable. When no one else is talking, our own thoughts end up getting very loud. Honestly, how often do the thoughts in your head take over just before you hit the ball… causing you to slice, shank, or duff what you hoped would be a good shot? It’s important to learn how to quiet your mind and relax your body. There are many ways to do this, and it’s different for each person. Take some time to figure out what helps you shake things off and get out of your head so you’re hitting with confidence and ease.
Develop a routine…
The best way to get out of your head and relax into your shot is to develop a routine. How you approach the ball determines how you hit it. If you’re spending all your time trying to ‘fix’ the last shot, you’re not spending any time deciding how to hit the next one. Golf is a game of muscle memory and forward thinking. Creating a routine in your set up keeps you focused on good habits and correct form – and prevents you from sliding down into the ‘fix it’ zone.
Whatever’s going on with your game, learning how to stay calm and relaxed while you deal with the disappointment of a bad shot makes all the difference. Take some time to develop a routine that allows you to get out of your head, focus on the positives, play off your strengths, and enjoy the time you spend on the course. And never let a bad shot ruin your game again.
Teresa practicing at Beaver Meadow Golf Course in Concord, NH