How to improve your mental golf approach between shots with golf psychology


If I were to ask you what you do between shots during a round of golf, you’d probably think I was missing the point. After all, golf psychology and teaching should be all about helping you to hit better shots and putts during a round of golf or in practice, shouldn’t it? This applies whether you’re working with a teaching pro helping you with your golf swing or with a golf psychologist, like me, helping to improve your mental approach to golf.

So what do you actually do in the time between assessing and hitting your shots and putts? It really should take a lot less than a minute on average to size up a shot, decide on how to play it, set up to the ball and hit it. I seem to recall from somewhere that the US PGA allows 45 seconds for all this per shot and very few people take that long over a short putt. So all that should add up to a maximum of 54 minutes actually playing golf to go round in 72 strokes and 72 minutes to go round in 90 strokes. If you take just 4 hours to play a round then you’re not actually playing for approximately 3 hours in every 18 holes.

What many people do in this spare 3 hours in every round is to get down on themselves mentally. Just watch how many golfers trudge between shots with their heads down and seemingly just staring at the ground a few feet ahead. Many of them are talking to themselves and often what they’re saying is not usually fit for publication. Thankfully, they normally keep the voice inside their heads, but I’m sure you’ve played the odd round with a playing partner who berates himself loudly during the course of a round – I know I’ve done that in the, hopefully distant, past and I’m not proud of it.

So what’s wrong with keeping your head down between shots? Well just watch how people typically stand when life is on the up. Yes, they stand erect with their head held high. And when they are feeling down, their heads tend to be down. Psychological research also demonstrates that this works the other way too, so if you walk between shots with your head down and your shoulders a bit slumped, you’ll automatically feel down. In the same way, you will feel like things are looking up if you’re walking erect with your head raised high.

Have you ever noticed how depressed people seem to be in many nursing homes and how many of them walk around in a bent over posture? Well I met a husband and wife recently, both doctors, who are incorporating NLP concepts into posture management. They’ve found that they can improve the posture and, more importantly, increase the level of happiness and optimism of patients in nursing homes by simply replacing the lounge chairs with ones that encourage a more upright sitting posture and hanging televisions from the ceilings rather than sitting them on the floor. Those simple changes lead to wholesale improvements in people’s posture, health and happiness.

Next time you play golf; try walking between shots with your back straight and your head held high. You could even use golf hypnosis to help you to remember not to forget to do it when you play. However you’re actually feeling when you start and regardless of any bad shots you hit, I suspect you’ll be amazed at how much better and more positive you’ll feel as the game progresses. It may even have an impact on your enjoyment of this wonderful game of golf and, who knows, you may even score better.

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