Golf Series: The Mental Game

Golf Series: The Mental Game

lost_martinLet’s face it, for golf  and most other competitive activities the mental game is as important or more important than the physical game. Getting your mind right is very important to shooting low scores.

For some mental tips for better scoring, we’ve reached out to Dr. Tony Melito, the mental game expert. Tony is a local coach, counselor, and educator who spends his time working with athletes of all levels to hone their mental skills.

We asked him the following questions regarding overcoming the mental challenges of golf.

Question 1)  Often times when you play in the early morning or when you are rushing to the course from work, you can really blow your score on the first few holes. What can you do to get yourself mentally ready to play a good round?

“Having a pre-game routine is important. Consistent routines bring about consistent results. Before a golf match, you have to be intentional about creating a mindset for success. At some point, you have to slow yourself down. Otherwise, finishing a round of golf is more important than the quality of your performance.”

Question 2) Bad breaks, bad lies, and bad shots happen. This can lead to a chain reaction of bad shots, wasted strokes, and poor play. What strategies can a golfer use to get back in the right frame of mind to score well? 

“When your performance is suffering, having emotional composure is important. Knowing how to stay calm in your mind and body is essential in moving forward. Your focus has to be on the next shot or the next hole. Wait until after a match to critique your performance. Tell yourself what you want to happen. That positive self-talk will create a picture in your mind, which can become a blueprint for your performance.”

kiawah_4Question 3) Golf is a social sport with lots of down time between shots to socialize, which can lead to many distractions. How do you limit the distractions, stay focused, and get yourself ready for the next shot?

“Distractions can be external or internal. Using the three R’s can be helpful: Recognize, Regroup, and Refocus. First recognize that you are distracted. Secondly, regroup by shifting your thoughts in the right direction. Finally, refocus on what is task relevant.”

Question 4) When you are about to shoot your personal best, win a match, or a tournament, what should you do to play well in spite of the nerves?

“Again, it’s about consistent routines. Additionally, remaining calm in your mind and body is important. Use strategies to keep your body relaxed and your mind focused on the process of playing golf. Stay present in the here and now. Anchor yourself with an image that captures your strengths and power as an athlete.”

Sharpening your mental game is absolutely necessary to shoot lower scores. For more information on how to improve your mental game, contact Winning Actions with our local professional Dr. Tony Melito or contact Brio by clicking here.

Photos courtesy of 10 Scariest Shots in Golf