Confidence: The Golf Mindset

Oftentimes, a good game of golf is just as much about self-confidence as it is actual physical ability. As Arnold Palmer once said, “Success in golf depends less on strength of body and more on strength of mind and character.”

All of the greats of the game have had to find a way to exude confidence on the course—even when bad shots keep happening. Look at practically any player on the PGA Tour and you’ll see a poised demeanor; they are able to control their mind and play through the bad shots when they happen.

While there’s no guarantee that building confidence means that anyone will be playing PGA Tour-level overnight, confidence can’t be overlooked or underestimated. Confidence leads to trusting your swing and your decision-making.

With a few changes in the way you look at yourself and the game, you can boost your confidence. Here are three simple strategies to do just that.

Power of Positive Thinking

Don’t get caught up in focusing only on the errors. In any round of golf, there will be bad shots. Self-examination must happen to improve—it is important to understand what you need to work on—but don’t dwell on the negatives. Take the time to focus on what you did well, which will help provide a boost of confidence. And the more you keep your mind focused on the positives, the easier it will be to see what you do well in the future.

Play to Play Great

While any player would claim that they play to win, many times they get more wrapped up in not playing bad. Their focus becomes so much about avoiding a bad putt that they can’t see how opportunities right in front of them to succeed. When playing with self-confidence, it’s much easier to trust your judgment and your ability to make a great play.

Create Goals

Sometimes the best thing a player can do is set goals for themselves. It could be goals for the overall round, such as focusing on execution, trusting your instincts, or keeping a positive attitude. Or, it could be more specific for each hole, like bunker play, putting, or chipping. Create your list of goals based on your strengths and weaknesses, and be honest with yourself about where your golf game stands. After each round, grade yourself with how well you achieved your goals. The more goals you reach, the more confident you will become.

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