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Golf Article - The Mental Game of Golf


Playing golf should be an enjoyable experience, so if you find yourself losing your temper when you make a bad shot, what can you do about it? One thing that might help is to practice acceptance.

The first thing you need to accept is your own limitations. All players vary in their playing ability and this is not always due to experience. Physical ability has a lot to do with it. If you suffer from arthritis it will affect your game, no matter if you have the best teachers. If your body is simply not flexible enough for a good swing, it will affect your game. Find out what you can do about this – if anything - and do it. For instance, if you are simply not very limber, take off-course lessons in exercises and stretches to make you more fit. Your golf game will improve and your temper will have less reason to spark up.


Accept the game. A perfect game of golf is rarely if ever played by anyone. Even the pros have bad golf days. Why should yours be any different? Accept that bad shot as a challenge and concentrate on what you will do about recovering instead of wasting energy jumping up and down and shouting. It's much smarter to get that ball back into play as quickly as possible. Once you've done that congratulate yourself on meeting the challenge. Work out a game plan before you arrive at the course and stick to it. Decide you will choose a safer shot and use an easier club to manage it. This may take a bit of discipline, but you'll thank yourself in the long run. Remember high blood pressure is a killer!

Accept the bad, but focus on the good. When you make a bad shot, immediately tell yourself what you liked about that good shot you played just before it. Say it out loud to trick your subconscious mind into feeling pleased. In your mind's eye, see your ball rolling straight down the center of the green and into the hole. If it doesn't happen, shrug and tell yourself it will next time.

Forget about being embarrassed at bad play. Heck, who's perfect? Not you and certainly not your golfing friends. Remember that negative emotions make you tense and tension is likely to spoil your game and could even cause injury, so do yourself a favor and lighten up.

Breathe deeply and enjoy the day apart from the golf. Feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, listen to the birdsong, and breathe in the aroma of the green. It's all great - enjoy it.


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