Mental strategy

Hey Justin,

I have had but just one strategy sense I took up the game......

I look forward... Plain and simple. I never look back to where I just hit a ball from. As soon as it has left my club head, no matter where it goes, I keep my eyes and thoughts moving forward.

I turn 50, June 6th and will have held my USGA Handicap at +1 or better for the last 28 years. Weather I'm playing with my brothers or playing a local or USGA event, I keep my mind moving forward. You would be amazed how well you recover from a bad shot or hole by looking straight ahead and keeping your head up. Hell... I can't wait to see what kind of shot I get to put off once I get to my ball... Sure don't have time to worry how I got there.

As far as course strategy goes? I pretty much pick my target and I stick to it and live with the result. I automatically believe that I am four under when I step on the first tee. If there are four par five's then that's what I believe. I now I'm going to have a few bogies, but if I take advantage of the five pars and limit myself on the rest, it all ends up good and my beer and burger in the clubhouse tastes just a little better.

Good luck out there and keep looking forward.

Lou G
3 pars in a row (GIR) yesterday then I lost my swing and had a triple bogey. Able to recover and finish with two bogeys.
There was also a lesson learned - never go straight from hitting on the simulator mats at a golf shop to the course. Tends to mess up your swing.

I HIGHLY recommend "Fearless Golf" by Dr. Gio Valiante - amazing book - I was shooting in the 80s for the past 2 seasons and after utilizing his methods last year I had two rounds in the 70s - a 79 followed by a 77.  

Check it out - it's a great read and it works


Just take it one shot at a time and that's all you can control.  If you perform each shot well, then the score will take care of itself.

Firstly, its golf, so in my experience it rare goes the way one expect.  I say that to myself over and over and over again. 

I try to make it as simple as possible.  So I try to focus on one shot at the time.

I always decide and visualise how I want to play a hole.  I do that as walking to the hole. That way I am ready to pick my club when I arrive at the tee (totally independent of the other players).  Then I go back to focusing on the shot I am going to do now.  Hence I completely forget a shot when it's done.  As my expectation play up, I often force myself to forget the shot and start visualising my next shot.

I found that I play the best on days when I can manage this part of the game.

More than 0nce I have thought about the react part, I tend to do most everything else, but after I address the ball, look up to see what I want my shot to do, I look at my ball and pause ... that makes me think and we all know thinking in golf is best between shots  :)  I am going to try to react tomorrow

Most golf scores are defined by three holes - and sometimes, that means just three golf shots, either very good or very poor.  By that I mean, the difference between a great round and a poor one is very often determined by just three holes - since most of us score about the same on average for fifteen holes per round.  A single digit handicap may be able to count on ten or twelve pars and three to five bogeys every round - a great round is if there are also a couple of birdies, a poor one is if there are a couple of doubles.  Someone who averages mid-90s probably plays under bogey-golf except for three holes per round - and his/her best round ever may be the day they also parred the other three. 

The trick after a poor first hole is to just remember that those holes are going to occur - so look forward to the next four hours trying to get back one or two of those shots.  There is a certain freedom in knowing this isn't likely to be your personal best round - takes all the pressure off the next seventeen holes.  And playing relaxed is probably the best way to score well!

I'm a big fan of breaking the course up into 6, 3 hole rounds.  Give yourself a target score for each those three hole "rounds" and then move forward.  It keeps me on a even keel which is what I need to play my best.

I like that - then you start from the beginning every three holes.  No need to keep beating yourself up for that double you took 4 holes ago.   Helps you to look for ward to the next "round".  Thanks!

Chris G
Everyone has bad holes even the pros. Take one shot at a time. Don't get angry. The best pros hit bad shots but it's not the bad shot we remember, it's the recovery and resolve they show thereafter. Golf is fun and relaxing unless ur a pro and it's ur job. Remember that. I hit three terrible shots today during my round but I hit three great recovers on my way to a tough 74

Amen to that Chris!

Just focus on the shot you are hitting RIGHT NOW and what you need to do to hit that shot to very best of your ability. If Bubba was thinking about his lousy tee shot he never would've been able to hit that amazing approach shot.

Hey Justin,

Golf is a fabulous game and it is terrifyingly difficult at times, but nonetheless, we are all addicted to playing it. 

Something that really helps is to establish a pre-shot and post-shot routine, where for every shot you rehearse your routine, no matter what is going on. This helps to keep one in the zone. 

And then I think this thought really helps to put things into perspective and make an imperfect round seem more enjoyable, so think about this next time you play...

Golf is so much fun, and we are all so lucky and fortunate to be able to play. We should just be thankful that we are able to play this game no matter what happens. This is what i think about when things get rough, it totally changes my perspective on the game and life and makes my time out there more enjoyable and almost always helps me play better

good luck 


A friend of mine was shooting 55's for 9 holes because of bad shots that would "linger".  He changed his approach to breaking the course up to 3 holes at a time and shot a 37.  

Josh G

I'm a big fan of breaking the course up into 6, 3 hole rounds.  Give yourself a target score for each those three hole "rounds" and then move forward.  It keeps me on a even keel which is what I need to play my best.

For as long as I have played this game, mental toughness has at times failed me, but overall, that is the answer. A positive mental attitude is also a great advantage for one to have. this game can throw curves unlike any baseball pitcher can throw and it really helps to have that mental attitude that can carry you over and thru the rough spots.

Play the game swing by swing

Geoffrey B

Play the game swing by swing

Just like Phil M. did on D-1 at the PGA.  Credited with the most impressive round of 73 ever.  Any mortal would have been looking at 78 or more with the fairways he didn't hit.  Like the Pink Bunny, just kept going and going.  There is no way he kept his last shot on his mind. 

He inspires me.