People used to say that you were either born to be a golfer or you were not. Either you had the innate mental skills needed to play the game of golf and help hone your physical skills, or you would simply not make it far in the sport. Lucky for would-be golfers worldwide, sports psychology has uncovered that this is not true. The mind can be trained, and so can the body, even if you are not someone who is traditionally built for the sport of your choice. Whether you’re using your golf mentality to make your first hole in one or to understand golf betting terms to place a bet on the next Master’s tournament, you can work on that mentality until it’s on par with the best players in the world. Physical skills follow the mental skills: those are more easily measurable and can be improved upon and honed to your desires as well.
Let’s check out what the most important skills are that you’ll need to become a great golfer.
1. Mental Focus
If you’re going to perform well under pressure, you need to be able to maintain your clarity of mind and focus at all times. If you want to be at your best in different weather conditions, on different courses, with high stakes, or even in front of a crowd, you need to be able to stay calm and focus on the task at hand. Your brain is like a muscle in that if you train it, it will be able to perform the tasks you ask of it much better. To focus on only the golf ball, the end of your putter, and the desired destination is something that you can learn, even if you are naturally a somewhat scatterbrained person. There are many different things you can do to train your mind to stay focussed in high-pressure situations; one of those is meditation. The many forms of meditation (guided, unguided, visualisation, etc.) can help you clear your mind of all distractions and zone in on the one thing that matters: getting that little ball to go where you want it to go. Practice meditation for focus and you’ll never look back.
While you need to focus on the ball and your putter when you’re playing golf, you also have to be aware of, but not distracted by, everything happening around you. If you aren’t aware of the wind blowing in from the East, you can’t factor it in how hard you swing or the angle of your putt. If these things aren’t taken into account, you won’t ever get the desired results.
Another way that awareness is essential to practice as a golfer is to be aware of any stress or distracting thoughts that might come up for you. This could be while you’re playing or before the game begins. Be aware of these thoughts, let them form and have their moment, then let them go. If you can practice awareness in this way, you’ll be great on the course.
Whether you’re just learning or are already an experienced player, you should approach all your practices and games with confidence. Confidence doesn’t mean thinking you’re the best and you’re always going to win; confidence means knowing that you’ll be ok with your performance and yourself even if you don’t. Approaching your games with confidence isn’t just good for you and your enjoyment of the game, it’s also good to show any opposing teams or players that you’re happy with your game, win or lose. If you go into your game or practice with confidence, you’ll feel great about yourself, no matter the result.
This is one that will come in handy when you are dealing with the physical aspects of golf. There may be grips or stances that feel uncomfortable to you at first, but you must try, try and try again until they become second nature. If you’re persistent, you can overcome any hurdle, no matter how big. Keep practising your swings, stances, and grips; keep practising your awareness and focus, and you’ll get to a point where it all comes naturally. Learning a new skill can be disheartening at times if you don’t find it easy, but if you keep coming back, you’ll be pleased with the results in the end.
5. Goal Setting
You might not want to be a professional golfer by the time you’re 21, but it’s essential to set some goals when you’re practising a new skill, or honing an existing one, nonetheless. Whether it’s hitting the ball a certain distance, taking part in an amateur tournament by the end of the year, or just playing well enough to really enjoy yourself, you should be able to set and achieve goals. Achieving goals is vital for growth and for your personal gratification.
If you can foster all these skills, they’ll help you with the physical and mental aspects of becoming the best golfer you can be.