Common Golf mental game mistakes

Golf mental game mistakes cost players unwanted strokes but can be easier to correct than a players swing.

All shots first begin in the mind.  A player’s thoughts can have a strong influence on their swing and the scores they achieve. Your mental game either helps your body make a good swing or it creates interference that causes errant shots and big numbers.

Below are the three most common mental game mistakes made by golfers today. The next time you play become observant and see if you can notice any of these:

Mental Game Mistakes

1) Mental mistake #1 – A negative attitude:

Many golfers focus on things that are unnecessary or unhelpful. This kind of focus can also make the game less enjoyable for all involved. Examples are when a player focuses on where they don’t want to hit the ball, talking about the aspects of the course they don’t like and by doubting their ability to hit a good shot. This kind of thinking lowers confidence, puts doubt in the mind or introduces an undesirable target.

Complaining is also a hidden form of a negative attitude. The speed of play, the course surfaces and the weather are never perfect but it something that all golfers have to deal with.

Solution:  You can develop a positive attitude by only focusing on what you want to achieve or only thinking about things that are within your influence. Talk about what you like, remember times when you were successful and discuss the aspects of the day that are enjoyable.

2) Mental mistake #2 – Incorrect programming:

This mental error refers to the way a golfer focuses and programs their mind before they play a shot. Have you ever played a shot without considering and deciding upon a clear and precise target? Some golfers program their mind with what they don’t want to do or even talk about what they did wrong last week. They then show great skill and manage to execute in the way they just discussed.

Solution: Program your mind and body using a good pre-shot routine that focuses on what you want to accomplish. Analyse the environmental factors that will influence the shot, have a clear target and decide how the ball will get there. Then visualise the shot in your mind and feel the swing required to send your ball to the target.

3) Mental mistake #3 – A focus on score:

A score conscious mentality causes emotional shifts that effect the way a golfer swings the club. When a player focuses on their score, their mind is no longer in the present moment. They are either lamenting in the past over a missed opportunity or are anticipating the meaning of their potential score. The added meaning often makes it harder to execute well.

“A putt for birdie will usually make a player more nervous than a putt for bogey”


A score focus often interferes with a golfers ability to execute well on the course. It reduces a players concentration abilities and generates emotions that are incompatible with good execution. It is not uncommon to hear about a golfer getting off to a good start and then dropping shots when they begin to think about the meaning of their score.

Solution: Focus on the process of each shot rather than your score. Keep your mind present by avoiding thoughts about the way you are playing. Keep the game simple by stating basic objectives like, hit the fairway or maintain good rhythm. Stay focused and aim to keep your emotions relaxed and balanced. Remember that there will be plenty of time later to add up your score and see how you went.

If you liked these mental game tips then you would like the mental game program – Think Well Play Great


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