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How to Tap Into Your Golf Confidence Zone

Have you ever got yourself lost even when you thought you knew the way? In other words, you had a mental map of how to get to a particular place because you’ve been there before, and yet the next time you attempted to get there you got yourself lost. You had good intentions, you were positive, and confident, but you didn’t seem to understand your mental map well enough. Golf is a lot like that. Your internal golf map that gets you to good golf is not the same map that gets you to disappointing golf. They are slightly different.

Do You Have Golf Stress?

What is your strategy for dealing with a bad hole currently? When you hit a bad golf shot, or play a bad hole, how do you re-focus your mental energy so that you can bounce back positively, and maintain your momentum? Many golfers I’ve worked with at my golf school have told me that they simply carry the anguish and discomfort of bad golf around with them until they eventually forget about it and start performing better again.

Stress in golf in very common, but it doesn’t have to be a burden. In fact, contrary to popular belief stress is very helpful to us because it helps us to adapt and grow. Without stress we simply couldn’t function optimally. To develop more golf confidence we need to realise that our perception of an event can profoundly influence our feelings and thoughts and create more or less golf stress. For instance, if you are attempting to play golf shots that are outside your scope of competence then it’s highly likely that you will run into some stress.

Your Thoughts Have a Strategy

Being disappointed about a poor shot is a strategy. So is being happy about a good shot, or being relaxed, or being angry etc. They are psycho-physical states we give ourselves permission to go into, and you need to understand how to get yourself into a more positive and confident golf state after you have a hick up or melt down during your round.

What some people call a “mind set” is just another way of saying that you’re giving your thoughts a consistent mental direction to go in. Be careful as these thoughts affect your feelings and ultimately your actions. “Can’t hit the ball at all” for example, is a negative mental strategy that leads to more of the same. How “stressed” you become with your golf is simply a sign of your level of competence at managing your emotions when things aren’t going the way you want them to.

When you are hitting the ball well what are you seeing, feeling or experiencing? What happens when things are going right for you on the golf course? How is it different from the stressful state you can get yourself into when things aren’t going well for you? There’s a distinction that you need to begin recognising to move yourself towards effectively managing your mental-emotional state.

Playing in the Golf Confidence Zone

My suggestion is to become aware of your feelings and thoughts when you have a bad hole and immediately change your state by moving towards something positive that will change your state. I call this the golf confidence zone, and the rules for accessing the golf confidence zone are relatively simple. Your behaviour is affected by strong emotional events in your life that have the potential to become imprinted or branded into your psyche.

If you are moving into negative performance states on the golf course try the following suggestions to get yourself playing in the golf confidence zone more often.

You can carry a really funny joke card around with you that has jokes that really make you laugh out loud, can change your state.

You can think about anything weird, bizarre or out of the ordinary that can change how you feel in the moment – be creative, make it a fun experience.

Your can look at a photo of your family or relatives to bring you back to reality.

You can place a thick rubber band on your wrist and anytime you recognize that you’re heading towards the negative zone you could pull the band back and “snap” yourself back to reality.

Real life experiences and events are powerful triggers for changing your golf state, but a well developed imagination can do the same thing. This is why Olympic champions are trained to develop their visualization skills from an early age and practice them with the same intensity that they would in real life almost everyday.

If you want to get over a bad golf score, or a bad hole, then practice the new mental strategy of moving into the golf confidence zone whenever you recognize that you’re going to golf’s dark side. Rewiring your old patterns of thinking and behaving simply requires you to give them a positive mental direction to move towards.

Strategic and targeted thinking skills will lead you to performing at your golf more consistently, with greater golf confidence, positive energy and personal control. There is so much upside that your goal over the next four weeks should be practice going into the golf confidence zone as often as you can. It will be well worth your effort.

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Written by Lawrence Montague

Lawrence Montague has been one of Australia's leading golf teaching professionals for more than twenty years and owns one of Australia's top golf schools based on the Gold Coast in Queensland: goldcoastgolfschool. You can visit his popular golf instruction channel at youtube.com/golfconfidence where he has produced more than thirty free high quality golf video lessons to improve you golf game.

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