Golf Tips - Four Ways to Develop Confidence on the Course

By Tom Ward

"Golf is played mainly on a six-inch course; the space between your ears." -Bobby Jones

It's easy to feel confident when you're playing well, but the real challenge is to remain confident under adversity. That's the part that is difficult, and one every golfer must struggle with. Confidence can be learned. It just takes a commitment to develop this skill. So how can a golfer build unshakable confidence? It isn't a simple answer, and the solution to your problem isn't either. We all lose confidence from time to time; the important thing is to minimize the occurrences and the duration of these self-doubt spells.

1. First, you must use past success memories instead of failure memories.

If you walk up to a hole where you have failed before and start thinking about past failures on that hole you're already defeated. That's negative thinking, and that type of thinking will only hurt your chances of pulling off the good shot. Instead, supplant in your mind the best shots and replay them regardless of the impending shot looming ahead. Remember to see it, feel it, hear it and then do it. Have a success memory for all kinds of shots that you have worked hard on in practice. You can even use non-golf success memories to assist you. You have probably excelled at something in your life that you're proud of like other sports, school, work, etc. Use this information stored up in your brain to your advantage to remind yourself how competent and successful you are.

2. Next, practice training your body and your mind well.

The key to having success is quality practice with purposeful meaning. You need to have defined goals on what you're trying to achieve. Banging balls at the range all day will be a good workout, but more than likely won't transfer into success on the course. When I hear from people that they hit thousands of balls each day, but can't seem to make it happen on the course, I have to question what exactly they practiced. Like the old saying, "Inefficient management is like straightening the deck chairs on the Titanic." Practice like you play. I will discuss this in future articles in depth.

3. Having a good pre-shot routine is critical in building confidence.

This rehearsal will help you to be physically and mentally ready to pull the trigger on your swing. A good routing will help you put your game on automatic, and empty your mind of distractions and any self-doubt that you may be facing under a crucial shot.

4. Remember, you're only human.

The great Ben Hogan said once that he hit the ball exactly the way he imagined maybe only five to six times a round. Humans make mistakes; we are not perfect, and we can't be expected to play a perfect round of golf. Failure is anatural way to learn from our mistakes. "Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently." The key is to learn from your mistakes.

Finally, what really matters is how you present things to yourself to empower you to be your best. To get confidence is to remember the good shots, and forget the bad ones. When faced with difficulties draw upon all you have learned and trust your disciplined pre-shot routine. It means taking every temporary failure as a future steppingstone to success. Believing in yourself - that's what being confident is all about. *


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