Although golf is one of the most exciting games to experience, the fact of the matter is that it can be quite difficult. Whether you are simply not “in the groove” or you are have a less-than-perfect day, extricating yourself from such ruts will help to boost your confidence and to place you in the right mental state to walk away a winner. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to address a bad golf day in the form of nine suggestions.
9 Tips to turnaround a bad round of golf
1 – Objectively Examine Any Weaknesses
It is often possible to turnaround a bad game if you are able to take a step back and identify any weaknesses that may exist. For example, perhaps you keep hooking the ball to the left during a drive. The chances are high that this is the result of poor mechanics or even an inappropriate club. The best remedy for such situations (as you may have guessed) is a good deal of practice while away from the course. Head to your local driving range to analyse your swing or speak with a professional trainer for objective advice.
2 – Keep it Simple
Golfers tend to be perfectionists by their very nature. While this can be great in terms of continuous improvement, what happens if things do not go as expected? One of the habits which many individuals make is to over-analyse the mechanics of a poor swing while on the course. As a result, they attempt to make minor adjustments between holes. The main issue here is that so many subtle changes can lead to even more confusion; leading to consternation and eventually, to apathy. If you have experienced a poor prior round, never head into the subsequent round with the notion of shooting the best game of your life. This will only lead to further frustration and mental pressure. There is plenty of time for an analysis after the game has ended. Until then, focus upon your goals as opposed to scrutinising every shot.
3 – Doing Away with Superstition
Many professional sports figures are known for their superstitions. Some baseball personalities have specific rituals before they take to the field while certain golfers are known for similar traits. The issue here is that these individuals tend to associate past performances with the present situation. This is akin to boarding and aeroplane and fully expecting to experience turbulence simply because it was present on the previous flight. In truth, there is no connection between the two. The same holds true in regards to golf. The only real connection is within your own mind. Try to compartmentalise each round as opposed to allowing a previous error to leave a bad taste in your mouth. In other words, live in the moment while on the course.
4 – The Role of Positive Reinforcement
We now need to take a look at a bit of psychology before moving on. Positive reinforcement is defined as getting into the habit of recalling a present experience if you begin to feel any type of negativity. This is frequently used to combat emotional conditions such as stress and anxiety associated with a specific situation. Unsurprisingly, it can be just as useful while on the green.
For instance, let’s imagine for a moment that you just had a bad round of golf due to a particularly difficult hole. As opposed to ruminating over the mistakes you made and allowing this mindset to impact the rest of the match, instead recall times when you scored well under par (or even achieved a hole in one). Reminding yourself of previous achievements will help you to develop a positive outlook and most importantly, to remain highly motivated when the going gets tough (as it inevitably will from time to time).
5 – Take a Breather to Put Things Into Perspective
One fault which plagues many golfers (myself included) involves ego. Let’s say that you happen to miss a putt that is only a few metres away from the hole and on a flat pitch. This can upset countless individuals (even the professionals). The problem here is that anger will cloud judgement and detract from the focus that is required to continue. Let’s put things into perspective for a moment.
The chances are high that you are not competing for a title in the DP World Tour Championship. Even if you happen to score well over par, the sun will rise and the world will continue to turn. Try to develop a lighthearted approach and remember that the main principle of golf is to use a stick to push a ball into a hole. We are not at all detracting from the sport in this sense, but rather emphasising the fact that what occurs on the course will have little bearing within the real world. If you feel that you are about to “blow your stack”, take a step away in order to regain composure before moving on. You will undoubtedly be thankful in the long run!
6 – Get the Blood Pumping
Knowing how to turn around a bad round of golf also involves your physical condition. Besides walking between holes, the fact of the matter is that golf is not normally associated with a great deal of physical exertion. One of the issues which some players will experience from time to time is “zoning out” and losing their focus. The best way to extricate yourself from this quagmire is to take a step back and get the blood flowing. This could be in the form of a brisk walk, a five-minute stretching session or even a few dozen jumping jacks. You will then be able to return to the game with a clear head and a highly motivated perspective.
7 – The Power of Visualisation
This next trick has been used by professionals for decades. If you happen to feel that your performance has been lacking, visualise what you are trying to achieve. Clearly define your goals. Are you looking to improve your handicap, to add a few extra yards to your drive or to tackle a particularly challenging hole? Visualisation is an extremely powerful tool, as it literally “switches” your mind into a more focused state. Some will even claim that this is a mild form of meditation. However, be realistic with what you are visualising. In other words, it might not be possible to achieve a hole in one on a par-4 hole. Even if the visualisation does not produce results, it will still enable you to develop a more centred outlook before approaching each round.
8 – Focus Upon the Effort as Opposed to the Outcome
Whether or not we wish to admit it, the fact of the matter is that there are certain things which are not in our control. For example, it is not your fault if you happen to be dealing with inclement weather or stiff competition. These and other variables are completely out of your control. However, you do have a say in the amount of effort that is exhibited during each round.
This is when it might actually be a good idea to critique yourself from time to time. Here are some questions that can help to determine if you are giving the maximum amount of effort:
- Do I feel less motivated on specific holes?
- Am I placing all of my focus into my drives?
- Am I becoming easily distracted when putting?
Paying attention to your effort will inevitably lead to better rounds of golf over time. Much like any sport, you only take away what you initially put in.
9 – Walk Away for the Time Being
While all of the suggestions mentioned above can produce viable results, what happens if none seem to be positively affecting your game? Although it might seem counter-intuitive, there are times when it could be better to take a slight break from the game until the correct mindset returns. You may otherwise begin to feel burned out. Focus on other hobbies which you enjoy for the time being. You will soon realise that your experiences on the course were transient and fleeting. It can then be possible to return with a greater degree of motivation. After all, everyone needs a break from their favourite pastime on occasion. Golf is certainly no different.
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Knowing how to turnaround a bad golf game is a lesser-known skill and yet, the associated benefits cannot be denied. Even professionals make mistakes from time to time and you are certainly no different. The key is being able to recognise when a different perspective is required as well as when it could be better to take a step back. Developing this mindset is key if you hope to progress to the next level and you will be amazed with the eventual results.
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