Train Your Brain for Better Golfing
We would be willing to bet that every golfer, whether a beginner or long-time player, has had the same exact thought: “I wish I was better at golfing.” If you are having a bad game, or a few bad games, it can be easy to get down on yourself and wish that you had more mental or physical skills on the course. While this feeling is totally normal, it can drastically affect your confidence and overall mentality for future practice rounds or games to come. It turns out that if you truly want to get better at golf, you must train your brain to think in a positive way before you showcase any of your skills on the course. How exactly should you train your brain to become better at golf? Here are a few ways:
- Attention. First, train your brain to focus on your attention-span. Think about times when you are on the course – are you fully attentive to what is going on around you? Are you thinking solely about your shot, or are other thoughts trickling into your mind as you are about to swing? Make sure that whatever you are doing on the course, your attention is 100% there.
- Awareness. Next, train your brain to focus on your awareness. This can mean several things, including your awareness of your stance, your posture, your form and awareness of your overall surroundings. It is important to make sure that your brain is fully aware of your actions throughout each round, as well as any environmental factors that may impact your game.
- Adaptability. A very important thing to train your brain for is its ability to adapt. In both golf and life, there are many times when things just do not go as planned. Train your brain to think on its feet, and always be ready for a new scenario, if needed.
How to be Mentally Tough on the Course
When one thinks of their golf mentor or favorite golf professional, they will often comment on things such as how great their swing is, how perfectly they put, or how often they hit the gym to stay fit for the course. While the physicality of golf is extremely vital and important, the mental health of a golf player is just as, if not more important. Without strong and tough mental health on the course, the golfer would not be able to showcase any physical success. If you are finding yourself lacking in the mental health department throughout your game, here are some tips on how you can stay as mentally tough and fit as possible. Trust us, your game will thank you for it!
- Keep your head up. Everyone can attest to a time where they have had a bad shot, a bad putt or just an overall bad game. Do not let one wrong move, or a few wrong moves, get your head down. Keep your head up and stay ready for the next shot – and remember there is always room for improvement.
- Stay patient. Patience is truly key on the course. Do not feel like you need to rush through any shot. Make sure that your body is lined up with the ball, you are using the correct club and that you are giving yourself the time you need to strategize and feel comfortable and confident taking the shot.
- Think about your body language. Your body language can actually affect your emotional responses on the course more than you would think. Stay upright and focus on your posture – having strong, upright posture showcases confidence, which is exactly how you should emotionally feel throughout your game. Do not tense up your shoulders and keep your body as relaxed as possible. The more tense you physically are, the more tense you will emotionally feel.
Sports You Can Play to Help Develop Golf Skills
The key to be a great golf player is to never stop working on your athleticism and your skills. The more in shape that you are, the better you will be able to perform on the course. In addition to your regular trips to the gym, and participating in golf lessons, did you know that there are several different sports that you can participate in that will not only keep you in shape, but help brush up on your golf skills? Check out some of the most popular sports to play to help become a better golf player:
- Tennis. Playing tennis is great for young children as well as adults and can greatly help to enhance your golf swing! In the game of tennis, the amount of rotational movements that are required will help your forehand with speed, and backhand with opposite rotational movement.
- Baseball. During a baseball game, you are required to be on point to hit a ball that is accelerating directly towards you, as well as use your legs and torso to create power from the ground up. These same skills are required for golfers and are essential for the game.
- Kayaking. To be a successful golfer, you must have a very strong upper body and core, which is required to be able to kayak. Regularly kayaking is an awesome way to get outside and enjoy some beautiful scenery while strengthening your upper body!
- Ice Hockey. While you are playing hockey, you are performing rotational movements with your hockey stick, while balancing on ice skates. Ultimately – this requires a lot of coordination. The skill of coordination is essential for the game of golf, and if you can handle it on skates, you can absolutely handle it on the grounds of the course!
- Soccer. Soccer requires a lot of hand and eye coordination as well as lower body strength, which is exactly what you need for the entire duration of your golf swing.
Are Your Nerves Affecting Your Game? Here’s How to Fix it
Imagine yourself on the course during the biggest golf tournament of your life. Or, maybe you are on the course with a potential client, trying to win their business. There are a lot of different reasons why you may experience nerves on the course because ultimately, golf is more than just a game. Unfortunately, dealing with anxiety and nerves can immensely affect your game and what your success looks like on the course. If you find yourself feeling nervous before, during or after your game, we have put together a few tips and tricks on how you can fix it. Here are some ways to fight through your nerves and stay as relaxed as possible:
- Keep your body and grip loose. People experiencing nerves or anxiety often feel a tension throughout their entire body, which can move into your hands and fingers. It is important to keep your grip loose because tightness causes more tension.
- Focus on your mental and emotional game. A true golfer knows that your mental and emotional game is just as, if not more important than your physical game! Do not internally put the pressure on yourself and try to stay as relaxed and calm as possible. Putting the pressure on yourself can result in struggling to play consistent golf.
- Breathe, breathe, breathe! When things get tough and you begin to feel nervous and stressed, take time to stop and take a few deep breaths to relax your heart rate and get your mind focused back on the game.
- Do not dwell on bad shots or games. If something goes wrong, give yourself constructive criticism so you are able to move forward, and then focus on the future! Do not dwell on shots that could have gone better or games that should have gone a different way. Keep moving forward and pushing to be a better game player, and realize that mistakes happen to everyone!
Questions You Can Ask Yourself to Improve Your Golf Game
Every golfer can relate to the frustration of consistently practicing and working hard to improve your game without seeing results. It can feel like no matter how much time you spend on the course, how much money you spend on equipment, and how much effort you put into lessons – nothing is changing! If you are not seeing improvement, you must first admit that something is not going as you initially planned. Golf is not easy, and developing and perfecting skills is something that takes time. It is important to keep in mind that this is a very common feeling for many golfers, and we are here to help! Ask yourself the following questions to figure out what exactly is going wrong:
- Are you staying completely focused on the course? Think about what is going through your head when you first get on the course and throughout your game. Are you completely focused on your game, or are you finding your thoughts somewhere else? Make sure that you are paying attention so that you can stay completely, 110% confident throughout the game. Staying focused will also help keep you more alert physically and mentally.
- Do you need to work on any of the basics and fundamentals? Everyone has to start somewhere, and sometimes improvement can best be found through going back to the basics. Think about your posture, your alignment, your grip, and your aim. If you are not completely comfortable with any of these fundamentals, think about working with a coach or mentor to see how you can improve upon each of them.
- What are your goals on the course? How are you working to achieve them? Go into each practice and game with a specific purpose to improve yourself, your skills and your game. Once you are internally aligned on your goals, think about how you are going to reach them. You can do this by visualizing specific scenarios while you are practicing so you are prepared when the time comes during the game itself.
How Does Brain Chemistry Affect Your Golf Game?
Everyone knows that mental health is absolutely vital to living your best life both personally, professionally, as well as on the course. Did you know that your brain chemistry can drastically affect how you play the game of golf? The more that you practice and work on your game, the more training your brain will begin to recognize. Your brain, which controls all of your movements, will utilize its muscle memory before and after each shot that you make on the course, and ultimately, each move that you make throughout each round.
You must be in touch with your senses to be able to play your best game. The more you repeat certain movements on the course, such as putting or swinging, the more your brain will be able to adapt to the movements and analyze how to work successfully in the future. If you think about where exactly you want the ball to go within your surroundings, your brain will learn how to determine what the best approach is to hit the ball where it needs to go.
Building a healthy brain for your overall life as well as the game of golf is extremely important. You can build a healthy brain through eating nutritious, whole foods, making sure you are eating correct portions, and hydrating properly every day! It is also good to make sure you are incorporating some form of exercise into your daily routine to keep your fitness level up and your brain stimulated. Incorporating cardio as well as time to attend yoga classes and increase your flexibility will improve your physical health on the course, and your brain chemistry! To further stimulate your brain, practice golf as much as you can whether indoors or outdoors, learn everything you can about the game and keep your body moving.
Get Organized for Your 2019 Game
When it comes to new year’s resolutions, many people look at ways in which they can improve their personal life, whether it be their own physical or mental health, or their overall productivity. For all of you golfers, you may be looking at resolutions that can help you become the best player that you can be. To improve upon your game, your first step is to ensure that you are organized and ready to get back onto the course. Here are some ways in which you can get organized so that you are prepared for your best possible golf game in the new year:
Get an indoor putter. An indoor putter will tremendously help you during the winter months, as it will give you the opportunity to practice within your own home and get a handle on your putting. By practicing at home, you can target your weaknesses and look at how you can work to improve them prior to the spring season!
Find a mentor or professional. Once you are aware of your weaknesses and what you must work on, you can look at finding a mentor or professional to give you additional lessons and help you improve. Look into local indoor courses or local professionals that you can work with to get some healthy constructive criticism.
Clean out your golf bag. After a long golf season, you may have been so busy that you were unable to go through your golf bag, clean it out and organize it. Work to organize your clubs and, if there are any that you do not find yourself often using, replace them with ones that you will utilize on the course more often.
Regrip clubs that are slippery. While organizing your clubs, if you find that any are slippery, take the opportunity to regrip them so that they are all set for when you get back on the course in the spring.
Take advantage of holiday sales. During the holiday season there are an immense amount of unbelievable deals that you can hit on golf apparel, equipment and accessories. Take advantage of these sales and look into replacing any equipment or accessories such as clubs, putters or balls that have worn out.
Keep Up with Your Game in the Off Season
Just because the weather is getting colder and the days are getting duller does not mean that you golf game has to be affected! Even though you may not be able to regularly go to your golf course of choice, there are many ways that you can work on your golf game in the off-season! With these exercises and tips, you will be in great shape by the time the weather warms up, and you will be ready to play your best game yet! Check out some ways that you can improve your game during the winter months:
- Weight training. Believe it or not, regularly hitting the gym and performing strength-training exercises can greatly improve your game. By strengthening your core, glutes, and other key muscle groups, you will gain more balance and more power throughout your swing.
- Mental game. The off season is a great time to work on your mental game, which is just as important as your physical game on the course. Practice yoga a few times a week, and work on a relaxing pre-shot routine that you can utilize when you get back to the game.
- Practice in the mirror. Find a full length mirror and practice putting and swinging in front of one! By doing this, you will be able to provide constructive criticism for yourself and will be able to make adjustments accordingly.
- Putt within your home. Wherever you have some extra space in your home is a great place to practice putting. You can do this while watching your favorite TV program, or even to break up your work day if you are in the office!
- Shop around for some new gear. Gear and accessories are key to a successful game. Take this time to hit up all of the great holiday sales and find some new, fresh equipment for a loved one or yourself!
When to Use a Hybrid
A hybrid is a cross between a fairway wood and an iron, except it’s much easier to hit. They fly higher and land softer than your long irons, which helps you keep control of those long shots. If you struggle with hitting long irons or fairway woods, consider using a hybrid. Here is some tips when using a hybrid.
HYBRID vs FAIRWAY WOOD
Many golfers don’t know the difference between a hybrid and fairway wood. Common fairway woods include your 3-wood, 5-wood, and 7-wood, depending on the loft. Hybrids were not so long ago known more as “rescue clubs.” Hybrids combine characteristics of both woods and irons, with a smaller clubhead than a wood, a shorter shaft, and more loft.
A hybrid is great for beginners or weekend golfers because it’s a reliable club that will not only advance their second shot but will help keep you score lower. The hybrid, because of its shorter shaft length, is easier to hit than a fairway wood for players who struggle with topping the ball. To get maximum performance from your hybrid clubs, swing them more around your body on the backswing and downswing. Think of the swing like a hula hoop.
WHEN TO USE A HYBRID
Hybrids are very versatile. You can hit them off the fairway, from the rough or even the tee (if you’re not so good at using a driver). The clubhead will cut through the rough better than a fairway wood, and you can even chip the ball if you’re close to the green with a hybrid. A common practice is to start your lowest-numbered hybrid at 10-15 yards less than your highest fairway wood, so there’s no gap in coverage.
From my personal experience, hybrids really do help “rescue” me when I am in a tough lie or just want to get more distance. It’s consistent, accurate and will help you hit those long shots easily.
Tips to Conquer Tough Par-3 Courses
Don’t be fooled by par-3 courses. They may seem easy, but there are many par 3 courses are just as tough, if not tougher, than 18 hole courses. It’s a good way to test how good your short game is, but if you struggle with par-3 courses, here is a checklist to help you conquer them!
1. Assess the hole
2. Tee it up
3. Think positively
4. Choose your club carefully
5. Find your own solution
Par-3s can deceive you, so assess the hole carefully before hitting. Also make sure to tee up the ball whenever you can. This can help you lift up the ball and allow it to softly land on the green. It’s also just an easier way to hit the ball. Doesn’t matter if you’re using a 9 iron – tee it up whenever you can.
Your mental golf game is so important. Many golfers tend to look at the hole and think about all the hazards ahead of them, whether its a pond or bunkers. Block out those negative thoughts and fully focus on your shot. Don’t worry about anything but your swing.
Choose your club carefully, especially on downhillers. Don’t just choose your club based on distance because there may be other factors at hand. If it’s a windy day, make sure you choose a club that will make up for that.
Lastly, even though you may want to watch other players and follow their routine, don’t rely on this too much. Their strengths may not be yours. Every golfer is different, so find a solution that fits your game.
Save yourself strokes by following this checklist!