Many know golf as being one of the hardest sports there are out there, notably due to the mental resilience required to perform well.
One single missed shot can completely ruin your score, sending you multiple positions down a leaderboard. Once you see yourself lose positions, it can be hard to motivate and convince yourself that staying focused and trying hard is still worth it.
Confidence is an extremely important part of the mental aspect of playing golf. As humans, we experience something known as a mind-body connection: our mentality and our thoughts directly impact our physical performances.
In this article, you will learn 5 psychological tips to boost your golfing confidence. Boosting your confidence will directly improve your golfing performance, and lower your handicap.
How To Boost Golfing Confidence?
Down below are 5 effective psychological tips to boost your golfing confidence.
Implement them into your own routine, and you will without a doubt improve both your confidence, as well as your performance.
If you can commit to the following tips for a long period of time (over a year), you will directly see your improvements reflected in your scorecard.
5 Psychological Tips To Boost Golfing Confidence
The first way to improve your performance while playing golf is to be consistent in how much you are practicing. In fact, if you find yourself hesitating before taking a shot, it is likely because you have not practiced it enough.
You cannot suddenly aim your drives straight down the middle every time if you did not fail at it at least 500-1000 times, or likely even more. You cannot sink a putter shot each time on an undulated green unless you failed 10,000 times prior.
To improve your golfing confidence, you need to know you are capable of taking the different shots required. To know, deep in your core, in the depths of your soul, that you can take a good shot, you need to have practiced it many times.
One of our favorite quotes we know here at sportsruby.com is that “You should not practice until you succeed. You should practice until you cannot fail.”
If you take 100 driver shots, and only 1 of them travels through the middle of the fairway, is that it? Will your confidence with a driver suddenly be infinite now that you had a single success?
No. Of course not. You are still 99 times more likely to not get the driver shot you want. You will hesitate. You will not believe in your ability to drive a golf ball straight down the line.
However, after the point of being able to drive the ball straight down the line 51 times out of 100, your confidence will grow incredibly. For the first time in your career, you will expect yourself to succeed more often than not.
For the first time ever, you perform correct technique more often than not. You suddenly enter a beautiful snowball effect, reinforcing your positive technical habits instead of having to actively fight bad habits, or learn new technique from scratch.
Practice tirelessly until you succeed more often than you fail, and your confidence will rise tremendously. Practice until you cannot fail, and you will have become a world-class golfer.
2. Visualize the golf ball path
The next way to greatly boost your golfing confidence is to visualize in your head the ideal path you want the golf ball to follow.
Before taking a shot, look at the golf hole in front of you. Look at the layout of the hole, and imagine the ideal golf ball path, as if you could hit the perfect shot.
Starting from the position of the golf ball, visualize a line that extends into the air (or the ground in the case of a putt), how it curves, and finally, where it lands.
Visualizing the ideal golf ball path activates the mind-body connection inside of you, and primes your mind to take the perfect shot. Visualizing the ideal golf ball path gives you a very clear target: perfection.
Without visualizing the ideal golf ball path, you might feel a little uneasy, unsure of what result you are actually looking for with your shot. By visualizing the ideal golf ball path, you gain certainty.
A target you can see is much easier to hit than an invisible one you do not visualize.
Visualizing the ideal golf ball path will have the added benefit of making you more purposeful in your shot selection.
By seeing the ideal golf ball path, you will be less vague in where you expect your golf ball to go.
Instead of shooting the golf ball and hoping it lands somewhere beneficial to you, you will have a smaller area in which you want the golf ball to land, making you better at shot selection.
3. Aim at the middle of the fairway
Another way to improve your golfing confidence is to take shots that have a higher probability of staying in bounds.
The most common way to do this is to aim down the middle of the fairway whenever ever you are taking a long, powerful shot.
In fact, the middle of the fairway is the location that maximizes the golf ball’s distance to the rough.
Look down at the fairway, and aim for the middle. Do not aim too much to the left or to the right, even if it would put you in a better spot than in the middle for your next shot.
By aiming to the left or the right, you are choosing a harder shot, a shot that has a higher possibility of ending out of bounds, or in the rough.
Getting your golf ball in the rough will invariably make your next shot more difficult than it has to be, wrecking your score, as well as your confidence.
On the other hand, if you aim down the middle of the fairway, your ball has the highest likelihood of landing within the confines of the golf hole. With your ball still on good grass, your next shot will not be harder than it needs to be.
Being able to always land your golf balls on the golf course will greatly increase your confidence, and make you feel like you are not a beginner anymore.
However, there are 2 caveats to aiming down the middle of the fairway to increase your chances of success: your shooting tendencies & the wind.
Ideally, you want to be able to shoot a golf ball straight ahead, without it curving to the left or to the right, unless that is the intended effect.
However, unless you have practiced enough, it is possible your shots always curve in air to one side, either the left or to the right.
If your shots always curve to the left, then aiming more to the right will increase the likelihood of the ball landing on the golf hole confines, which will increase your confidence.
If your shots always curve towards the right, then aiming more to the left will increase the likelihood of the ball landing on the golf hole confines, which will increase your confidence.
The other caveat to aiming down the middle of the fairway is the wind.
If the wind is pushing towards the left, you will need to aim more to the right of the fairway.
If the wind is pushing towards the right, you will need to aim more to the left of the fairway.
Overall, your goal is to land the golf ball somewhere in the fairway, and you accomplish this by adjusting your aim according to the wind speed, and your shooting tendencies.
Landing the ball on the fairway more often than not will give a feeling of consistency to your game, and fuel your confidence.
4. Think of your past successes
Next, if you wish to increase your golfing confidence, think of your past successes.
After a string of consecutively missed shots, it can be easy to criticize yourself harshly and lose your confidence.
In these moments, think of your past good shots. Think of how impressed you were with your best shots. Think of how confident you felt.
If you had good, or even great shots in the past, then it means you are still capable of shooting good or great shots.
You are still the same person, and likely even better of a golfer than back then.
Think of your past successes, and you will remember that you are capable of dominating a golf green.
Furthermore, if you regularly visit the same golf courses, you can also think of your past success on individual holes in order to know how to approach them.
For example, at St.Andrews, if you completed hole 10 with 1 shot under par in the past, you can think of that past success each time you do that hole again, and replicate the technique, shot selection, club selections, etc.
Overall, thinking of your past successes will help you remember that the capability to make great shots is within you, and that you have performed well in the past.
5. Play golf in good conditions when your confidence is low
We all know that rain, wet grass, mud, wind, and cold make golf courses harder.
If you find yourself missing many shots in these bad weather conditions, sending many balls into the rough, your confidence may go down quickly.
Playing in the rain, with heavy wind, will make shots you usually find easy become very difficult to make. Missing shots you are used to easily making plays tricks on your mind, and gives you a sense of regression in your ability to perform.
If these conditions beat you up mentally too much, and your confidence is low, consider playing only in good, windless conditions the next few times.
Choose the days of the week with the best forecast to go play golf. In reality, playing in better conditions (no wind, no rain, warm enough) will make golf holes easier.
With easier golf holes, you will earn yourself better scores, which will make your confidence grow.
Confidence is all about winning as much as possible. Winning breeds confidence, so you can use easier golf conditions to make you confident enough for harder golfing conditions.
Overall, boosting your golfing confidence mainly comes down to increasing your probability of success, mainly from regular practice and sound psychological behaviors.
If you would like to better understand your own golfer psychology, you can read our article: The 6 Motivations Behind Playing Golf – Golfer Psychology.
If you are feeling like you are not good enough at golf, remind yourself that golf is a very difficult and complex sport to master. You can remind yourself of this by reading our article: Why Golf Is The Hardest Sport.
There you go! You have learned about 5 awesome psychological tips you can implement in your own career to boost your golfing confidence.
By following the tips in this article, you can harness your mind and body to work with you, instead of against you.
What do you do when your confidence is low after a few bad shots? Let us know in the comments down below!