It doesn’t matter if you are trying to shoot 59 or break 80 for the first time, the goal is the same-to play your best golf that day. The more consistent you plan and prepare for golf, from shot to shot and day to day, the better your results. The best players in the world have a specific system for practice, preparation, and mental approach so they can play well every day. In this article, you will learn how to develop greater mental and physical consistency so you can play your best. How you practice, the pre-round warm-up routine, and your preshot preparation are three important areas to work on to play more consistently.
1. Get the Body Ready and Mind Focused
The warm-up routine is a great time to get loose, feel confident, and get your mind and body ready to play. It’s also a great way to develop consistency in your pre-game preparation, which leads to consistent golf. The warm-up is not the time to work on your golf swing, try new equipment, or call your broker on the cell phone. A warm up is used to: (1) get loose and physically warm up, (2) focus the mind, (3) instill confidence, and (4) gain a feel for your swing and tune up your touch on the greens. First, loosen up and feel your swing that day. Find a swing cue that’s working and stick with it. Get focused for the opening holes by hitting the clubs you will use on those holes. Lastly, hone your touch on the greens so you can putt your best right out of the gate!
2. Have a Game Plan
A game plan is a strategy you use to attack the golf course. What should it involve? Given the layout and distance of each hole, a player should plan how to play each hole. Decide a head of time what club to hit off the each tee-driver, three-wood, or an iron. Know what area of the fairway is the fat part and what’s the best angle to the pin. Pick your targets ahead of time in the practice round given the usual wind direction. Decide what pins you can shoot for and when to play to the center of the green. Once you make up your mind, stick to your plan.
3. Control Your Reactions
I often see players become rattled when they hit a couple of bad shots. No one likes to hit bad shots, but sometimes it’s a part of golf. The fact that you hit a bad shot or had a bad hole is not “wrong.” The problem starts with how you react to that bad shot or hole. Even the best players in the world don’t expect to hit all shots well. But they are able to let go of bad shots and play on with composure. If you get easily upset and carry that with you, be prepared for the emotional roller coaster. To get off the bogey train, you must first learn to react to errors with coolness and composure.
4. Consistent Routine
A consistent preshot routine has three objectives: (1) instill confidence, (2) focus on the task, and (3) set the conditions to trust your skills during execution. The following are five ingredients of a good preshot routine:
- Make a specific plan for each shot. Decide on a target and type of shot before you step up to address ball.
- Program your mind with the same mental image each time-a picture, sensation, or thought of how the shot looks and how you will make it become a reality.
- Rehearse the shot physically and mentally, which should mirror the swing of the actual shot you plan to hit.
- Align and aim consistently. Find a system for addressing the ball the same way each time so you can feel confident in your alignment.
- Use a thought or image as a swing trigger. See the target in your mind or feel a smooth swing, for example. Don’t vary your routine-do the same on every shot.