Tip Tuesday – Mental Approach to Golf

Mental Game

The mental approach to one’s sport can be categorized as a player’s greatest weapon. There are a lot of great players across many different sports. But three that come to mind with superior mental approaches are Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Tiger Woods. The way they approached their craft mentally helped cement these three as some of the greatest to ever do it. In this article, we will talk about the mental approach to golf and what you can do for yourself.

Mental Strength Is Key In Sports

Dr. Deborah Graham talks about how “Champions definitely think differently than the rest of the field most of the time. This is at least one reason why Harvey Penick suggests to his students that if they want to be good putters, they should hang around good putters.” She goes on to talk about how young golfers should just “observe (pros) and” watch how they carry themselves, how they react to a bad shot or putt, how they treat their caddy, and even how they act between shots. Dr. Graham gave a couple of bullet points on how to improve your mental game.

  • Have the courage to risk failure and learn from setbacks.
  • Resist the temptation to let personal worth be determined by their quality of play.
  • Objectively assess bad rounds to set the next mental and performance goals.
  • Stay mentally involved with the process of the round rather than the outcome.
  • Learn personal tendencies under pressure and train to strengthen them.
  • Play golf first for intrinsic reasons (such as love for the game) and second for extrinsic reasons (such as money, notoriety, or approval of others).
  • Balance their lives to enjoy the daily process of working toward goals as well as the enjoyment of achieving these goals.

These bullet points start to paint the map to overcoming any mental challenges one may face on the course. This list is not comprehensive but a starting point. Also, it should be noted that every person perceives things differently and that everyone can have different mental approaches to the game. Something that can help an athlete with the mental aspect of the game is to stay in the present. Some of the most successful athletes talk about being in the moment and not focusing on past mistakes. Dwelling on mistakes is how athletes end up making more mistakes. Golf is an imperfect game and mistakes are going to happen but the ability to overcome your mistakes is what will make you a great golfer.

Other Mental Tips & Tricks

There are other ways to improve your mental game. A big one is using positive self-talk. Positive self-talk refers to the way that an athlete talks to themselves throughout a contest. It happens before the contest, during the contest, and even after the contest. The way we talk to ourselves can have a significant impact on our confidence and performance. Instead of berating yourself for a bad shot, try using positive self-talk to boost your confidence and stay focused. For example, instead of saying “I always mess up this shot,” try saying “I’ve made this shot before, and I can do it again.” Positive self-talk can help you stay motivated and focused, even when things aren’t going well.

If you want to learn more about the mental side of golf sign up for our Junior Golf Conference July 8-10! We will have renowned speakers including Coach Vera Jo Bustos MA, Blair O’Neal, Dr. Gregg Steinberg, and more. The conference will happen at Reunion Resort & Golf Club in Kissimmee Florida.  


The Hurricane Tour annual membership is the best value in junior golf! Whether you are brand new to competitive junior golf or a seasoned veteran hoping to impress college coaches, HJGT’s exclusive membership will enhance your tour experience.