I’m a hobby level player in Golf. I play off handicap 22 (very mediocre) and have played for just over a year now.

While I have played other individual sports a ton – I still see golf a major challenge for your psyche. It’s very unique as every shot counts for so much, unlike in other individual sports.

Overcoming yourself – by this I mean overcoming mental obstacles which are usually caused by doubt, insecurity and similar factors that are mental and physical at the same time.

Here I list 4 ways to overcome these obstacles and argue the cause and effect (usually link from mental to physical or vice versa) of these 4 ways.

The idea and point of this article is to help you be better in golf and other similar individual sporting activities, where you want to be better and improve.

1. Take a breather

No, I mean literally. While golf is a game, activity you still have to control yourself both mentally and physically. Take a deep breath and be aware.

It may seem simple but regulating your breathing will help reduce your heart rate and calm you down. Next time you’re in a tough situation, take some slow, deep breaths, and it will help you reset and focus clearly on the next shot.

Breathing deep will clear your mind and get you back to your training – where everything usually goes as planned. You create the link between a great experience with a regular and deep breaths.

2. Have confidence in your body

When things go wrong on the course, it’s easy to start showing negative signs in your physical appearance - hang your head and drag your feet.

Next time this happens, make a conscious effort to maintain confident body language.

Your brain will get very bad signals from your body while sulking. This won’t help.

It has been shown that demonstrating positive body language can trigger your brain to make yourself feel more confident. Maintaining great bodily composure and confidence in your body is exactly what you need to turn things around on the golf course.

3. Get real – Pros miss shots as well

You’re not alone with your missed 50 yard chip shot to the greenside bunker.

Adversity is very much part of the game, and it happens even to the professional, just open Youtube and search for golf pro bloopers.

What is important is how you handle this adversity of a bad shot.

What is reality then?

Reality is the statistics and you can easily compare yourself towards them. Golf has a lot of open databases for this.

Pros put away almost 100% of puts within 3 feet of the hole (just under 1 meter). This makes sense. Do you miss some of these? That is fine but aim for the pro level 99% as this is a very short, controllable distance.

Then take this thinking a bit further. How about 6 feet then (almost 2 meters)? Pros score on average just over 70% from this distance. So more than flip a coin for them, but maybe 50/50 coinflip should be your target result?

4. Control the flow

Rather than taking the time and breathing, this point is more about how you are in fact in control of 99% of the action on the course. Remember this.

You have taken the time on the range to practice, you know how to hit the ball so don’t overthink it or do it.
There are techniques to control the overwhelming information your mind and body are trying to process.

Best to shut as much as the overflow of information out before hitting – it just won’t help in the moment.

The more you let yourself think about how much goes into it, the more your brain gets in the way of your athleticism.

Techniques include but do not limited to:
- Take control of your breathing
- Establish a routine
- Physical ability to deliver (good conditioning)
Finally, what do you think about these tips? I hope they do help you.

I’ve struggled with all of these and make a conscious effort to do better in them.

Author's Bio: 

Yarit Cook
Main areas of expertize: Coaching, Mental health.
Hobbies: Golf, Tennis, Media.