Louis Ross

Oct 24, 2023 | Golf Psychology

Golf Psychology: 9 tips from a Sport Psychologist to improve your mental game

The ultimate guide for improving your Golf Mindset

Golf is one of our most popular sports at Mindframe Performance, with our work spanning from the professional game all the way down to the weekend golfer. Golf offers a unique set of challenges and learning how to manage your mental game could be the key to better scores, more enjoyment, and a healthier approach to playing the game. Here are 8 reasons why we think sport psychology is vital for golfers.

1. How can I become more Resilient on the Golf course?


Golf is hard. It’s a game where we are trying to limit our mistakes as much as possible, but we are fully aware that there will be some mistakes sprinkled into the round. To add to that, course and weather conditions can throw us off and we might even get the odd bad bounce here and there. Sport psychology can help golfers develop the resources to take on challenges and deal with the demands their round will inevitably throw at them.

Resilience can often be confused for pushing ourselves too hard and too far repeatedly until we break, which is a recipe for burnout. Being a resilient golfer is about knowing what to practice and playing smart, so you are prepared and can approach challenges confidently rather than overtraining and burning out.

2. How can I Improve my Golf Concentration & Focus?


Golf requires you to remain focused for a long time and maintaining high levels of concentration with hundreds of distractions is not easy. Sport psychology techniques can help raise awareness of potential distractions and equip the performer with coping tools rather than becoming wrapped up with the disturbance and forgetting about the important parts of performance.

A few areas we work on with golfers include:

  • Breathing and grounding techniques
  • Raising awareness and ensuring the client knows certain triggers and how to deal with them
  • Mindfulness and acceptance techniques to identify where the golfers focus is on the course (e.g. task-focused or mind wandering)

3. How do I overcome Golf Performance Anxiety?



Performance anxiety can be crippling at times, and it sucks the fun out of golf. It is incredibly common amongst golfers and this can be pre-round, 1st tee nerves or appear when walking up to a bunker shot or uncomfortable chip after just thinning it on the previous hole. Sport Psychology can help you to embrace the feelings you are experiencing and figure out how best to play alongside the anxiety rather than avoiding it or trying to get rid of it, only for it to come back again later down the line.

Working on tools to make anxiety more manageable can lead to improved performance in areas such as:

  • Matchplay
  • 1st tee nerves
  • Dreaded yardages where you are in between clubs
  • Bunker & chip shots
  • Nerve racking putts

4. How is Imagery used in Golf?


Most golfers I have worked with are starting to see the benefit of imagery scripts if they are struggling with a particular situation or shot out on the course. Being able to vividly imagine a shot that you are struggling with when you’re away from the course or when you are out injured can have massive benefits. Not only can imagery reduce feelings of anxiety when faced with the real-life situation, it can also help to build confidence & improve your muscle memory.

Imagery takes practice and working on a script should be a fun experience because you get to put your own stamp on things. Imagery considers all the senses and helps create a vivid picture of what you want to see yourself doing.

5. How can I Improve my Golf Confidence?


Confidence is more than just a feeling. By working with a Sport Psychologist you can start to identify what behaviours and actions breed confidence so you are able to take control rather than wait for that feeling. A lack of belief can be detrimental before and during your round and unfortunately, we will have times where we doubt ourselves on the course. Sport Psychology can help you understand your strengths, your sources of confidence and how you can tap into these on a regular basis.

Working on confidence is a process. We can do this through a number of ways and what gives one person confidence may be the opposite for another golfer. We are mindful of this and when addressing any confidence issues, we will consider:

  • A golfer’s preparation
  • Your practice schedule
  • What your day looks like pre-round
  • What processes (e.g. self-talk) and behaviours (e.g. pre-shot routines) you’re engaging with during your round
  • How you talk to yourself on the course
  • How you reflect on your round of golf & what you focus on post-round.

6. How can I Deal with Mistakes in Golf?


Although we know mistakes are commonplace within golf, we still don’t deal with them as well as we would like. How you manage mistakes on the golf course can often dictate how the rest of your round will go. Sport psychology can help you to build your toolkit of coping strategies so that when mistakes do arise, you can move past them, handle those uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and move into a better headspace.

Common mistakes we see that de-rail golfers’ rounds:

  • A bad first tee shot
  • Doubling down on a bad shot with another “miracle” shot which goes wrong
  • Inconsistent pre-shot routines
  • Rushing shots instead of resetting
  • Obsessing over a score (good or bad)
  • Comparing themselves to others
  • Not allowing room for bad shots/swings

7. Goal Setting for Golf 


We have seen lots of unrealistic goals set by golfers in the past, and we have probably been guilty of setting unrealistic goals with our own golf games as well! Sport psychology can help you to understand what is required to achieve your goals and we make sure that we are collaborating with you so that your goals are meaningful to you and not just set by us. Clear targets are set and we then provide you with the right tools and assist you every step of the way. When your goals are clear and you have a solid plan, you will notice a difference in your motivation and relationship with your golf game.

We can set goals in the following areas:

  • Practice goals
  • Goals for an upcoming tournament
  • Short, medium, and long-term goals
  • Goals for a specific round
  • Technique related goals
  • Psychological goals

8. Why is a Pre-Shot Routine important in Golf?


Having a consistent pre-shot routine is something that sounds so simple and obvious, yet so many do not take advantage of it OR do away with it when a mistake is made. These routines can provide a stable foundation that can assist with calming nerves, create a consistent approach to every shot and aid your attention and focus in pressurised situations.

Pre-shot routines do not have to be so regimented for all areas and you might find that they may differ for:

  • Tee shots
  • Approach shots
  • Chipping
  • Bunker play
  • Putting

9. How to Manage your Emotions on the Golf course


A round of golf will provide you with highs and lows and managing those intense emotions in a variety of situations can have a huge impact on your golf game. Working with a sport psychologist to help understand and regulate your emotions will help you when those inevitable challenges arise on the course. Whether those emotions come in the form of nerves ahead of a shot, frustration and anger after a missed opportunity, or over excitement after sticking an approach close, they all have the potential to upset your round if they are not managed.

Consider how the following emotions trigger different responses for you on the golf course:

  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Sadness
  • Worry
  • Joy

Spend some time stepping away from thinking emotions are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and consider how they can all be useful if you select the appropriate response.



These 9 areas are not an exhaustive list, but it’s a great starting point. Sport psychology can have tremendous on and off course benefits and we believe that the mental side of the game is just as important as the practice hours put in on the range or short game area.

Head over to Louis’ Instagram (@louismindframe) to watch his video series on how sport psychology can benefit golfers and fill out a contact form if you’d like to take your golf game to the next level.

Get in touch if you’d like to optimise your mindset and take your golf game to the next level. 

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