How can I handle a “bad day” on the golf course?

If frustration with your golf game turns into anger, your situation will become worse. Anger is only a temporary motivator resulting from a fear of failure. Anger releases the hormone adrenaline causing your muscles to tighten. Tight muscles produce a jerky uncontrolled swing causing miss-hits. The angrier you get, the more mistakes you make, confirming that you really are playing poorly.

Accept that there are going to be days when you feel that you aren’t in control of your mind and/or golf swing and use the following several ways to regain physical control.

  1. Don’t think about correcting your golf swing. Take practice swings to feel and regain your tempo and timing.
  2. Focus instead on the smooth pace of the swing. Stay balanced, steady and centered over the ball.
  3. Breathe deeply to relax your muscles and to slow down your brain waves for a sharper focus.
  4. Don’t swing harder than you can control. Swing at 80% of your power.
  5. Have a clear picture of your target in your mind. Swing down your target line without thinking about how to do it.

Use the following mental strategies for planning your shot before you start your pre-shot routine, not while you are standing over the ball.

  1. Change all negative thoughts to decisive confident thoughts.
  2. Let go of all good or bad expectations. Don’t add up your score until you are finished.
  3. Remember the good shots you hit in previous rounds.
  4. When you miss a shot, make sure you can recover. Think the shot through. Play only percentage shots.
  5. Stay patient and don’t give up. The game can turn around on the next shot.
  6. Convince yourself that the club in your hand is the perfect club for that shot.
  7. Let go of previously missed shots by planning your next shot.
  8. Commit yourself 100% to each shot. Give every shot full preparation of what you intend to make happen. This is what it means to “hit one shot at a time,” and to “stay in the moment.”

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

If you aren’t able to maintain a positive mental attitude on the golf course, email me at or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire. Ask about my 4 C’s program to overcome a lack of Control, Confidence, Concentration, and Consistency in your golf game.

To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home. Eight golf CDs are available at

Available now is a complete golfer’s guide for developing the mental skills to play in the zone. “THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” is available at and  All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf.

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