How can I avoid making big numbers in my golf game?

There are many mental factors that make up a consistent round of golf, such as desire, realistic expectations, and confidence in your ability to perform. Consistency comes from practicing your skills until you are confident that you can execute the shot or putt. But physical practice is not enough. You must believe that you can do it time after time under all kinds of conditions. Mental conditioning is what separates the great players from the field.

Here are seven ways to improve your mental game for consistent scoring:

  1. The short game.  To win you need to score lower than anyone else. It is necessary to practice the parts of your game that will lead to lower scores. Most golfers think that long drives will bring low scores by giving them birdie and eagle opportunities. This kind of thinking does not produce steadiness. In fact, most of the shots you hit are the ones that require less than a full swing. To score consistently, spend your practice time in this ratio: 63% short game: (chipping, pitching, sand shots, putting) 37% full swings from the driver through the wedge.
  2. Putting.  Putting is a game within a game and can be up to 40% of your score. Develop a feel on the greens for consistency. Give every size putt the same amount of time and attention. Use the same pre-putt routine every time. Use the same tempo on every size putt. Believe in your ability to relax, roll the ball well, and feel the distance.
  3. Eliminate three-putts. One of the differences between amateurs and pros is the number of three-putts in a round. Pros focus more on distance than line on their long putts so the next putt will be within three feet for an easy two-putt. Their success rate in doing this is 90% of the time. Practice putting 30 to 60-foot putts to determine your length stroke for each distance. By getting a better feel for these distances you will have more confidence to roll the putt within three feet.
  4. The pre-shot routine. To be consistent you need to have a consistent pre-shot routine. Having the same routine on every shot enables you to play automatically letting your learned skills take over. The routine keeps your mind focused on the present moment. If you vary your routine from shot to shot you can expect inconsistent results. Program your mind so it is conditioned to do the same routine on every shot and putt.
  5. Your Personality.  Players who are consistent in the way they live their lives off the golf course will usually hit more fairways and greens than players who like to “grip it and rip it.” If you are a person who likes action rather than routine, you need to change your thoughts, attitudes, and actions to program consistency rather than excitement. Instead of trying to hit the longest drive of your life on each hole, set a goal for yourself such as hitting 8 or 10 fairways. Instead of trying to get the most out of the club each time, take more club and swing smoothly to ensure hitting the greens.
  6. Percentage Golf. Do not try to hit shots that you are indecisive about. For example, if you are having trouble hitting your driver in the fairway, drive with your 3-metal. Hit your 9-wood instead of a long iron if you have more confidence in it. If you aren’t hitting your irons well, take one more club hitting into the greens to avoid the bunkers in front of the green. If you aren’t confident about your bunker play, focus on relaxing to get the ball on the green instead of trying to get it close. Don’t hit any shots that you don’t own. Plan each shot carefully so you don’t turn one mistake into two.
  7. Remain Positive.  Change any limiting beliefs you have about yourself and your game. Enhance your self-image by seeing yourself as the player you know you can be even though you miss a shot. Talk to yourself on the golf course positively seeing only the solution to each situation instead of thinking negatively about the “what ifs” that could happen.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

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, available at

If you aren’t able to score consistently and believe in yourself on the golf course, email Joan 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.

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All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.




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