Golf is a game that can be both exhilarating and frustrating. It can be stressful, and stress can affect performance and enjoyment. Knowing how to reduce stress will positively affect your game.
Here are 5 tips for playing stress-free golf.
- Confirm your distances for each club.
- Have backup plans for future problems.
- Warm up for your tempo and focus before your round.
- Know your tendencies.
- Having a One-Thing Mindset.
Losing your cool during a round could mean you add multiple strokes per round — or even that many on one score-killing hole.
But these tips have helped my clients and readers to reduce stress during a golf round, ultimately improving their performance and enjoyment. Let’s dive in!
5 Tips To Reduce Stress During a Round of Golf
1. Confirm Your Distances for Each Club
Knowing the distances for each club in your bag can help reduce stress during a round of golf. This is especially true for your wedge play and ½ and ¾ shots.
Having a feel-based system with a formula makes you feel relaxed over some tricky shots around the greens. For example, when I have a 30-meter shot onto the green, I have a reference point to tell me what to do. 30 meters = hip height feeling swing with my SW.
Take the time to confirm how far you hit each club by hitting a few shots with each club on the driving range or during a practice round. Once you know your distances, you can plan your shots and avoid second-guessing yourself during the game.
2. Prepare by Having Backup Plans for Future Problems
It’s essential to prepare for potential issues that may arise during a round of golf. Having pre-determined systems to stop you from hitting shots before you feel comfortable is critical.
You may have the best intentions to play a driver on every tee shot, but on the 3rd hole, you feel something is not right. When this happens, you need to be able to listen to the alarm bells ringing you your head and don’t be like most amateur golfers and have a “she will be right” attitude because we all know what happens to your golf shot after this.
Next time this happens, look to use this system. When you’re feeling uncomfortable, do this:
- Look to change the club you will hit, e.g., 3 wood instead of a driver on your tee shot.
- Change your target to make you feel more confident, worrying about OOB right, then aim in the left rough.
- Remembering a good past shot with your club in your hands gives you a far better chance to hit this shot well.
Remember, whenever we change our club or target, we play sub-optimal golf, which is fine when we feel scared or worried about the ball.
3. Warm Up for Your Tempo and Focus Before the Game
Warming up before a round of golf can help reduce stress and improve your performance. I am talking about warming up your tempo and focus. Getting you into the correct focus lets your natural rhythm works its magic.
Here are some goals for your warm-ups:
- Your biggest goal is to create good tempo and rhythm.
- Stop thinking about your swing, focus, and targets to help you prepare for your game.
- Warming up the golfing brain, planning for the first few holes you will play, and practicing these shots and clubs is a great way to get the round started in the right direction.
Pro-tip: If you are running late and only have 10 minutes before your tee time, please don’t rush to the range. Focus only on your putting and getting the pace of the greens. This is a great way to calm down and get more relaxed before you play
4. Knowing Your Tendencies
We all dislike our bad tendencies, but the best thing about them is that they are very reliable.
Knowing your weaknesses and how you tend to react can save us several shots and plenty of stress. For example, if you tend to slice the ball, aim a bit to the left to compensate. Similarly, if you tend to pull the ball to the left, when you look to overhit your shot, when you are between 8 or 9 iron distance, play the 8 iron, and now you can swing with your best tempo.
Don’t be afraid to ask yourself why I am getting scared when I have to hit the ball over water; then, you can create solutions to these problems. Knowing your tendencies can help you make better decisions and avoid costly mistakes.
5. Having a One-Thing Mindset
In my book, The Priority Golf System, I share a technqiue that has helped hundreds or even thousands of golfers: that’s a one-thing mindset.
Focusing on one thing at a time can help reduce stress during a round of golf. I am referring to when you are standing over the ball to hit your shot. Focusing on your swing cue or your target is an elite training skill that doesn’t have to be for elite golfers.
Having something to focus on for the duration of the swing holding your attention is a game changer for your tempo and stress levels. When thinking about my ONE THING, I can’t think about hitting poor shots. Instead of worrying about your score, you can focus on the next shot and give it your full attention.
How Do I Overcome First Tee Nerves?
To overcome first-tee nerves in golf, arrive early, practice visualization, take deep breaths, use positive self-talk, focus on your routine, and have a game plan. With practice and preparation, you can enjoy a stress-free round of golf.
How Do I Deal With Slow Play?
To deal with slow play in golf, stay patient, be prepared, play "ready golf," be courteous, speak with course staff if necessary, and consider playing during off-peak hours. It's important to remain calm and courteous when dealing with slow play.
What Should I Do if I Get a Bad Lie?
To deal with a bad lie in golf, assess the lie, adjust your stance, choose the right club, use the right technique, and consider taking a conservative approach if necessary. With practice, you can manage bad lies and still enjoy the game.
How Do I Stay Focused During a Round of Golf?
To stay focused during a round of golf, use a pre-shot routine, take deep breaths, stay present, use positive self-talk, stay engaged, take breaks if needed, and remember to have fun. By practicing these techniques, you can maintain focus throughout the round and enjoy a more stress-free game.
Reducing stress during a round of golf is crucial to improve performance and enjoyment. By confirming your distances for each club, preparing for potential problems, warming up for your tempo and focus, knowing your tendencies, and having a one-thing mindset, you can reduce stress levels on the golf course. Remember, golf is a game that should be enjoyed, so try out these tips and techniques for a stress-free round of golf.