It happened, after having a good warm up and high hopes to have a great round, you triple bogied the first hole. What a downer! You’re probably thinking why do I even play this damn game. However, all does not have to be lost.
Being mentally tough can bring a round back from the grave. The right mindset can turn that first hole disaster into one of your best rounds, if not even be your best. Many times, terrible starts can lead to some really great golf rounds and even record rounds. During Tiger’s record win at Augusta in 1997 at 18 under par, he shot 40 on the very first 9! I’m sure he didn’t have a triple but it probably felt like it to him. But guess what, he refocuses and shoots 30 on the back nine for a smooth 70.
Many positive things can happen from a bad start, but you must know how to allow your game to enter a state of peak performance.
- Release the emotions of the bad start. Maintaining composure is a must to get your game back on track. Take some deep breaths. Fully feel the emotion in your body and let it go with each out breath. Notice where the tension is in your body and breath into that area of the body.
- Assess what went wrong during the previous hole. Were you distracted by thoughts about life in general, were you not warmed up, were you tense or have negative energy or have some alignment or swing issues? Did you have the right strategy for the hole?
- It is important when you get to the next tee that your focus be present for the golf shot to come. Use the time wisely between green and tee to let it all go and be ready for your next tee shot. To get focused you must dive deep into your pre-shot concentration routine (see previous article) you have developed. This will extinguish all the bad thoughts and get you focused on what you need to think about for peak execution of your next shot.
- Develop some mental toughness thoughts for when bad performing instances show up. Ask yourself, where do my thoughts need to be in order to turn this round around? Set a goal to get back to par or bogey golf for the round (depending on your skill level). Generally, I do not like scores as a goal because they do not say anything about execution to make that score happen. However, in the wake of a disaster hole or two, a score goal can increase your focus and determination as well as make the rest of the round meaningful to you.
- If blowing up the first hole is a habit for you, try a mindset on the first tee that you are already 3 over par. A better focus could be triggered from the get go for your round to be off to a good start.
- Remember, every round can and should be utilized as practice to get better. Focus and learn what works to get your round back on track. If you are having a great round, keep the feeling of confidence in mind so you can look back and try and channel the mindset during a round that isn’t going so well. I always tell golfers to have a go to experience (preferably with positive emotion) that they can remember to bring up the confidence and composure they had during that peak performing round.
Tips courtesy of Mental Golf Tips. Check out more from Mental Golf Tips and sign up for a free 4-day mini course.