We’ve all been there. A good round goes south, and before you know it you’re tossing clubs and kicking up turf like a lunatic. Keep these tips in mind so that you’re never that golfer again.
Play with good people. For most of us, golf is a social endeavor—unless you’re a pro, and every shot really is sink or swim. A good foursome will help you manage your game. They’ll pick you up when you’re missing four-footers and cut you down to size if you develop delusions of grandeur. Does your brother-in-law’s ranting make it impossible to enjoy the game? Leave him out next time you’re planning a round. And don’t forget, this goes both ways. Nobody cares what your handicap is, so focus on bringing good vibes to the course.
Embrace “good enough.” So a shot didn’t turn out how you wanted. Is it hittable? Can you reach the green? Sometimes that alone is cause for celebration.
Remember, it’s a game. Golf, as frustrating as it can be at times, is also a few hours spent in good company (see the first tip). Enjoy it. After the play is finished, treat your group to a round of refreshing Michelob ULTRA and some food, and plan your next outing.
Take care of your body. Starting the day before a round, make sure you’re doing everything you can to prep. So stay hydrated, stretch the night before and give yourself plenty of range time. Make sure to eat well before teeing off, and pack a snack.
Keep a consistent mindset. The reason most players can’t go from the practice range to the course is because they change their mindset. Each time you approach a shot, pick the target, align yourself and execute that one swing. Do the same thing each time, and don’t let what happened on the #3 bunker follow you throughout the day.
Fake a smile. Studies have shown that the act of smiling—even when it’s forced—helps to reduce stress. So if you’re in a slump, just fake a good time.
Be realistic about your game. Ever wonder why courses have so many sets of tees? It’s so that you can pick one that suits your game. Playing a length that’s outside your skill level is like buying a one-way ticket to Anger Town. The same thinking holds true for how you choose your shots. If your only approach is a draw over water to a tucked pin placement, lay up to the right. When it comes to managing your mindset, bogies are fine. It’s blowup holes that’ll push you over the edge.