The game of golf requires concentration and focus but you must know when, where and how to apply them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to improve the mental side of your golf game.

1. Warm Up and Prepare

A golfer must pay attention to what’s going on in the game around him or her. The first and most important area of focus must be on your own game. Consider how you’re hitting the ball, how your body feels today, whether you are rested or have had a stressful day.

Begin tuning in to these details while warming up on the practice range. Start slow and easy, using the shorter clubs then moving up. Don’t overdo it, pace yourself, and let your body tell you when and how much to push. Decide which club you’ll use on the first tee, and practice with this club last right before you leave the range. Remember to relax and enjoy your round.

2. Attitude is Everything

What the mind can envision the body can achieve. Essentially, you must have a positive attitude. You must believe that you can attain your goals.

All achievement begins with a positive attitude. It is crucial, then, that you don’t get too down on yourself if you hit a wayward or bad shot. Many players will take one poor shot into the next shot and before you know it, one bad shot has cascaded into a bad game.

On the other hand, one good shot can set the stage for a wonderful game. It’s all between the ears. The best players know that a positive attitude is an essential precursor to great performance.

3. Don’t Fix Mistakes on the Course

When you’re a high handicapper, a bad shot can be your road to ruin if you choose to fix it on the course. More often than not, the best advice is to forget about it and move on. If you try to correct it without knowing the exact cause of your mistake, you may end up creating more problems which could spiral into a bad game. Let it go for now, and save the fixing of a problem for the driving range.

4. Take Some Downtime

A question to consider: What should you do mentally and physically in those minutes between shots?

Well, if the last shot was a bad one then “shake it off” and don’t take it with you. Enjoy the scenery, talk to your playing partners, whistle a happy tune, have a drink, stretch a little.

If it was a wonderful shot, enjoy the endorphins that seem to develop in response to performance, producing a positive state of mind. And of course enjoy the scenery, talk to your playing partners, whistle a happy tune, have a drink, stretch a little.

Fully relax and enjoy these minutes when you’re not playing. Begin to concentrate on the next shot when you approach the ball and begin your pre-shot routine.

5. Take the Pressure Off

Recently I had a great round of golf. I hit the ball well, made some great putts, and played with compatible partners.

The question is, why can’t it always be like this? I believe it’s because whenever we play well we put pressure on ourselves to play better the next time. Why not be satisfied with where we’re at? Perhaps if we could, then every game would be wonderful.

The next time you’re out and start to feel stressed or dismayed that your game isn’t better than last time, remember to play against the course and not against yourself.