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Do You Know the Eight Basic Mental Skills for Golf? 

You Better If You Are Serious About Playing Your Best!

The basics of your physical game—grip, stance, ball position, etc—are not unlike the basics of your .mental game.  Both require frequent checking and tweaking to keep them strong.  And both can easily slip from good to bad with little notice.  If you don’t know what they are, how can you fix ‘em?

If you are like most players, you can quickly recite with confidence the basics of your physical game, but, may have to guess at the basic mental skills.  Until today!  Now you can you can get a quick  lesson on what they are and how to improve them.

Mental Skills Training 101—

Know the Eight Basic Mental Skills for Golf, and Have at Least One Idea for Improving Them

How many of the eight basic mental skills for golf can you name?  After reading this article you will not only know what they are, you will also have a simple idea for improving one of the most challenging ones.

If you take the time to learn and manage your mental skills just as you probably do your physical skills, your golf is guaranteed to be more fun—and not just because you will be playing infinitely better!


As with managing your physical skills, using your best mental skills starts with awareness. For example, if you want to quickly and effectively reduce lost strokes in a particular area of your game, you must first understand what is causing the lost strokes.

Without awareness, you can literally spend months and even years working on symptoms, never really hitting on the real cause of those lost strokes!.  Ultimately you can be left wondering “why isn’t my game getting better?”.  In fact, the harder you work on the wrong things, the more problems you can actually develop.

This is a lot like trying to get rid of a headache without knowing what is causing it.  You can take ibuprofen for your headache and it will go away for awhile but if you do not treat the underlying cause—poor vision, hormonal imbalance, stress, etc.—you will be taking more medicine when it returns. You could keep treating the symptom until your excessive use of ibuprofen creates a bleeding ulcer and then you will have “two” problems instead of “none”.

Sample Profile

One of the quickest ways to familiarize you with the 8 basic skills is to show you a profile for a top college player. Take a quick look at this player's profile to familiarize yourself with the 8 basic mental skills for great golf. As you do, think about your last round and ask yourself where you think you might score on each of these 8 skills.

[This profile was created from a 15 minute online golf mental skills questionnaire used to create the GolfPsych Game Book, a popular primer for mental skills training used by teaching professionals, college coaches, golf schools and college programs teaching golf psychology.]

Game Book Mental Skills Profile

Tips for Improving Your Skills

Following is one "Quick Tip" from the GolfPsych Game Book for one of the mental game skills that time and again proves to be among the hardest for golfers to manage.

Review this quick tip to give you an idea how you can practice mental skills training along with your physical skills training. If you feel your mental skills could be sharper in this area, make it your goal to start incorporating these recommendations in your practice and your play. You are certain to see improvements.

GolfPsych Game Book "Quick Fix" for Focus = T&T

For a simple and quick way to strengthen or sharpen your focus you can use a method we call T & T, which stands for Target & Tempo. Here are the basic steps.

Practice− Using a small bucket of balls, challenge yourself by seeing how many of the balls in the bucket you can hit with A DEFINITE TARGET and GREAT TEMPO.

Choose a target that is small enough to challenge you but not so small that you feel pressure to perform. Hit a variety of shots with your attention on Target and Tempo rather than any external or internal distractions.

For putting, take 3 balls and putt from various locations around the hole. Challenge yourself to execute as many putts as possible with concern for only your target (location on the hole, or a spot between you and the hole) and a smooth tempo. Repeat with several holes and several types of putts.

Keep “score” during your practice by recording the number of shots you were able to execute with good Target and good Tempo, not by how many of your putts actually found their target. Repeat as necessary until you are able to get your T & T percentages between 50% and 85%.

Play− Commit to playing a round of golf with your single goal being to match or beat the T & T goal of 50%. Let go of all concerns for the score or your swing, etc. during this round. Raise the bar in subsequent rounds until you can exceed your practice percentages.

Note: Consider getting your own personal GolfPsych Game Book if:

--You would like to better understand how each of these 8 basic mental skills relate specifically to your play

--You are not sure which of the 8 basic mental skills you most need to strengthen

--You want Quick Tips for any of the other 7 basic mental skills

--You feel you are ready for more than the Quick Tip provided to help you with the important mental skill of focus.


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