By my estimation, I’ve played over three hundred rounds of golf in my life and have yet to shoot a sub 90 round. And that’s perfectly fine. I play golf twice a month if I’m lucky and rarely make it to the driving range. Also, I never took a professional lesson or coach.
I keep my expectations in check. I’ve hit balls into the water, woods, private yards, and occasionally failed to advance it past the ladies’ tee. Haven’t we all. But I’d play every day if I could because I love the sport, and I’ve learned to annihilate the mental stress that once consumed me.
How – you ask?
My pregame routine begins when I return home from my just-finished round or a visit to the driving range. I clean my clubs by wiping down grips and shafts and ensuring the clubface and grooves are free of packed dirt or sand.
Tees and balls are restocked, and I make sure ball markers, gloves, towels, and shoes are in their proper place in my bag. This way, the next time I’m heading out for around, I’m not rushing to get everything together at the last minute.
For a stress-free round, it’s imperative to arrive early at the golf course, at least 45 minutes prior to your round, an hour, preferably. It gives you plenty of time to check-in, hit thirty to forty balls on the driving range, and put on the practice green to get a feel for how the ball is rolling.
Ideally, you’d like to match your putting stroke to the speed of the green. When you can putt three balls from fifteen feet away each to within a foot of the green, you’ve accomplished this. You are now ready to head to the first tee.
In my early days of golf, the biggest stressor for me was always the possibility of being paired with strangers during my round. Golf courses do this to get as many players on the course as possible.
You can minimize this stress if you implement the strategies outlined in the next couple of paragraphs.
- First, introduce yourself with a friendly handshake. Tell your new partners you’re looking forward to a fun round. To this day, I like to make a self-deprecating remark that it’s best for everyone playing not to watch my swings, lest it ruins their golf game.
- Second, find something relatable with them. Ask where they live. If you see evidence of any sports team’s logo, you could start a discussion about that.
- Third, find out if they’ve played the course before. If they haven’t, offer tips on certain holes. Conversely, if the course is new to you but not them, ask them for any tips.
One caveat, if after a few holes, your partners don’t engage in many talks, it’s best to avoid banter. Know how to read the room.
Regardless of whether you’re playing with friends, strangers, or both, there are plenty of things you can do to make your round as stress-free as possible.
One of the most important is what I like to call course cognizance. Here are some simple tips to keep your round as stress-free as possible.
Often, after we lose a ball to an errant shot, we disgustedly reach into our bag and grab a ball without seeing what kind we’re hitting. Always know what type of ball you are playing. If possible, mark it somehow. Using your initials is best. It minimizes confusion on the green.
If you end up with multiple clubs on the green, for example, a pitching wedge and putter, place the wedge between the hole and the cart, or if walking, the hole, and your bag. There is nothing as stressful as losing a club and disrupting the pace of play while you backtrack along the course.
After you hit your shot, watch where it goes. I’ve seen many golfers through the years, myself included, stop watching a ball if it’s not striped down the center of the fairway. It increases the time to locate your ball as well as your heart rate.
Perhaps you’ve noticed there have been zero tips on how to hit a golf ball. I’m not a coach, nor do I make it a habit of dispensing advice on the course. I will say this, muscles love oxygen, so make sure you breathe properly.
Instead of chest breathing, learn to breathe through your belly. Belly breathing slows your heart rate and will keep you relaxed and energized throughout your entire round.
More information about this sport, you can found on golftreasury.com.
For me, there’s nothing better than a beautiful day on a golf course. But it can be a nerve-wracking endeavor if you show up late and unprepared, flinch at having to play with strangers and have poor course awareness.
By implementing the strategies you’ve just read, I guarantee your round will be more enjoyable. The great Bobby Jones said that golf is played mainly on a five and a half-inch course… the space between our ears. Truer words have never been spoken.
There is an online course by Jeff Richmond, where he teaches more in-depth on this topic. But, before buying that training, please go through a review from this site to know more, and decide if it’s a good fit or not for you.