Best Way to Relax When Playing Golf

Golf is not a game where most people do their best when they try their hardest. Some players imagine they would hole a putt for a million dollars, others if it were to win the British Open. In reality, golf is a game which most people play best when feeling as relaxed as possible.

Tension in the shoulders, arms and hands is usually detrimental to performance. If you feel tension on the golf course, learn to breathe properly.

Playing Golf Best Way to Relax When Playing Golf

Breathe out a few times.

For most golfers it is better to tackle the most important of events by thinking of them as ‘just another round’. A friendly round with a few pals is the situation best suiting most people’s games. The reason is that there is someone to relax with, someone to talk to. You tend to hit the ball, forget it, and carry on a conversation. You get to the next ball, switch off from the conversation and onto the shot. It tends to stop you from thinking from one shot to the next and making judgements too soon.

But in a competition situation it is easy for the game to be played in silence. Each player wants to do her best. Perhaps you are faced with someone you have never met before. You find her intimidating. She probably finds you intimidating. After the round you sincerely hope you never meet her or play with her again. And yet, in reality, there is nothing wrong with either of you! With no conversation you both start thinking forwards, worrying about the shot ahead, thinking of the past errors and trying too hard to make a score. The game gets slower and slower. The good shots are stifled by trying too hard. And the usual comment after the round is that you couldn’t concentrate.

There are two ways of concentrating on the course. The first is to wrap yourself in a cocoon of concentration on the first tee, trying not to let any extraneous thoughts permeate the outer shell. The second way is to learn to switch on to the shot and to switch off between shots. This is how most golfers play their best. Trying to concentrate too hard tends to create tension.

The key is to be able to relax and then pinpoint concentration when you arrive at the ball. To relax, if you find this difficult, imagine that tension is a liquid inside the body Take a few deep breaths and hang the arms down. Imagine the tension, a warm pink fluid, literally dripping into little pools beneath your hands.

To focus your attention and cast aside any unwanted thoughts of the previous conversation, make a statement to yourself. ‘Hello ball. Here I am, 150 metres from the target. That is a 4 iron. I want to hit it to the best of my ability’ Switch on, focus on the ball and the target. Hit it, forget it, walk. Most players find it harder to switch off after the shot than to switch on before it. If you have to play in silence with a playing partner you don’t know, learn to cope with it. Switch on, switch off. Letting your mind wander is far less tiring than focusing on the ball from start to finish.

Playing Golf 1 Best Way to Relax When Playing Golf

Never think of the shot facing you until you reach the ball. Don’t predict what club you need until you are right there – not even 10 metres before. The shot can look very different when you reach it. Don’t waste effort thinking about it too soon.

See the game as being made up of a number of separate shots. Just play each to the best of your ability. Don’t aim for making a score but just let it happen. A real key is to assess your motivation for shots. Champions want to do their best shot every time; club golfers often have a fluctuating level of trying. One shot seems unimportant, another very important. Perhaps they are being watched. Maybe it is a shot over water. Perhaps they arc scoring very well. Pressure mounts.

I he correct way to approach the game is to think rationally: ‘I want to do the shot to the best of my ability.’ This is a far less pressurized way of approaching the game. Each should he approached methodically.

An ideal way of seeing the correct mental approach is playing a Texas Scramble. In this you all, of course, drive, but then you take the best drive, you all hit from that point, and so on. What this does is to teach players not to link shot to shot. There is an element of surprise. It is usually easier to forget one shot and then not think of the next until the choice is made. You learn to separate the shots mentally, seeing one shut at a time.

Develop a golfing method that will stand up under pressure. Many golfers do one thing on the practice ground, then change their technique on the course and finally change it again when it really matters. The likely change now usually involves unnecessary slowing down and trying too hard. Instead of hitting every shot to the best or her ability and leaving it at that, the player probably tries to force the shot. Now she sees the shot as vital, has a couple of practice swings, hitches up the glove, fiddles with the clubhead, isn’t satisfied with its cleanliness. She then moves behind the ball to choose a spot and can’t seem to find one.

Playing Golf 2 Best Way to Relax When Playing Golf

Eventually, the decision having been made, she moves round to address. She then looks up once, twice, three times. Each has a more pained and worried expression than the one before. Eventually, after much pondering and far more shuffling than normal, she seems ready to make a strike. There is silence and stillness. The tension is all too apparent… she then decides that her trolley is in the wrong position and starts all over again!

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