Many books and other sources of golf tips for beginners cover the technical aspects of playing golf very thoroughly, but do not prepare the new player for the mental side of the game. Golf can be a very frustrating sport and one where your game (and your reputation) can go rapidly downhill if you do not master the skill of anger management and keeping a positive mindset.
The most important thing to learn is to accept any bad shots and move on. This sounds simple on paper or on your computer screen but when you are out there on the course it is easy to start up with the ‘if onlys’, going over other ways that you could have played the shot, or even wanting to take it again with another ball just to prove that you could have done better. This is not good for your game and is irritating for your playing partners. Save it for your next practice session.
Although your game will improve a great deal with practice and a good coach, some people simply have more strength or flexibility in their bodies than others. It can be frustrating to see other people practicing less and playing better but that’s life. Try to concentrate on your own game without constantly comparing yourself with others.
If you suffer from arthritis or other stiffness in the back or shoulders, it may be difficult to learn a good straight swing. Certain exercises that involve slow movement are very good for increasing flexibility and awareness of the body. These include tai chi, qi gung and yoga. Tai chi, which is often taught as a martial art, is popular with men.
It can be very useful to experiment with your game when you are beginning, and later in your golfing career too. You can decide on an approach that you will take for a particular round, stick to it all through and then evaluate where it was useful and where it was not. For example you might decide to play safer shots all around the course, and you might find that this worked well on some particular holes, but not others. This is very useful information and will teach you a lot about your own game as well as how to play different holes and courses.
Visualization is another mental technique that can have a positive effect on your game. With every shot, try visualizing the ball arriving on the green and rolling straight into the hole. Accept bad shots and let them go, focusing on the positive. Think of the advancements you have made in your game, or what you can learn from that shot, or just enjoy the physical activity of playing golf.
While it is possible of course to improve your game, it will never be perfect. If you are a perfection-seeker then golf will either teach you a different mindset or frustrate you to the edge of a coronary. The perfect game of golf, after all, would be 18 holes-in-one. Did you ever hear of anybody doing that?
Most players are able to handle a bad shot or a bad round but a bad run where your play seems to have deteriorated for no clear reason can be difficult to deal with. Usually this is just chance and things will soon turn around for you. If not, you could try taking a few lessons. This is likely to help in the long term although experimenting with new playing styles could have a negative effect at first.
Understanding your mindset and the emotions that a good or bad game arouses is as important as taking in any technical golf tips for beginners.