Golf Tips: Mental Toughness after a Bad Hole

Let’s be honest. Have you ever started your round with a horrible first hole or somewhere in the round the triple bogey monster comes up and bites you? My guess is yes and then you allow this tiny little unfortunate mistake to engulf your entire being and the round goes to hell in a hand basket. It happens to all of us and it will happen again.

So, what can we do about it when a bad hole creeps up and makes itself at home in your brain or your concentration takes a nose dive? The key is to be prepared mentally for these shocker moments and get yourself back on track.

Things to Think about and Practice Mentally

Don’t try to be a hero!

Bad shots will happen to us all and do your best not to try a heroic shot to make up for the unfortunate shot. Sometimes we simply need to ‘take our medicine’ and get the ball back into play. Trying to be a hero on a shot you may or may not feed confident with may lead to a snowball effect of multiple ‘unfortunate’ shots which lead to a bigger number on the scorecard than just taking a deep breath, being mentally tough and getting the ball back into play to minimize the negative effect.

No time to start analyzing swing!

If you hit a bad shot, turning your focus to analyzing your swing takes you away from focusing on the shot you want to hit. It also takes you away from engaging in the target and can create a multitude of miss-hits. It is just one swing, one shot–let it go.

Be your own best friend!

What would your BFF say to you after you miss-hit the shot? Would you hear, “That’s OK. The shot is over. Get back to your routine and let’s refocus on the target and realize you are a great player?” That is what I would hear from my BFF. So why would you slam yourself down…be y0ur best friend and support yourself from the inside out.

Let you Ego go…the score is not who you are as a person

The pro on the tours don’t allow for a miss-hit or bad hole to change their focus and belief that is was just a simple error. They allow it to roll off their back and they move on. It is up to you to let the hole go. It is over; there is nothing you can do about it; time to stay in the present. You are not your score or even one shot. You are you and you can play the game.


It is not overrated–breathing is essential to life and to the golf game. Learn how to take a long deep breath in and let it out slowly to help you relax and refocus after a bad hole. The more oxygen in–the better you can change the way you think.

Re-frame Attitude

You have a great opportunity after a bad shot/hole to re-frame the way you think. Recall all the good shots you have hit and replay them over and over again to ease the ‘pain’ of the unfortunate hole and flood the receptors with nothing but positive thoughts. This will get you back on the right thinking path.

Stay in the Present

Your best golf will always be played from the present. You cannot change the past (what just happened) and you cannot predict the future, so the present is where you should spend your brain time!

Final Thoughts

Golf is an amazing game and it is a sport that you play solely with your brain. It is you and your brain that tees it up every shot, so why not make it your BFF and practice using it to be your friend and not your foe.

The above tips will help you on your way to better golf. Give them a try and share with us your thoughts.


‘keep smiling and always believe’

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Written by BP Staff

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