The steps you take and your mindset before a round have a massive influence on your golf game. Having a pre-round routine can help you get into the right frame of mind before you play. So we’ve put together a list of eight pre-round exercises to help you get in the right mental state. You don’t need to do every suggested step, just pick what suits you and make sure you can repeat it before every round.
1. Don’t set expectations too high
Think positive, after all, you’re playing golf. You could be in the office or hung up on the countless requirements of being a human being. Remember: you’re playing the game you love (even though sometimes you may hate it). Keep an open mind on what your score will be, go out to do your best and try to enjoy whatever the result is. If you feel positive about your round, the more you can focus on playing well. If you don’t have the best round ever, you can still enjoy your time out there and savor your best shots.
2. Visualize your success
When you’re on the way to the golf course, play the round through in your head, but make sure you’re scoring birdie on each hole. You don’t want to get hung up on the score you’re getting in your mind. Instead, remember the feeling of hitting perfect drives down the fairway and sinking birdie putts. Try to ingrain those positive memories and use them on the course. That way, those difficult tee shots won’t seem as daunting.
3. Stretch and warm-up on the range
Before you start to hit some balls on the range, have a physical warm-up and stretch. Start with some hip, neck and shoulder stretches. Then, hit some of the shots you’d expect on the course. Run through each hole in your mind again, but this time, hit these shots on the range.
4. Don’t be too critical of your warm-up
If you’re hitting the ball terribly on the range, this may not necessarily transfer to the course. Don’t start giving yourself a lesson over every little thing. A clear, focused mind is best before a round. You also don’t want to be too critical of your bad shots.
5. Fuel up
Make sure you eat and drink something before you play. Eat enough to keep yourself from being hungry, but not too much so that you become full. Furthermore, proper hydration before and during your round with help you maintain endurance on the later holes. Take some snacks like fruit and nuts to keep your energy levels up.
6. Practice your pre-shot routine
Practice your pre-shot routine on the range, which you should be practicing anyway. Having a repeatable pre-shot routine is a great way to get into the frame of mind to make your best swing.
7. Set goals
If your goal is to play your best round or win a tournament, then you may need to reevaluate. That is, unless your game is up to par and you think a tournament winning round is a reasonable expectation.
Everyone wants to play their best round every time out, but setting goals that you may not be able to achieve could make you feel negative about your day. There’s nothing worse than planning to have a stellar round and then going out and double-bogeying number one. Set goals that are attainable and that you can control. Try to focus on your pre-shot routine, a positive attitude throughout your round.
8. Make sure you’re prepared
An obvious one, but make sure you have your yardage book, GPS or rangefinder, plenty of tees, balls and even a new glove. The less negative distractions you have on the course, the better. Make sure you have everything you will need in advance.
— Joseph Mills