How to Focus Better in Golf: Improvement Begins in the Mind
Golf is a sport that affords you a lot of time for thinking, and, as a result, is a game that can feel like it’s unraveled completely after a few bad shots. Unfortunately, in a game where a round can last up to five hours, you get plenty of time to sap your own confidence and get caught up in your own head. So golf improvement often starts with knowing how to focus better – increasing your focus to decrease your score.
Over the hours you spend on the course, it is critical for your golf improvement that you keep your head in the game without overthinking to allow your skillset to shine through.
How to Focus Better: Golf Tips for Everyone
Take care of yourself – As is often the case, good hydration, good posture, and good sleep will make worlds of difference for your game. Being in the sun and on your feet for 5 hours or more can be physically draining, so focus on yourself before you focus on your swing.
- Don’t think too much about your shots – The next shot isn’t here yet; the last shot already happened. Between holes you should try to keep your mind in the present by practicing mindful breathing and focusing on what’s around you; use your five senses to stay grounded in the present!
- Practice your swing – The better you know your swing, the more comfortable and confident you’ll be when you’re in-between clubs, shooting from challenging positions, or simply knowing what you’re capable of. Remember that every swing has a few moving parts: your grip, alignment, rotation, follow-through – try to be aware of it all when you practice!
- Shift your focus at the ball – You’re done practicing; now it’s time to shift into golfer mode. Try and ask yourself two very simple questions before you approach the ball for your next shot: what am I trying to do and how am I going to do it? That will help you better assess what club you want to hit, where you want to try to land the shot, how hard you want to swing, and so on. Once you approach the ball, however, it’s time to stop thinking and let your skill take over.
Fun fact: A study conducted in 2003 concluded that the ideal object of your focus when you swing depends on how good your swing is. Beginner and intermediate players performed better when they were instructed to focus on the mechanics of their swing, while more advanced players benefited from exercises that directed their focus to where they wanted the ball to go. The researchers believed this happened because the advanced players’ swings were mechanically sound enough that focusing on them made them more likely to overthink and make a mistake than to improve them.1
- Take time for healthy reflection – To avoid unraveling, take a moment after every shot to assess what went right or wrong; stay as objective as possible and remember that this is a learning tool, not a moment for self-deprecation. After the moment passes, it’s time to move on to the next shot. Do the same thing after the round is complete so you can get a clear idea of what you can improve upon for next time – and how!
- Make good habits your routine – It is hard to stress enough the importance of making these tools for improvement a part of your golfing routine. In golf, improvement can be as gradual as the game itself, so you need a strong basis of positive habits handy to not only improve, but to consistently enjoy the game. A solid, repeatable routine based in positive self-reflection and smart practicing goes a very long way towards golf improvement.
Another cool trick to try is using smart compression to make it easier to slip past obstacles like wind, chatter, and sun; this is a specially-designed compression sleeve that makes it easier to focus by stimulating touch receptors in such a way as to help “clear the clutter” in your mind. If you want to know how to focus better in golf, this is a great place to start!
With eSmartr on your arm, your shots will already be primed to sail into success, but a good understanding of how to focus better in golf encompasses a lot. Remember, golf improvement should build on your enjoyment of the sport – it’s meant to be relaxing and fun! So take care of yourself and success will follow. A healthy body and a healthy mind (with some help from smart compression!) will get you there no problem.
1. Perkins-Ceccato, Natalie & Passmore, Steven & Lee, Timothy. (2003). Effects of focus of attention depend on golfers' skill. Journal of sports sciences. 21. 593-600. 10.1080/0264041031000101980.