Jon Sherman Profile picture
Jul 3 25 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
If you are serious about lowering your handicap, you better work on your mental game.

Here are 9 powerful and actionable mental techniques any golfer can use

* This is not the same-old stuff

1) A Commitment to Fun

Yes, you heard me correctly.

Too many golfers lose sight of why they are playing in the first place.

You are there to enjoy yourself; embrace it!
Things can go awry when you start taking golf too seriously and focus too much on the performance aspect.

Always remember this is not your job; it is your leisure.

A surprising side benefit is you'll likely play better and shoot lower scores by relieving pressure on yourself.
2) No One Gives a Sh*t

Golfers are selfish and mostly care about their own games.

We will all embarrass ourselves in front of each other.

Once you accept that and stop worrying about what others think, your game will be in a better place.
3) Stop Being a Control Freak

Golf tricks us into believing we have more control than we do.

Drawing the line between what we can control and what we can't control is transformational.
Here are my "Big 3" of what you can control

• Preparation: practice, studying a course, etc.

• Routine: exerting total control over how you approach each shot

• Your Reaction: how you process each shot, emotional and analytical responses
Here's what you *cannot* control

• Variability of technique: each day, a different golfer shows up. It's frustrating, but you have to accept it!

• The Universe: golf is played in the elements and on uneven terrain. You'll get a bad gust of wind or an "unlucky" bounce.

4) Staying in the Moment

Golf is a battle between the past and future.

We ruminate on shots that have already occurred.

We also worry about shots that haven't happened.
Introducing mindfulness and meditation techniques to your game can help fight this battle.

Though, you'll never win it.

There are ways to keep your focus on the "now" when you play.

Routine, breathing, taking a moment to soak in the experience.
5) Growing Your Grit

The word grit often gets a bad rep.

You don't always have to be grinding and white-knuckling it through your rounds to see better results.

Grit is a "perseverance and passion for long-term goals."
Every golfer needs grit.

The game frustrates and challenges you all the time.

Your grit is the fuel that keeps your mind focused on your long-term goals.

It helps you solve problems and remain patient rather than throwing in the towel.
6) The "Caring" Game

Golfers play their best when they can exist between the space of caring too much or not at all.

This is *very* hard to do, but you can get better.
One extreme is living and dying at the result of each shot.

That's no way to enjoy the game or get better.

You can't panic or peacock your way around the course.

The rollercoaster is not sustainable.
But the other end of the spectrum can be just as damaging.

You are not engaged enough when you give up or don't care at all.

Finding a middle space is different for each golfer, but something worth reflecting upon.
7) Swing Thoughts

Most golfers default to thinking about their swing mechanics before, during, and after each shot.

We are trained to think about our swings at all times.

But what if there was another way?
Swing thoughts are "internal" and focused on what your body is doing.

Though not completely damaging, having only one or two can be productive.

However, many golfers can see tremendous results by focusing on "external" or "neutral" thoughts.
External could be focusing on brushing a blade of grass in front of the ball.

Neutral could be humming a song to yourself (I do this when I putt).

There are plenty more examples, but give these a try when you practice or even on the course.

It can be a total revelation!
8) A Pre-Shot Routine

Your routine before every shot is your chance to get into a "mental foxhole."

This is your little zone that you have complete control over.

It helps mitigate many of the game's mental challenges, but you have to spend time and effort building one.
It doesn't have to be long, but it should be intentional.

Your goal is to get into as much as an "autopilot" or reactive state as you approach the ball.

There are three phases...
• Analysis: examing the conditions you face (distance, lie, etc)

• Preparation: Standing behind the ball and establishing your thoughts for the shot

• Execution: Crossing an "imaginary line" and initiating your swing with commitment

Hang your hat on routine!
9) Post-Shot Routine

When the shot is over, you can take a few seconds to absorb what happened.

• Identify a good shot and internalize it


• Do a quick, objective analysis of impact and ball flight feedback if things didn't go so well.
It can be helpful if you can develop a quick system for yourself to go through this process.

The most important part...

Once the shot is over, it is OVER.

Close the door on it and move on to the next one.
I hope you enjoyed these thoughts; if you want more of them, you should check out my weekly newsletter.

Every Wednesday, I help 40,000+ golfers lower their handicaps and increase their enjoyment of golf.

Sign up here (it's free):
I hope you've found this thread helpful.

Follow me @practicalgolf for more.

Like/Retweet the first tweet below if you can:
Also, all the thoughts from this thread are excerpts from my book, The Four Foundations of Golf. It's been a best-seller for the last year 🤗

You can learn more here

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Jun 26
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I've learned a ton about clubfitting and club design over the last 7+ years.

Here is a mega-thread that will make you a smarter consumer and avoid the marketing fluff 👇
The biggest myth is that clubfitting is only for better golfers.

If anything, higher handicaps stand *more* to gain from playing the right clubs.

Skilled players can get away with suboptimal equipment more.

Don’t make golf harder for yourself!
Buying off the rack is almost always a mistake.

If you want a return on your $$$, you must test to see if a new club will provide a tangible benefit.
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This is one of the top problems holding them back from taking their game to the next level.

I wish I had known these things when I took up the game 25+ years ago 👇
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But most golfers only define a good tee shot as hitting the fairway.

That's a mistake. Here's why...
Recreational golfers, even most scratch players, hit less than 50% of fairways.

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You can play great golf and drive it less than 250 yards. Image
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One of these putts from Rory has to drop, right?
I am cursing
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It took me 25 years, but I finally removed these ten things from my golf game.

I am a happier and better player because of it.

You all probably struggle with some of these too!

1: Fighting Golf

For over 15 years, I didn't understand golf's volatility.

How could my game change *that* much within 24 hours?

I try not to fight it anymore. I'm just giving in.

I focus more on what I can control.
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I am not a swing instructor.

So I stopped tinkering around with my technique.

I don't take videos or think about it at all.

It's locked away in a mental box somewhere.
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Walking the golf course is an absolute no brainer.

That’s it, that’s the tweet.
Me waiting on tweets explaining why people can’t walk their course
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Golfers complain that they practice and never see results.

That's because they're doing it all wrong!

Here are 7 practice methods that have been instrumental in getting my handicap down to a +2 👇
Successful practice essentially boils down to one thing...


You can't show up at the range, mindlessly rifle through a bunch of balls, and expect results.

You need a plan.

And you need to be properly engaged.

These methods can help...
1. Random Practice

Introduce some change on each shot.

Most common is picking a different club or target.

I find this works best on wedge play and putting but can be done with any club.

It will also challenge your skill more and help increase engagement on each shot.
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