golf tips | Mind

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1. Think about the shot you’ve got next. It helps you forget a bad shot. If I mess up, as I walk to the ball I will start thinking about my next shot – instead of walking thinking about the bad shot. Use the time to think about the possibilities, what you can do and what you can’t. In that way you build positive instead of negative images on a shot that’s gone. It helps me stay patient.
Retief Goosen, Tour pro

2. The best tip I ever had was to be careful about who I listened to. Golfers are often too ready to take advice from anyone and everyone. But often it does more harm than good. Accept advice only from someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Alan Williamson, head pro, Gower GC

3. Attitude is everything. A lot of people have said that and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s true as it keeps you in the right frame of mind and helps you save shots, making up for a lot of golfing ills.
Bob Tway, Tour pro

4. Beat bad temper by carrying a baby’s dummy in your bag. Contract with yourself that if you
lose it, you have to get the dummy out and suck on it for the whole of the next hole. Your feeling of absurdity will help prevent temper loss again!
Hugh Davenport, Occupational and Organisational Psychology lecturer

5. Never give up. My father always stressed the importance of keeping going and to always believe in my ability. However I’m doing, I’ll always try my best on the next shot.
Sergio Garcia, Tour pro

6. My father gave me a tip that has worked over generations of playing the game: “Tempo over temper”. He told me that when I was 12 and I’ve never forgotten it. I couldn’t pick out for you one time when the tip has worked for me because I have probably used it every day since then. When things aren’t going well, keep your anger in check and focus on the rhythm of your swing. It’ll do far more for your score than throwing a paddy.
Sandy Lyle, Tour pro

7. Always enjoy it. It’s easy to get caught up with how well (or badly) you’re playing. Keep looking forward to the next shot – never back.
Mal Bailey, TG senior designer

8. Keep it simple. It’s a thought process I’ve obtained from a lot of people in the game. Basically, the less I think about what to do the better! Don’t let your swing get overcomplicated.
Michael Campbell, Tour pro

9. My best tip has got to be to set yourself a reasonable target for your ability. That helps you develop patience, which is critical at any level – whether you’re a 20 or 10- handicapper or a Tour player. You’ve got to play with reasonable expectation levels, but so often I see club players get annoyed when they don’t pull off shots a Tour pro would be proud of. Don’t try and shoot 10 under your handicap. Work with what you’ve got.
Stuart Appleby, Tour pro

10. The most important factor as far as I am concerned is to simply be a modest golfer. My father taught me to always be modest and patient both on and off the golf course.
K J Choi, Tour pro

11. Believe in yourself. Before the 1999 US Masters, Gary Player stressed the importance of this to me. It was a very intense session – he looked me straight in the eye – and sometimes that’s what you need. It worked; I won my second Masters.
Jose Maria Olazabal, Tour pro

12. When chipping, imagine a black spot under the ball. ‘See’ the black spot after you’ve struck the ball. It keeps me still and helps my striking.
Andy Calton, TG editor

13. Stay hopeful and try until the end. It’s important to stay optimistic on the golf course. You never know when there’s a run of five birdies around the corner.
Thomas Levet, Tour pro

14. Picture your golf swing as ”two turns and a swish”. This is a John Jacobs classic I first read this in his book Practical Golf when learning to play. Blending a good body action with a free release of the hands and arms still forms the basis of my teaching philosophy with many amateur golfers
Mark Pearson, senior teaching pro, De Vere Belfry

15. Picture a drawing pin sticking out of the back of the ball – tap it in with the putter face. This was a Tom Watson tip I first read when I was learning the game. It gives you a firm strike and stops you faffing about. It’s important to be as purposeful as possible on those nervy shorties, and this image has always helped the folks I teach.
Adrian Fryer, TG expert and head
pro,Drivetime, Warrington

16. When you are setting up for your shot and are not 100% comfortable, walk away and re-compose yourself. You will save yourself so many shots while keeping your head.
Tommy Eatenton, TG reader

17. When getting ready to drive, take just two practice swings, then concentrate for a few seconds. Just before you hit the ball take care to relax yourself and your grip. This is a routine that has always put me in a great state of mind to hit the ball.
Ann Jones, TG reader

18. Always have fun. If you ever get sick of playing, take a break until you’re raring to go and play again.
Phil Mickelson, Tour pro