How to stop your golf game unravelling

We have all been there…. After months of dreaming about the 1st tee at a bucket list course, you nervously prepare for your opening tee shot, only to slice or hook the ball into oblivion and for your round to be in free fall before it has started.

What is often an already challenging round of a tough golf course has now only got tougher as you heap the pressure on yourself to be better. And before you know it, your dream day has been wrecked.

Truth be told, I have no place in the world to be writing a blog about playing better golf, as this experience above is my personal recurring nightmare, but hopefully, these tips can help alleviate these issues for you.

  1. Don’t get a lesson a week out from the trip

Unless you are good enough or have a lot of time to fully understand the tips given to you by a golf pro, chances are you will go backward before you go forward when given golf tuition. I love the various golf pros I have had over the years, but the time to go see them is not a week out from a big trip.

The game I have at that point will be the game I have during the trip, and the last thing I have realized I need is a hundred swing thoughts going through my mind on the first tee at a dream location.

Keep things as simple as they can be!

  1. Have a test run … if you can

These days, many premium resorts have fun, but still challenging, par 3 or short courses. Suppose you can get to your destination of choice the day before your first 18 holes round and have a quick run around the short course. Calm some nerves, find your swing, and be relaxed before your first big 18 holes round.

I continue to surprise myself when I am not hitting 300-yard drives off the first tee after getting out of a car after a 4-hour drive 20 mins before our tee time!

  1. Play match play or team formats

Often bucket list courses are tough. Foreign holes, tough green, new conditions, and the pressure we heap upon ourselves. Suppose you can take the gross score off the table as much as possible. Focus on match-play formats where you are tackling every hole as a new start, and favor team formats where even if you are having a bad day yourself, you can still find ways to contribute to the team.

  1. Throw a mulligan into the  mix

If you are playing a course for the first, and maybe only time, don’t let the conventions of golf stop you from having a fun time finding the experience you want to have. Having a mulligan per round, or even one per nine, will relax all the players in your group no end and mean if/when you have that shocker all amateurs are prone to, you can have another crack and take away. A great memory from the course … hopefully!

  1. Drink a little less

This is once again a personal choice, and a subjective one at that, as I have friends who swear by alcohol as being the way they relax on course, but as a general rule for the majority, eating and drinking better can only help your golf.

  1. Splurge for a caddie

I have not enjoyed the company of a caddie that often in life, but it has been amazing when I have. A friend to guide you through a new course, and a psychologist to try and stop me unraveling. When you are visiting a bucket list course, a caddie, even shared by the group, will not only help you score better but will teach you things about a course that you may not otherwise see yourself as a first-timer

  1. Replay rates are your friend

.If you have time and money, playing a course twice is also a great way to release some first tee tension. Knowing you get a second chance at any hole can help you relax into the knowledge that this is not a one-and-done thing.

  1. Try and remember where you are …

This tip will have some of your eyes rolling your eyes, but when you boil it all down, you are on a golf trip with your buddies and hopefully enjoying some of the best golf scenery you can imagine. Very few of us put in the practice time to really believe we should play as well as we did that one time in our distant memory when we were amazing ( but probably not as good as we really remember )

So take golf for what it is—a chance to be away from our lives issues and a chance to be doing something we love.

I promise you one birdie or amazing par will stand in your memory a lot longer than any of the double or triple bogeys you have.

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