To enjoy playing golf, to play your best golf, and to improve, you must see everything about your golf game in a positive light. Criticizing gets you nowhere. Put only the good shots, the great shots, in your memory. Magnify them, glorify them, let them define how you play golf. Tell yourself, “That’s how I play golf.” Those shots weren’t accidents. They truly are how you play golf.
Yes, you do hit bad shots. Everybody does. Do you ignore them? Of course you do! Put them out of your mind. The only shots to carry with you are the good ones. Never say, “I can’t hit this shot,” or, “I can’t [anything].” Never say that. Work only with true things. It is not true that you can’t hit a particular shot. It is true that you didn’t hit it. So when you flub one, say to yourself, “I didn’t hit that shot, but next time I will.” Always use positive words.
Write down your good shots. Keep a notebook in which you record the results of each round of golf you play. In this book, write down the good shots only. Write down the setting, what club you used, describe the shot, and the result. No symbology! Use words! Write down a narrative that inspires you and re-read it before you play. Remind yourself of how good you are. Got a hole on your home course that’s hard for you? Write down the times you played it well and memorize what you wrote. Review those notes before you go out. Put the good times in your head.
If you had a good run of well-played holes, write down how you felt during that time. Give yourself some advice on how to feel like that at will instead of it just happening. During a good streak on the course, enjoy it and keep it going. If you have one good hole, have two more. There is no such thing as “playing over your head.” You wouldn’t be playing this well if you weren’t capable of it.
Stay positive about your game. Hit only the shots you’re good at with the clubs you’re good at. Sure, you‘re allowed to carry fourteen clubs, but if there are a few you don’t feel comfortable with, leave them home! Find a way to get the ball around the course hitting the shots you like with the clubs you like, and find a way to hit those shots with those clubs as often as you can. Identify your skills and beat the course to death with them.
Stand over every shot believing that it will turn out well. If you’re unsure of yourself, choose a different shot or a different club. Is there a shot you need but don’t hit well? Get a lesson, learn how to hit it so you look forward to hitting it during play.
When the round is over, talk to your friends about the good shots you hit, and that they hit. Review the round in a positive way. Change the subject if someone starts talking about their flubs. Come away from the course happy, believing that you had a chance to display your skills to their full advantage, and that next time out you’ll do it again.
Always be positive about your golf. Allow nothing negative into your golf game. Always be positive.