Mastering the Mental Game: How Mental Training Can Improve Your Golf Performance and Lower Your Handicap

Strengthen Consistency & Results from Within

Successful golf requires strong levels of "switch-on / switch off" concentration, mental stamina, clarity of thought, mental consistency - and most of all - a constant foundation of positive and relaxed goal-directed thoughts. 

Do You Experience Loss of Confidence, Consistency or Concentration on Competition Day or on Difficult Shots?

Luckily most weaknesses can be strengthened and overcome - using mental training, which is what I have taught for several decades.

Common Golf Issues

First tee nerves before beginning your day

Fluctuations in form and consistency, day to day / week to week

• Recurring issues during performance

• Wavering focus or stroke issues

• Not getting rewards from your practice

• Nagging doubts while playing

• Experiencing anxiety before hitting difficult shots

The slump that Tiger Woods experienced was a classic example of how much our mental outlook can affect our golf - even when our physical game and swings remain unchanged.

Your mind either works for you, or against you in golf - just depending upon how it's been programmed to perform.

Self-sabotage is a common problem, as the pressure of competition often brings out problems which may not exist in practice.

  Keys to Success

Mental training instills a deep calmness and emotional stability, essential for permanent consistency - from hole to hole, day to day.

This includes experiencing the Zone more often - your absolute peak level of performance, where the you feel like you can make almost any shot, and your swing feels like pure silk.

Like in practice, for your results out there remain strong and consistent, your inner training must be fairly consistent as well - it's like going to your inner driving range and putting green, to practice in your mind.

Visualisation is a major part of this process - as picturing, or visualizing, your shots and mentally rehearsing your routines in your mind develops a deep consistency in your game.

As Jack Nicklaus used to say:  "when I walk up to the ball, I go to the movies"

Top Players Use the Power of the Mind

• Tiger Woods  - widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, as been a vocal advocate for the benefits of mental training. Woods has worked with sports psychologists throughout his career, and has used techniques such as visualization and self-talk to stay focused and confident on the course.

• Phil Mickelson -  is another top player who developed mental techniques such as focus, confidence, visualization and mindfulness meditation to remain calm and focused during competition.

• Jordan Spieth  - has been open about his use of developing his mental skills.

• Justin Rose -  has used inner training for many years, including focus, visualization, positive self-talk,meditation and breathing exercises.

• Rory McIlroy  - also developed his mind skills to reach the pinnacle of golfing performance.

• Michelle Wie  - is another who worked off the course to develop mind skills for during competition..

• Inbee Park  - has worked with sports psychologists to develop focus, visualization, and positive self-talk. She has also used techniques such as mindfulness meditation to stay calm and focused during competition.

• Jack Nicklaus - Nicklaus has spoken extensively about his use of mind preparation, visualization, and positive self-talk throughout his career.

• Arnold Palmer - Palmer is known to have used a range of mind training to improve his game.

• Gary Player - Player has talked about his use of visualization during competition.

• Annika Sörenstam - Sörenstam has credited the mind preparation as highly important to her success on the tour.

• Seve Ballesteros - Ballesteros was known for his mental toughness on the course and his ability to stay focused under pressure.

• Greg Norman - Norman has spoken about his use of imagery and other methods.

• Karrie Webb - Webb has also credited an array of mental preparation techniques.

• Padraig Harrington - Harrington used several methods to help him perform under pressure.

• Lydia Ko - Ko has spoken about her use positive self-talk, among others - to help her stay focused during competition.

• Stacy Lewis - Lewis mentioned how important to her career the mental side of golf has been.

So you are in extremely good company, in this regard...

golf brain

Advantages / Uses:

• Create a powerful inner blueprint for your strokes and game, within your golf's control center - your subconscious mind

• Overcome nerves, doubts, lack of belief, and negativity

Remain emotionally calm and in control during your round

• Experience the Zone more often during your round - and improve many other 'intangibles' out there during competition, which combine to create a far stronger and more consistent round

There is a well-known true story of a soldier who was captured during the Vietnam war, and imprisoned in a cage for many years - so to keep his mind busy (and from going crazy), he would visualize every single step, tree and hole on his golf course, every day - as he had been a weekend player who generally scored a round in the 90's on this course.

After finally being released when the war ended, he went home and went and played on his beloved golf course once more - and though he hadnt played for 7 years, he shot a round of 66!

This truly shows the power of visualisation in golf - even without practice. But if you blend visualisation WITH practice, the results are always stronger and more consistent.

Combining visualisation with positive hypnotic suggestion - brings about improvement that simply is not possible by conscious methods, in such a short time.

See below for more information and my mind-training audio products.

  play audio file


Audio - 'The Power of Visualization & Belief'
- Craig Townsend explains how these transform performance.

Click the 'Play' symbol to start the audio.


As the game requires such a high degree of skill, precision and focus, being internally composed is a biggie, in order to perform at your best.

This is tough as many players struggle with maintaining a positive state, and find themselves struggling with anxiety, nervousness, and self-doubt - which impacts massively on performance.

By going within, golfers can tap into their subconscious mind and harness the power of suggestion to improve confidence, calmness and belief (particularly when things are not going well), overcome negative thoughts and emotions (which can block performance), and release distractions - to play with greater precision and accuracy.

Improved Swing Mechanics and Shot Accuracy

Swing mechanics and shot accuracy require a high degree of physical and mental coordination, and this is where hypnotic suggestion and visualisation techniques develop a more effective swing, including your putting and short game, which makes the difference between a good round and a great round.

Improved Course Management

It can also help players improve management and strategy - as you need to be emotionally and cognitively clear in order to make a high degree of strategic thinking and decision-making, and any mistakes in course management can have a negative impact on performance.

It is also synonymous with improved focus and concentration, which can help make better decisions during the game, and play with greater precision and accuracy.

Plus, there are also the much slower and longer-term approaches to improvement, such as:

Proper practice - Practicing regularly and focusing on specific areas of weakness can help you improve your swing mechanics and shot accuracy

Lessons and coaching - From a qualified professional can help identify areas of weakness and develop a plan for improvement

Course management - Learning how to effectively manage your way around the course can save strokes and improve scores. This can include planning your shots, making smart decisions, and managing your time effectively during a game

Equipment - Investing in quality equipment that is properly fitted to your individual needs can help improve performance

Playing regularly - The more you play, the more comfortable you will become with the various shots and situations you will encounter during your rounds, allowing you to make better decisions - which equals better results

Physical fitness - A healthy and active lifestyle can help improve strength, flexibility and endurance, which can have a positive impact on swings and overall results

Nutrition - Eating a healthy, balanced diet and staying hydrated can help maintain energy levels and focus throughout the round

By incorporating a combination of these strategies, you can see some steady improvements - though they all take time and dedication, so be patient and keep working on your game.

But certainly the faster ways to bring all these aspects together more easily are through the subconscious methods, as it is as much a mind game as it is a physical one, so some extra internal preparation can make a big difference - using visualization, self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques, among other things.