Creating a Mental Scorecard for Better On-Course Results

By Dr. Alison Curdt

Most golfers utilize the number of strokes they take on the golf course to assess whether they are improving (i.e. total score). Utilizing handicap strokes and seeing the trend the handicap moves is another assessment. Scoring your mental game is an effective way to assess how well you are regulating emotions when challenges arise during a round of golf and can ultimately lead to improve performance. Scoring how well your decision making was or committing to your decision brings a sense of awareness otherwise most golfers wouldn’t recognize. Here is a way to keep a scorecard of your mental decision making and emotions to effectively leads to lower strokes. After a round analyze how many errant shots occurred due to 1) poor course playing strategy 2) indecisiveness and lack of commitment and 3) selecting the wrong strategy for the shot at hand. Learning to improve your decisions, being clear minded when flooded with emotions, and committing and trusting the choices you make will certainly save a few shots off your game. An example of poor course strategy would be going for a par 5 in two shots and ending up in a difficult place, causing you to scramble to save bogey. Lack of commitment or indecisiveness in hitting the shot prevents your body from committing to the swing you’d like to make. Selecting the wrong strategy for the shot you are facing could include hitting a sand wedge to chip on the green when a 7- iron bump and run would be low risk and high reward outcome. Next time you are on the course, create your own mental scorecard and keep track of these three suggested elements: 1) Trust  2) Decision Making 3) Emotional Regulation.  Give yourself a score of 5 if you fully trusted your move, committed to your decision, and handled the feelings inside of you so they didn’t prevent your success. Give yourself a lower score, down to a 0 or 1, if you doubted yourself or held onto anger from a previous shot or hole. In this score-the higher total indicates you completed a round of golf with good decisions, trust, and a neutral to positive emotional state. Beginners can start with rating themselves after each hole, and elite players can go as deep as rating themselves on every shot. Track your results over time and notice the strokes fall of your game as you gain control over yourself and your game.

Dr. Alison Curdt, PGA, LPGA

Wood Ranch Golf Club

PGA Master Professional
SCPGA Secretary

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