9 Mental Mistakes that Amateur Golfers Make

What you need to score well can be summed up in two words…mental game. The golf mental game is the most important aspect to your success. Without it, your skills and hard work during practice won’t pay off at the course.

Playing golf is like eating. It’s something which has to come naturally. 

~Sam Snead~

Nike has built their empire around the Just Do It slogan, and most golf professionals want you to use this directive when swinging the golf club. They don’t want you to bombard your brain with too much information when trying to “Just Do It”. And they’re right.

However, I want to suggest that your thinking cap has to be fitted properly long before you have ever kicked your swing engine into gear.

Accomplished golfers throughout the ages have recognized this. Here is what two of the best had to say on the subject.

  1. Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course — the distance between your ears. ~Bobby Jones~
  2. Golf is 20 percent talent and 80 percent management. ~Ben Hogan~

Think about it. You can drive the ball straight. Your distance control is decent. And you rarely three putt.

Grab my golf skills assessment challenge and see how good your golf skills are in different areas of the game: Driving, Iron Play, Chipping, Putting, etc.

So…what is keeping you from improving? It’s those times when your game starts falling apart and you don’t know how to get it back together in time to save yourself.

Let’s take a look at the nine mistakes most amateurs fall victim to.

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9 Reasons Your Not Succeeding on the Golf Course

(1) Not hitting enough club on approach shots – make sure and get an accurate distance to your target…too often, players underestimate their yardage

(2) Aiming at every flag no matter what – use the red light/green light theory for determining whether to go for the flag or not, red light means the flag position is a dangerous one to go for and the shot should rarely be attempted, green light means it’s an easier flag so, Go For It always.

(3) Hitting Driver On Every Hole – make a mistake with a small club and it’s a small mistake-make a mistake with your driver and it usually costs you two strokes, in addition, some holes it is just better to not hit “The Big Dog”


(4) Trying To Play the Hero Shot – here is a quote from a famous sports psychologist about this

Hit the shot you know you can hit, not the one you think you should.  ~Bob Rotella~

(5) Putting To the Apex of the Putt – whenever I miss a putt on the low side of the hole, my buddies refer to it as the “amateur side” that is because the pros will always want to miss on the high side, or the apex

(6) Not taking advantage of the teeing ground  – this is more of a geometry lesson…tee up on the side of the tee box where the most trouble is, as it increases the size of your safe landing area

(7) Using Too Much Loft Around the Green – lower lofted clubs are more predictable when predicting how the ball comes off of the clubface

(8) Know your strengths and weaknesses – if you struggle with a certain club, don’t insist on hitting it during your game…save the pain for the driving range and hit a club that you are more confident with

(9) Letting A Bad Shot Ruin Your Round – don’t let one shot cause you to quit on yourself and your golf round. It’s easy to slip up and let it cause the next 3 holes to be bad as well before you get back on track. The best tour players bounce back the next hole and stay on track.

Key Take Away

Not one of these mistakes has anything to do with the actual swinging of the golf club. Rather, they suggest that most mistakes are initiated in that magical 5 inches that Bobby Jones was referring to when he said “Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course — the distance between your ears.”

Other Articles:

The Golf Mental Game Blueprint eBook

golf mental game tips and tricks

What will you learn:

  • How the Brain Works – Left Side & Right Side
  • Understanding the Subconscious and Conscious Mind
  • Developing a Course Strategy to Make Best Use of Your Skills
  • Taking Your Practice Range Swing to the Golf Course
  • Getting Off to a Good Start with Par on the First Hole
  • Your Mental Thoughts During the Pre-Shot Routine
  • Your Mental Thoughts in between Golf Shots
  • How to Recover from a Bad Shot
  • How to Recover from a Bad Hole
  • How to Stop Losing Your Swing & Momentum Mid Round
  • How to Close Out the Finishing Holes and Turn in a Low Score
  • Mistakes Amateurs Make
  • And much much more

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