What is a Mental Golf Coach?
If you’re obsessed with golf, chances are you know the mental component is a wildly important part of the game. Which might have you searching for a mental coach to help you out.
But what is a mental golf coach? Is it the same as working with a sports psychologist? Or, a hypnotherapist?
Today I’ll answer that question so you can figure out if a mental coach is just what your golf game needs.
What Is a Mental Golf Coach?
I’ve played this crazy unpredictable game for 25 years and done just about everything to improve. From working with a sports psychologist, trying out Psych-K, self-hypnosis, journaling, mental golf apps and even becoming a certified Mental Golf Type coach.
Needless to say, I love this game and will do anything to hit my golf goals.
As you know golf is a game that demands not only physical excellence but also mental fortitude. The mental aspect of golf is arguably just as hard as the full swing, especially when you become a low handicap golfer or get into competitive events.
That's where a mental golf coach comes into play.
A mental golf coach, sometimes referred to as a golf psychologist or mental game coach, is a professional who specializes in helping improve your mindset.
Most golf instructors and swing coaches focus on the technical and physical aspects of the game. But mental golf coaches concentrate on the psychological, emotional, and cognitive aspects that impact performance.
The primary goal of a mental golf coach is to equip you with the mental skills and strategies needed to perform your best under various conditions. This involves helping manage stress, anxiety, frustration, maintain focus and build confidence.
A mental golf coach can work with golfers of all levels, from beginners to professionals, tailoring their guidance to suit the individual needs and goals of each player.
Here are some key aspects to being a mental golf coach.
Mental Skills Development
Golf is more of a mental game than most sports since it’s an individual activity and takes 4–6 hours at a time. A good coach can help manage your game during the round and learn different techniques such as:
- Visualization: Learning how to visualize before, during, and after the round is a crucial way to hit your goals. There are a lot of ways to visualize and a coach can help find the right ways that match your personality type.
- Self talk: Your self-talk has a big role in the game and a coach can help identify what you should say… and what you should avoid.
- Body language: Like self-talk, body language plays a massive role in overall performance. Good body language will help your game a ton while negative body language can limit your potential.
- Managing emotions: Coaches can help you deal with frustration and anxiety so you play more consistently.
Pre-shot and Post-shot Routines
Mental golf coaches can also help you understand the importance of a good pre-shot routine. This is something I require for all of my students - regardless of skill level - as routines play such a big role in every shot.
If you look at elite golfers they all have routines before every shot. While everyday golfers do not.
Helen Alfredsson said it best in the book, A good Swing is Hard to Find. “A pre-shot routine helps you build a cocoon around yourself. This is the mysterious zone that athletes refer to longingly. But there's nothing mysterious about it.”
A coach will also help incorporate a post shot routine to stay focused and present during the round.
Another big component of working with a mental golf coach is understanding proper course management skills. Because no matter how good of swing you have, without the right strategy on the course you’ll never score your best.
A good coach will go over tee shots strategies, approach shot strategies, and short game tips. I also help my students with tournament course management strategies including reading a pin sheet, how to use yardage books, the art of practice rounds, and more.
Benefits of Working with a Mental Golf Coach
The advantages of enlisting the services of a mental golf coach are nearly unlimited but typically include:
- More consistent golf. A coach should help your performance by reducing mental errors and have less “rollercoaster” rounds.
- Improved Decision-Making: Making the right choices on the golf course, such as club selection, shot type, and strategy, is influenced by a player's mental state. A coach can help you make better decisions especially under pressure.
- Stress Management: Golf is known for its mental challenges, and stress and anxiety can affect performance. A mental golf coach equips you with stress management techniques to not let it hinder performance.
- Better Focus: Maintaining focus and concentration is critical to success in this crazy game. Mental coaches teach golfers how to stay in the present moment and avoid distractions.
- Increased Confidence: Confidence can make or break a golfer's game. Mental golf coaches can help boost a golfer's self-belief, leading to improved performance.
- Emotional Resilience: Learning to handle disappointments, setbacks, and frustration is essential in golf. Mental coaches provide strategies to help deal with bad shots, minimize bad holes (or stretches of holes) and ultimately enjoy the day a lot more.
- Goal Achievement: Whether it's achieving a specific handicap, winning a tournament, or consistently breaking a scoring barrier, a mental coach can help set and attain goals. Having that type of accountability is also very motivating and encouraging.
How to Find a Mental Golf Coach
Finding the right mental golf coach is essential for maximizing the benefits of this type of coaching. Here are some steps to help you find the right coach:
- Ask for Recommendations: Inquire with other golfers, members at your golf club, or your golf instructor for recommendations on qualified mental golf coaches.
- Interview Potential Coaches: Before committing, speak with prospective coaches to assess their coaching style and whether you feel comfortable working with them. Or, check out their podcast, YouTube, or social media content to learn more about their style. Or, see if they have a one-off coaching call before doing a pack.
- Review Testimonials: Many mental golf coaches have client testimonials or reviews online. These can provide insights into their effectiveness and coaching approach.
- Assess Fit: Ensure that the coach's approach aligns with your goals and preferences. A good coach should tailor their methods to your unique needs. For example, all my students take a free assessment to learn their Mental Golf Type. This allows me to customize a specific plan to ensure you play in a way that matches your personality type.
Top Questions About Mental Game Coaching
Have more questions about mental coaching? If so, check out these top questions and answers now.
What is the difference between a mental coach and a sports psychologist?
It depends - some mental golf coaches are also trained as a sports psychologist (aka golf psychologist) as well. But there are people like myself who are avid golfers and simply learn about the mental game through decades of golf. Not to mention there are certification experiences through programs like Mental Golf Type and GYRA Golf that people can go through as well.
How do you mentally train for golf?
If you’re newer to the mental side of golf I’d start with these mental golf books. Read a few of them to start to understand the importance of the golf mind and some on course strategies.
You can also check out Wicked Smart Golf Podcast to get weekly mental game tips.
In the world of golf, the mental game is just as important as your swing.
A mental golf coach plays a pivotal role in helping you optimize mental skills and achieve peak performance on the course. By working on areas like concentration, emotional control, resilience, and confidence, a mental golf coach can help get the most out of your game.
Ready to hire a mental golf coach? I’d love to help you out.
I’ve helped tons of students overcome anxiety, improve consistency, learn how to focus, increase confidence, and a lot more. As a +2 handicap and avid tournament golfer I’m a player coach who knows what it takes to play at the highest levels.
Learn more about mental golf coaching with me for 1:1 calls and get access to Wicked Smart Golf Academy.