At some point in our golf career, we have all felt a lack of confidence in a certain aspect of our game. Perhaps after a few poor putting rounds we lose confidence over three-footers. The chipping yips is a sign of a loss of confidence also. We have even seen professional tour players lose confidence right in front our eyes when we spectate in person or watch their performance on television. Although confidence may be temporarily lost, it can be restored. It will take some work and mental effort, but rebuilding confidence is a possibility.
Create a confidence profile of 12 aspects of your game. List out these aspects such as driving, putting, sand game, punch shots, driving, etc. and evaluate how confident you feel in each area. Using a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the most confident you feel and 1 is the least confident you feel, complete your profile to examine your areas of confidence.
The aspects that you have ranked 5 or less in are the areas you want to begin rebuilding confidence. Start with one area, such as putting. Now, devise a practice plan to make you feel good about improvement. This may include taking a lesson to improve your skill set, adding additional focus during practice time, or creating challenging interval practices to make the time spent practicing more golf course relatable. Create tasks that are challenging, yet allow you to achieve goals. For example, if you want to build confidence in your three-foot putts—make 25 putts in a row from 2 feet. Progress to two and a half feet and attempt the same exercise. Next move back to three feet. While you see yourself succeed, and you put yourself in opportunities to make progress, make sure to reinforce your efforts with positive self-statements. You must be your own best cheerleader during this stage.
Lastly, when you are back on the course and are faced with a shot you are working to build confidence in, remind yourself of the hard work you have put into improving this area. Take a deep breath, relax, and attempt the shot. Be kind to yourself as you work on the course to avoid being overly critical during this building stage. If you feel your confidence has been lost, start with a confidence assessment to begin building it back up.
Alison Curdt is a PGA Master Professional and LPGA Class Professional at Wood Ranch Golf Club. She is the 2015 LPGA National Teacher of the Year and 2016 SCPGA Teacher of the Year. For golf instruction and mental coaching contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.alisoncurdtgolf.com.