If you’ve spent any time with a ball and a club, you already know that golf is a tough sport. Even with time on the range, the course, and in lessons, you might notice that your confidence is lacking.

Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

You may have heard your fellow golfers say things like “I’m great off the tee” and you thought, “I wish! I’m terrible off the tee.”

Or you heard someone say, “My putts are terrible!” and you know that your putts are pretty good and you see your improvement. It’s common to feel confidence in one aspect of your game and not another. But, without realizing it, you might be undermining your confidence by telling yourself that a certain area of your game is strong while another isn’t.

Confidence is the belief you have in yourself related to your golf game, and while your confidence is likely to improve with more time and practice, there are ways that you can specifically work on building your confidence.

Just like improving your accuracy off the tee or on the green, try these three strategies to help boost your confidence.

  1. Change the way you look at your strengths and weakness. Yes, there are parts of your game that are stronger than others, but by telling yourself (and others) that you’re not good at putting, or that you don’t do well on courses with a lot of trees, you’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, focus on what you’re doing well in those situations. For example, tell yourself how you’ve been spending a lot of time working on your putting, or that you’re improving on a particular course. Decide to focus on your strengths and improvements within the areas that are challenging.
  2. Start the hole with positive thinking. As a new golfer, it’s normal to wonder how the hole will go, if the first shot will be good, or if you’ll end up in the weeds. Instead, decide to start each hole with a positive thought. This can be something such as “I’m ready,” or something that’s more instructional in nature. Make sure that you’re focused on positive or helpful thoughts before each shot.
  3. Remember that golf is a sport that takes time and practice (and more time and practice) to become skilled at. Make sure that you’re noticing your improvements. It’s easy to spend time on the range or complete nine holes and feel like you didn’t do well. Maybe you couldn’t drive the ball as far as you wanted, or you shanked a few balls, but that’s only part of the story. Every so often while you’re playing, reflect on what has gone well and what improvements you’ve seen. This will help you build more confidence in yourself.

Confidence, like golf, is a skill that can be improved on. Also, like golf, it’s normal to have ups and downs in your confidence. If you notice a dip, take the time to apply one (or more) of these three ideas and notice how your confidence changes.