No matter how much time you’ve spent on the course, you may have realized there’s a part of your game you haven’t worked on yet: the walk from the tee to your next shot.
During your lessons or while practicing on the range, you work on your mechanics, your swing, and your shots; it’s not until you start playing on the course that you realize there is a lot of time spent not hitting a ball. Though there isn’t one right way to handle the walk (or ride) from one shot to the next, those moments of downtime can have a real impact on how well you perform on the next hole.
So, what should you do in between shots?
Stop Obsessing Over Bad Shots
Reviewing what went well and what you can improve on is a great way to stay proactive in your own improvement, but that doesn’t mean you should beat yourself up for everything about the last shot. Instead, focus on something that went well, and then something you can learn from or that you’d like to do differently next time. After that, move on; don’t spend too much time thinking about what happened.
Stop Mentally Calculating Your Score
If you catch yourself focusing on the score or what you need to hit to meet a certain goal, shift your thinking to the process. What do you need to do to accomplish that goal?
Don’t Get Caught Up in the Social Aspects
Remember that golf is an enjoyable game and that the social aspect is important. If your only reason for being on the course is to be with others, then it’s okay to only focus on that. But, if you’re hoping to work on your game, improve your score, and get more comfortable on the course, you want to make sure you divide your attention between the social aspect and focusing on your game. This can be accomplished by taking time after your shot to review, enjoying your time and interactions, and then shifting your focus back to the game a few minutes before (more or less depending on your needs) to get refocused for the hole.
Don’t Stress About the Next Shot
Even if you’re chatting with friends, or trying to think purposefully about your next shot, it’s easy for newer golfers to get nervous in between shots. This is where you may feel pressure to keep up the positive momentum, where you need to come back from a poor shot, or it’s simply nerve-wracking because all shots feel important, and they’re happening in front of other people. If you notice your nerves between shots, take deep breaths on your way to the next shot. Focus on your breathing as a way to shift your attention away from any negative thoughts and feelings, and to bring a sense of calm to your mind and body.
Like all aspects of golf, when you take the time to work on what happens in between shots, you’ll find that you get more comfortable, that time is used more purposefully, and you even see improvements in your golf game.