When you first begin the game of golf, you likely see improvements in your game happen quickly. As time continues, the changes and improvements can become subtler and your ability—and score—leveling off. You’ve reached a plateau where your game doesn’t seem to change or improve over time despite how much you try. For many golfers, this can be understandably frustrating! Thankfully, plateaus can be worked through at any level. Check in with your pro to help you, but you can also try out this mental approach to helping you push through your plateau.
When we focus too much on improving, we lose focus on the process of playing. The process of the game is how you’re playing as opposed to how you’re doing. When you focus on process, it’s easier to see improvements and can help to take the pressure off because you’re not focused on the result. Next, remember that golf is a game. You can want to improve, but chances are, you will have a better chance of doing that when you are enjoying yourself. Lastly, to reduce pressure, check in with yourself. If you’re feeling stressed about how you’re playing or thinking things that add pressure like calculating your score or comparing yourself to others, calm yourself down and change your thinking to something more helpful.
Score is an obvious marker we use to determine how well we’re doing; it can also make it clear when you’ve hit a plateau. Rather than looking at your overall score (which may suggest a plateau), take a closer look at your score on each hole, and even certain parts of the hole. For example, your score may not be as low as you like but maybe now you have more birdies. This means that parts of your game are in fact improving. You can use this information to help push past the plateau by setting goals.
One way to push through a plateau is to get very specific about an area of your game to work on. You can also look at this as goal-setting. If you took a closer look at what’s happening in your game to contribute to your score, you probably have a few ideas for areas of your game you can work on. Set a goal for a specific area of your game, such as “I want to make 60% of putts less than 3 feet” or “I want to hit off the tee on the last two holes while feeling calm and positive.” Then determine how you’ll reach that goal. This may include more time on the green to focus on that area, working with a pro, or creating cue words for the specific area of your game.
Plateaus can be frustrating, but there is often lots of room for improvement, and once you focus in on the process, identifying where you can develop your skill, you can likely push through your plateau. Getting through a plateau is both mental and physical, so don’t overlook the way you’re thinking and feeling when you reach a plateau in your game. With these 3 strategies, you can push through your plateau and continue improving.