Develop confidence in your golf game

I have a 16-year-old son who is on the high school golf team and also works at a local country club. He is on fire about taking his game to the next level with the ultimate goal of playing golf in college. I am extremely proud of him! For years we have played together and I haven’t offered much advice except for one time when we bet on a round. He needed to 2-putt on the 18th green from 20 feet to tie me in a bet we made. If I won, he would owe me 5 car washes. If he won, I would buy him a new pair of fancy sneakers.

How to get confidence in golf

gaining confidence

To make the story short, I played a little gamesmanship with him and asked him something about his breathing while putting. He ended up 3-putting and from then, he started asking me about developing mental toughness for his golf game. And yes, my car looks pretty clean right now!

Flash forward to today and he is soaking up everything I can give him. Awww, that really warms my heart!

I think the biggest piece of advice that I am helping him with is in taking full advantage of his strengths. This applies to you just as much and here’s what I mean….

He’s undersized compared to the other kids (sorry about those genes I passed on) and so he is not going to overpower any golf course. Therefore, devoting whatever time he has to building his game is NOT going to pay off much if he works on his long game. On the other hand, right behind his house is a school yard where he can chip and pitch to his heart’s delight whenever he wants.

If you have Break 80 Without Practice, you know how I have explained about how chipping is the most efficient way to drop strokes because the improvement works it’s way through all parts of your game.

Also, I have provided him with a number of top pros from the past and present who have won pretty much because of short-game wizardry. My favorite of all time is Paul Runyon who used to beat Sam Snead regularly while being outdriven by 50 yards!

Next, we have devised a strategy where he is turning himself into the best bad-weather player in our area.  I had asked him how often that his competition was played in wet conditions and he said about 50%. Bingo!  Most golfers use bad weather as an excuse to have a bad attitude and lose focus. I told him: “What if you went out there in the bad weather and got all excited about it? Like it was a huge advantage?”

This game is mostly mental. You can’t deny it. Get the fundamentals, strive for repeatability and then clear your mind of garbage. That’s the formula for a low score.

What if you had an advantage or two over your buddies every time you went out? Or just believed you did?  Wouldn’t that create confidence? Bob Rotella wrote a whole book called:  “Golf is a game of confidence”

Haven’t you ever looked at a putt and just had a very certain thought or feeling that you KNEW it was going to go in? That’s confidence.

Chip it close!

What if you believed that you were a cut above every average golfer out there in:

reading greens?

100 yard approach shots?

Recovery shots?

Keeping the ball in play?

No balloon scores, EVER!


Find your strength or create one now. Work that area hard…harder than the others and don’t worry so much about the other parts of your game for awhile. Develop a true foundation for confidence in your game and then work out from there.

I think you have something untapped there for your game. Go get it!

I’d love to see some ideas for an advantage us golfers can create over our competition.

Put them in the comment section below.

Greens and fairways,


Posted by
December 15, 2010 in Misc
  • wayne says:

    last week i really wanted to practice chipping and bunker shots, mainly because of the garbage i produced the week before. turned out i was to busy so i made a concious effort to practice mentally on thursday and friday and could not beleive how well i chipped i my bunker shots were very good.

    • Craig says:

      Wayne! Your posting is music to my ears. You wouldn’t believe how many times I hear from people who say that what you wrote is not possible. Mainly, because they subconsciously want to LIMIT their success. You, my man, have transcended that. Congrats! Go with it, expand it, and watch your scores go down!!!
      Greens and fairways,

  • Jay says:

    Hi Craig I unknowingly have done just what you suggest. I built a small practice area in my backyard and since the green is small I have to make lots of delicate chip shots -now when I’m out on the course and I’ve got a short tricky chip I say to my self “this is a perfect backyard chip” and my percentage of good to great shots has increased dramatically . Keep the good stuff coming , jay

    • Craig says:

      Jay, that is fabulous!! Exactly what I was talking about. Get some confidence in one area and then build on it. I like chipping for starters rather
      than any other part of the game because it can make up for shortfalls elsewhere.
      Greens and fairways,

  • Ken Weights says:

    I have been single figures for the past 25 yrs or so, despite not hitting enough Greens-in-regulation. However, I have always had a good short game & I still believe that I can get “up & down” from virtually anywhere. On one occasion I chipped & putted 7 holes in succession. It is quite remarkable what the Mind does to you. For the first 3/4 holes I was confident I would not miss. However, later I started saying to myself “I can’t keep doing this” with the result that my chips became shorter & my putts longer. I still wanted to keep it going but part of me was questioning my consistency until I finally broke the run. On another occasion I tried to hit a Par 5 in 2 & buried in the face of the Bunker, under the lip, & 50 yds from the flag. The stance was awkward but I knew I could get it out. Whether I could get it from this lie to the flag was most unlikely. I recall thinking “What would Seve do here?” I took my strong wedge, opened the face & hit down as hard as I could. The ball went higher than it did forward landed 2 inches from the flag & stopped dead – incredible/impossible. All I know is I let Seve play it for me. If only I could call upon the Genius all the time. Please understand I am not bragging but just responding to the request of understanding how the Mind can work for you.

    • Craig says:

      Ken, yours is a perfect example of what I was talking about. Thanks for your story. I believe it was your true confidence in your short game that came out. Our true beliefs
      get clouded up or interfered with and then we lose that connection to self. The interference came in with “I can’t keep doing this.” Thoughts come and go, we have to
      develop habitual ways of dealing with them. I recommend “practicing” in your mind for the next time a neg thought comes in the middle of a great round. Rehearse how you will
      laugh at that thought, turn it into a cartoon character voice, or dispute it right there like a lawyer and shut it down. These metaphorical tactics work for controlling your thoughts.
      Habitual ways that contribute to playing golf with your unconscious mind also keep those neg thoughts away in the first place. Great story!

  • John says:

    See my comments above.

  • John says:

    My response is written above.

  • Jihn says:

    One can by focus and visualisation create a situation / mindset where the shot on hand gives the perfect outcome.

    Sustaining this attitude and mindset is the real Challenge!

    • Craig says:

      Yes, you are right. Sustaining this attitude can be done through incorporating elements of it into your pre-shot routine as I teach it.
      Greens and fairways,

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