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Does a bad round affect your mood?

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Many golfers are guilty of this! Bad round, throw the clubs in the car, go home and can’t believe what just happened? Or played the best round of your life and your on top of the world. Sometimes even you don’t know what your going to be like walking through the front door.

I want to talk about the outside in illusion, and for once no I’m not talking about your out to in swing path. An outside in illusion can be closely linked to sports psychology. It‘s how we base our performance on the circumstance. For example we let our score, prizes, our opponents control how we feel.

If our round is going well we feel good about ourselves yes? If we hit a few bad shots in a row suddenly we feel stressed? Without realising it we have created what a good game of golf is within our own minds.

Feelings are only connected with the thoughts we have. Feelings are not connected to the circumstance at all. Therefore feelings of stress aniexty, confidence, freedom, pressure can only arrive through one thing ... your thoughts!!

The formula is pretty simple - the less thoughts we have during a round is more than likely to impact the way that you play and feel on the golf course...


Hit a bad shot and suddenly question every move in your swing? Wow that’s a lot of thoughts! We feel better with less on our minds and understanding what happened can help control our emotions. So take time to understand your swing, learn what produces a good shot and what produces a bad shot. Once you have understood the reasoning behind the shot drop it and move on.

Filter your thoughts

All the thoughts we have look and feel real, how we choose to listen and process them is another question. Sometimes we will stand on the 15th tee at Mendip Spring and think yes I can carry that corner over the trees. Until you realise you can make birdie by simply knocking a 5 iron up the fairway. What I’m saying is you don’t have to listen to all of them... negative/ ridiculous thoughts will enter your mind - we don’t have to take them seriously. A good process for a thought is to either -

  1. Observe it

  2. Ignore it

  3. Let it go

  4. Alternatively you could choose provide it with energy if you think it is a good idea!


Trying to fulfil our performance needs is only natural, so sometimes we may feel like we put ourselves under pressure. But we are not flawless - we will make mistakes. Usually we start to feel pressure when we start predicting the future... “if I birdie this hole I could be 3 under my handicap with 1 hole left to play.” Pressure is an idea of how we should or need to perform. We experience this when we let our results determine how we feel or react. This reflects back to the outside in illusion - letting your score affect you. Do not let results impact your own value as a golfer. Understand why something happened, learn from it and improve... Plus remember to always stay in the present!

Don’t react

Our mind is designed to self correct to clarity. If you hit a bad shot our mood could suddenly drop. If we don’t flood our mind with thoughts our mood will automatically pick itself up.

Our thoughts and moods change all the time. In fact I bet you can’t even remember how you were feeling on the 8th hole on your second shot during your last round of golf? Trying to control our thinking can be exhausting. It’s when you let go of whatever happened is when you truly find enjoyment in this game.

Key points to remember

- Understand your swing.

- Stay in the present.

- Choose which thoughts you listen too. - Don’t react.

To book a psychology lesson please visit my website

or if you would like to book to understand your swing please visit -

To watch my video on the psychology circle of influence please click on this link -

Happy Golfing


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