Whether it’s a terrible shot or a bad hole, here's how to hold your game together when things go wrong.


Image: Andy Hiseman

Whether you are a beginner golfer, a mid handicapper or an elite amateur, we have all experienced losing the plot midway through a game of golf. Whether it’s one terrible shot or a bad hole, it’s easy to let an otherwise good round slip away.

So, how do you deal with it and how can you prevent a bad hole totally ruining your card?

PGA professional Joanne Taylor offers some pointers to follow...

  • Remember you can’t do anything about the shot you’ve just hit – it's best to put it behind you and focus on the next shot.

  • Follow your routinehaving a solid pre shot routine means you can approach the next shot with a clear head. It helps you think the shot through and make an informed decision on the type of shot you are trying to play. 

  • Play sensibly and to your strengths – if you’ve mishit your tee shot, don’t try and play a wonder shot to the green. Pick a club you are confident with and get yourself safely back up the fairway.

  • Keep it simple it’s easy to overthink. Keep your thought processes simple and consistent and if you have a swing thought in your routine have a couple of practice swings focussing on that thought. If it’s worked before the chances are it will work again.

  • Resist the temptation to take swing advice from your playing partners – while it's well meaning it's often ill informed and can actually make things worse. If a bad shot persists go and see your PGA Pro for some expert advice instead.

  • Never feel embarrassed – everyone hits bad shots. We can sometimesfeel that we’re holding our playing partners up so, out of embarrassment or frustration, we end up rushing the next shot. Instead take your time, regroup and think it through. You’ll play a much better next shot as a result.

But above all, try and remember that we all have good and bad days and each round is a learning opportunity. 

No matter how bad your score is you can still learn something positive from it.For example, even if you didn't score well you may have got out of every bunker first time. For some that is a huge achievement and it should be celebrated no matter what your overall score is.

I also try to take something constructive from every round; for instance if I have scored well I might feel that my putting could have been better. By adopting this mindset it ensures you keep improving, keep moving forward and keep enjoying your game

Joanne Taylor

 About the author

Joanne Taylor is a PGA Professional based at Tyrrells Wood Golf Club in Surrey.

She graduated from the University of Birmingham with BA (Hons) Applied Golf Management Studies in 2011 and an MSc in Sports Coaching in 2019. She is an ASQ Level 3 Golf Coach and hopes to start a Doctorate in Sport & Exercise Science this autumn. 

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