6 Ways to Reduce Stress While Golfing

Beautiful greenery, peace and quiet, wide open spaces, all enjoyed at a leisurely pace—golfing sounds like the perfect antidote to stress.

Unfortunately, for some passionate players, it’s also the perfect recipe for stress.

When you’re straining to improve your game or competing with friends who aren’t above making a little fun at your expense when you fall short of the green, it’s easy to get a little wound up when things don’t go your way. That means less fun for you and even worse scores when your head gets in the way of your hands.

Next time you visit Southern Hills, try some of these tips for keeping your stress low before, during, and after the game.

1. Warm Up

Get all the bad swings out of your system before you step up to the tee. Try spending some time at the range to loosen your back and shoulders and get your head—and body—in the game.

2. Putt Putt

Then, give the range a break and practice your putting on the green. Sinking a few 5-foot putts will give you confidence that will carry over to the holes to come.

3. Positive Thinking

It’s a cliché, but it’s true: focusing on the positive will help you feel and play better. Think about your last great game or take a moment to envision the stellar shot you’re about to make. And whatever you do, don’t engage in…

4. Negative Thinking

Mistakes happen. Freak accidents happen. Sand traps happen. And after they happen… they’re over. Don’t think about them, don’t dwell on them. You should only be thinking about two things: Your best swing, and how your next swing is going to be even better.

5. Take a Breath

Stress isn’t just mental, it’s physical too. So take control of the physical symptoms with breathing exercises: slowly inhale, hold the breath for several seconds, then slowly exhale. Repeat several times and your heart rate should begin to slow, putting you in better condition to focus and succeed.

6. Stay Social

A golf course isn’t just a place to play, it’s a community. Whether you win or lose, getting involved in the social scene will make the entire experience more pleasant. If you choke on 18 holes but end up making some new friends or catching a laugh with some old ones at the 19th hole, you can still count the day as a victory.

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