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3 Ways to Limit Your Double Bogeys Using Your Mental Game

If you're aspiring to achieve a low handicap then avoiding double bogeys is crucial. While physical skills and techniques are vital, the mental game plays an equally important role in preventing those pesky double bogeys. Here are three ways you could use your mental game to limit double bogeys and improve your overall performance on the course.

1. Develop a Pre-Shot Routine

Why It Helps

A consistent pre-shot routine helps to calm nerves, focus your mind, and prepare your body for the shot. This mental preparation reduces the likelihood of mistakes that can lead to double bogeys.

How to Implement

  • Step-by-Step Process: Create a routine that includes a series of simple but specific steps you follow before each shot. This could include selecting a target, visualising the shot, taking a deep breath, and performing a purposeful a practice swing.

  • Visualisation: Spend a few seconds visualising the desired shot. Picture the ball's flight, its landing, and its roll. This mental image primes your brain and body to execute the shot as planned.

  • Consistent Timing: Keep your routine consistent in terms of timing. Avoid rushing or dragging it out. A steady rhythm helps in maintaining focus and reducing anxiety.

Example Routine

  1. Select Target: Pick a specific target for your shot.

  2. Visualise: Close your eyes for a moment and visualise the shot.

  3. Deep Breath: Take a deep breath to relax.

  4. Practice Swing: Execute a practice swing with focus on the feel and intent of the shot.

  5. Commit and Execute: Step up to the ball, commit to your shot, and execute it with confidence.

2. Stay Present and Manage Emotions

Why It Helps

In this beautiful game of ups and downs, staying present and managing your emotions helps prevent a single bad shot from snowballing into a double bogey or worse. Emotional control is essential for maintaining a steady performance.

How to Implement

  • Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness to stay in the present moment. Focus on the shot at hand rather than dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about future shots.

  • Emotional Regulation: Develop strategies to manage emotions - maybe deep breathing / positive self-talk. Distract yourself to clear your mind after a bad shot.

  • Acceptance: Accept that mistakes are part of the game. Rather than reacting negatively, acknowledge the error, learn from it, and move on.


  • Deep Breathing: Use deep breathing exercises to calm yourself after a frustrating shot. Inhale deeply for a count of four, hold for four, and exhale for four.

  • Positive Self-Talk: Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. For example, instead of thinking, "I can't believe I missed that shot," say, "I've practiced this shot, and I know I can make a great on next time."

  • Routine Reset: If a shot doesn't go as planned, use your pre-shot routine to reset your focus for the next shot. This helps in breaking the cycle of negative thoughts and emotions.

3. Strategic Course Management

Why It Helps

Smart course management involves making strategic decisions that play to your strengths and minimise risks. This mental approach reduces the chances of making costly mistakes that lead to double bogeys.

How to Implement

  • Know Your Limits: Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Play within your capabilities rather than attempting low-percentage shots.

  • Risk Assessment: Assess the risk versus reward of each shot. Opt for safer plays when the risk of a high score is significant.

  • Plan Ahead: Develop a game plan for each hole based on your skill set and the course layout. Avoid risky shots and aim for consistent, controlled play.

Strategic Tips

  • Club Selection: Choose clubs that you are comfortable with and that suit the shot at hand. Avoid using clubs that you haven't practiced with extensively.

  • Lay Up When Necessary: If reaching the green in regulation is too risky, consider laying up to a safer distance. This strategy can prevent big numbers and keep double bogeys at bay.

  • Play to Your Strengths: If you excel at short game, focus on getting the ball to a distance where you can comfortably chip and putt. If driving is your strength, play to set up good approach shots.

Limiting double bogeys requires more than just physical skill; it demands a strong mental game. By developing a consistent pre-shot routine, staying present and managing emotions, and employing strategic course management, you can significantly reduce the occurrence of double bogeys. These mental strategies not only improve your scores but also enhance have the ability to increase your enjoyment of the game. Embrace the mental aspects of golf and watch your performance soar.

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Golf player | Golf Coaching & Lessons | Coaching Fore Success | Sheffield, UK
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