Agghh – The Dreaded Score Card

Are you one of those golfers who, when they get a competition scorecard in their hands, they just go bonkers – swear and shout, have a panic attack and/or get totally stressed out? Well, if you follow the information below then you will have a greater chance of conquering your demons.

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you see will change.”
Dr Wayne Dyer

  • Take a blank scorecard where you regularly play and write down your current handicap score in the Marker’s Score column and total up the front nine, back nine, then the total for the 18 holes. Then subtract your handicap to give you your net score.
  • Now in column ‘A’, write down the best score you’ve ever had on each hole, irrespective of how long ago that was. Then, as before, add up the front nine, back nine, total (gross score) for the 18 holes. Then subtract your handicap to give you your net score. You may well be surprised what a fantastic score it is, and now just imagine putting that score together on one single round!
  • Now, as you look at both scores in the two columns (Marker’s Score and ‘A’), what do you see, hear, feel and notice about the two scores? The main thing is to just focus on how good the ‘A’ column score is and begin to have the confidence to shoot a better score than your current handicap next time.
  • Post the scorecard where you can see it daily, as a reminder that you are capable of shooting a far lower score than your current handicap. And remember to update it every time that you better your current score.

I use this method with my clients and also get them to write down in columns ‘B’, ’C’ and ‘D’ imaginary scores – what you would need to shoot to get down to your desired handicap over three rounds (obviously, choosing the holes that you know you can par or birdie more often than not). Both these approaches begin to build up your levels of confidence and self-belief so that you can begin to reduce your handicap.

Remember, practice makes improvement, so do this exercise regularly and you will begin to build up your mental tenacity little by little. That’s the principle of Kaizen and the aggregation of marginal gains!

Another way of reducing the stress of a competition scorecard is to divide the 18 holes in six sets of three. Just imagine that you’re playing six mini-games of golf and score the best possible score that you can shoot for each set of three holes. Just draw a pencil line under each set as a reminder to just focus on one set of three holes at a time, as again, this can reduce the levels of anxiety and stress. Even if you have a disaster on one hole, or even two, you can just start afresh on the next set of three holes. Go ahead and give it a go and I can guarantee this will have a positive impact on your handicap if you practice it regularly.

Until next time – keep it on the fairway…

Keith Haynes

My Golf Mind

‘Northamptonshire’s first sports Master Mind-Factor coach’

M: 07973 614969


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