In contrast to most sports, golf is the one game where a players confidence tends to wane the longer they play. How long have you played the game? Are you more confident now than you were two years ago?
The first key to building confidence is understanding that the game is inherently unfair; the odds are stacked against you. Golf is played on variable surfaces under constantly changing conditions. The player has to wield fourteen clubs of various lengths and lofts (compared to one tennis racket), and try to filter through all the (often contradictory) swing theories on the proper way to swing a club.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the game, is the unpredictability of cause and effect. No matter how many lessons you take or how much you practice, there are no guarantees. How you played the day before, the hole before or even five minutes ago has no direct bearing on the impending shot, however, the odds of success are greater when you stop beating yourself up!
Most golfers take lessons for the first two or three years and see gradual improvement. Their confidence level continues to rise. At this stage, a well-meaning friend may give the ebullient student a golf instruction book and/or video. Now the learning curve takes a serious dip and the aspiring student’s confidence level often plummets.
Assuming you have the underlying technical skill, believing you can carry two-hundred yards over water is a matter of confidence. How you often have you duffed two shots in a row and then blasted the next drive down the middle?
Stop worrying about how you look or what fellow golfers think. In golf, cockiness is a good thing. The choice is yours. Why wait for the next perfect shot in order to feel confident? Decide on a club, pick the target and just hit the damn ball!
Golf is the ultimate game of feel. Learning how to create a feeling of confidence is the first key to unlocking your true potential. Results are beyond your control. Accepting the good shots and the poor ones with equanimity is the key to confidence.