How to know if you're about to hit the wrong golf shot

How to know if you’re about to hit the wrong golf shot

This is probably a bad idea.

In my experience of coaching and caddying for some of the best players on Tour, there really isn’t a shot that the professionals can’t pull off.

The more important question however, “Was it the best decision?”

Bad swings and tough shots in golf are inevitable, but what if we could reduce and eliminate the bad decisions that we make as well?

  • Going for a par 5 in two
  • Trying to squeeze a shot underneath a branch
  • Aiming for a tucked pin

These are just some of the shots where our score is dependent upon the making the correct decision before we even swing.

So, how can we know if we are making the wrong decision on a shot to hit?

There’s one sure fire way to not only examine your own game, but to decide during actual play if it’s the correct shot to hit. If you have to talk yourself into the shot, then you’re hitting the wrong golf shot.

If you utter, “I can make par from there,” “I’ve got this shot,” or “Let’s try it.”

These statements all have in common the air of having to convince ourselves to hit the shot.

Picture your own pre-shot routine on a par 3. There is a certain comfort in the process. Once you’ve chosen your club, it’s all about committing to that shot. There isn’t much extra motivation needed. However, once we begin to entertain certain shots that are outside of our comfort zone, then we’re inviting more overall thinking into our normal process. When we start to think too much, we get out of our process.

This is not about being positive or even confident; it’s about making the correct decision for the golf shot.

If you have to convince yourself to hit a certain shot, it’s not the correct shot!

You may pull off the difficult shot, but chances are greater that you won’t and instead of playing the smart shot, you get into deeper trouble and so does your score.

Remember, once you have to talk yourself into hitting a certain shot, pause, and elect for the different route all together.

Dr. Rob Bell is a mental toughness coach. He has PGA Tour Credentials as a Sport Psychology coach, has worked with multiple winners on the PGA and tours as well as caddied on tour. He has written 6 books on Mental Toughness, the most recent: NO ONE Gets There ALONE. For check out the book, Mental Toughness Training for Golf.

About the author


Rob Bell

Dr. Rob Bell is the author of Mental Toughness Training for Golf, and AASP certified Sport Psychology consultant. He consults with golfers, athletes, and coaches at all levels helping build and enhance their own mental toughness.