I want you to make a few lists in answer to the prompts below. The items following are some of the responses my students have given me.

• List things that bother you on the golf course.

Slow play

Bunkers not raked

Cart path only

People moving and talking when I am trying to swing.

• Make a list of things you can control on the course.

What I am thinking

My attitude

My level of focus

My pre-shot routine

My post-shot reactions

• Make a list of things you cannot control on the course.

Course conditions

Slow play

Weather

Where the ball ends up after I hit it

• Make a list of negative thoughts you have said to yourself on the golf course

I am scared to tee off in front of people I don’t know

I am tired of three-putting

I am tired of being in the bunker

I hate this hole

What a terrible pin position on this hole

Listed below are some words of wisdom by Bob Rotella, a noted golf psychologist, that can help you with your mental game.

• Golfers are endowed with free will. You can control your own thoughts. You can choose to think confidently.

• Never use the word “don’t” prior to hitting a shot. Your brain doesn’t understand “don’t.” If your last thought is “don’t hit it in the water,” the brain will think “water.”

• Nearly all golfers would be better off if they forgot about the score as they played.

• A golfer performs best when he focuses on a target and not how to execute the movement.

• Pick the smallest possible target when aiming.

• You must forget what happened previously in the round. The only shot that counts is the next.

• Re-discover the pleasures of the game – the smell of grass, the camaraderie of playing with friends.

I really believe that the mental part of the game is at least 50% once you have played golf for a couple of years. The suggestions above can help all levels of golfers.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris@gmail.com; golfdoctorjean.com