Today, I would like to dive into the dark side of golf. Golf is a sport which means there is competition and sometimes money rides on that competition. As we learn by paying attention to modern professional sports, every advantage should be used to win. Sometimes, you don’t need a physical advantage but play a few golf mind games to get the best of your opponent.
Before I give you these golf mind games, let me state for the record that I am a good person. My mom and 80s TV raised me to be good to others and look for the good in everyone. That being said, I have a competitive side and sometimes my skill is not enough to win. It is in those darkest of times we can tip the mental scales of our opponent with a few dastardly tactics. (that is a great word dastardly).
Golf Mind Game #1: Enforce the Rules.
Most casual golfers knows the USGA rules in a generality. To get in your competition’s head, hold them to the rules on every shot. Every OB stake stroke and distance to counting clubs in their bag.
Golf Minds Games #2: Putting Interruptions
The putting green is a sacred space where silence is golden. You can change that like the loosing of a pebble into a still pond. Make sure you have some spare change in your pocket. As your opponent reads their putt, give your change a few shakes. Just a few every now and again. If they notice it, they will give you a sideways look that can melt ice and you stole their concentration.
Golf Minds Games #3: No Gimmes
The hardest putt to sink is the one footed needed to save par. If your opponent needs to sink that putt to half the hole or take the hole, make they putt it out. Even if they make it, you took away some of their mental energy for the day. Play it to the cup with no mercy or quarter given.
Golf Minds Games #4: Sing Your Own Praises
I am against talking down to other golfers and criticizing their play. I am in favor of saying how great I am. If you hit a good drive, tell the foursome “I hope that is in the same zip code.” Sink a long putt, “I am on fire today. Can I be stopped?” Get your opponent thinking about how well you are playing and wishing they were playing like you. If they are weak willed, they will focus on their poor shots instead of celebrating their good shots.
Forgive me for what I have shared
I apologize to the golf god of fair play. I heard some of these from friends and fellow golfers and thought of some myself. These are only to be used in friendly wagers where feeling can be bruised but not broken. I will make amends on my next round for sharing these dark thoughts. If you use these to winner friendly wagers, I will post my Venmo account and you can send me my cut.