Your 5 Step Pre-round Mental Warm-up

How you feel (mentally, emotionally and physically) as you step onto the first tee is going to make a big difference to how well you play throughout the round.

Many of my students begin their mental warm-up a few days before a tournament, but in this lesson, I’d like to share a pre-round routine which is designed to give you a confidence boost, get you feeling relaxed (but focused) and get you in the right state of mind to play well. This Pre-round Mental Warm-up should take only 10-15 mins.

How To Warm-up Your Mental Game

1) Spend some time “in the present” (5 mins)

Instead of trying to predict what’s going to happen over the next 4-5 hours and increasing your stress levels, relax your mind by focusing on the present moment. There are a few ways to do it (this is also known as meditation), but the easiest is to simply focus on your breathing. This not only quietens your mind by focusing it on just one thing (instead of jumping around between thoughts), but combining this with the right breathing exercises is a great way to regulate your heart rate and feel more relaxed. At first it’s not easy to hold your attention on your breaths (without getting distracted) but it gets easier with practice. I would highly recommend making meditation a regular daily exercise and not just before rounds, and this is a great start!

2) Visualize Your Personal Highlight Reel (3 mins)

In this part of the warm-up, we’re going to get a reminder of your past success and how well you are capable of playing. The idea here is that we get positive images of success to the forefront and give you shot of confidence. Spend a few minutes thinking about some of your most successful moments on the course. These could be winning trophies or particular shots or feats on the course. Try to see those moments as vividly as possible and remember how confident and powerful you felt.

3) Visualize success in the round you are about to play (2-3 mins)

Next we’re going to imagine what success looks like in the upcoming round. Many of the great players say they did this. Sit down, close your eyes and visualize hitting great shots on the course you are about to play (drives, approaches, putts etc). Getting these images into your subconscious can help them become a reality.

4) Remind yourself of your process goals (1-2 mins).

Your goals for the round should have nothing to do with score or other things that are not 100% within your control. Process goals are certain actions and thoughts you know you do/have when you are playing well such as visualization, proper rehearsal, accepting shots, a good attitude etc. Write these down and measure your success by them. If you’d like to get a free copy of the Golf State of Mind Mental Game Scorecard, please visit

5) Be grateful (1-2 mins)

Spend a couple of minutes thinking about the things you are grateful for in what you are about to do, no matter how you play. Put the round in perspective no matter how serious it is. You are about to go and play the game you love, not something you hate. You’ve been afforded time in the fresh air, in beautiful surroundings with people you enjoy. Golf is something great, not something to fear. Think about these things and have an attitude of gratitude.

Doing this routine shortly before your rounds (either at home or at the course) will have you feeling ready to go out there and relish the challenge!

Please leave a comment if you have any questions. If you’d like more mental game tips, please check out Golf State of Mind.

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