The Mental Game


Mental Insights from Patrick Cohn


April 2009



Q: What’s the best way to handle erratic emotions on the golf course?


A: Erratic emotions usually result from players who become easily frustrated when they are not playing up to their expectations. Emotional control is the ability to stay even tempered, level headed, and have a calm mind when you are upset about bad shots or any mistake.


I teach my golf students two critical areas they must address in order to stay emotionally in control during a round. First, you have to address your own expectations during or prior to the round, and second, you must manage your beliefs or thoughts that invoke frustration after you make mistakes or get upset.


Expectations such as “I can’t hit any bad shots to play my best,” or “I need to hit perfect shots to win today,” set you up for feeling frustrated and they must be eradicated from your thinking. In addition, you have to learn to put the mistake behind you quickly. You do this by accepting the mistake and refocusing on the next shot. Easier said than done of course, but acceptance happens when you can reason with yourself so you can stop the dwelling on the past. If you are dwelling on the last shot or hole, you can’t focus on the current shot.


Patrick Cohn

About Patrick Cohn: Dr. Patrick J. Cohn is a leading mental gamecoach who has helped PGA TOUR Pros, collegiate golfers and amateurs improve mental toughness. He is the author of Going Low, Peak Performance Golf, The Mental Game of Golf, and The Mental Art of Putting. For more information call (888) 742-7225 or visit to gain access to the mental game of golf articles, podcasts, and CD programs to enhance your golf potential.