The European Ryder Cup team dismantled the Americans over the weekend to capture its third consecutive Ryder Cup, 16 1/2 to 11 1/2.
There are many reasons why Team USA lost another Ryder Cup, but one that was obvious to me was a lack of confidence. The Americans went to Gleneagles knowing they were an underdog, and they played like one.
There were some bright spots for Team USA, most notably Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth. All three were Ryder Cup rookies who didn’t know any better than to just go out and play with confidence.
Confidence might be the most important skill you can have on the golf course. It's a skill because it is something you have to work on and improve.
You might feel like confidence is something out of your control, but with these tips you can learn to regain and maintain it:
• Confidence begins with practice. Whether working on full swing, short game or putting, you must put yourself in a position to succeed when you practice. This means only practicing when you have adequate time and energy. When you feel rushed or start losing energy in a practice session, bad swings will happen, leading to bad shots that will drain your confidence.
• Transfer confidence to the course. The No. 1 golf complaint of all-time is the inability to transfer great practice sessions to the golf course. This is a confidence issue because most players develop the wrong kind of confidence when they practice. Confidence that can transfer to the course is created when you practice like you play. Focus on your pre-shot routine and frequently change clubs and targets to make practice sessions more realistic and effective.
• Avoid confidence pitfalls. Once your confidence makes it to the course, it is even a bigger challenge to keep it there as you play. Good players maintain confidence much like a quarterback does in football by having a short memory. A bad shot is like throwing an interception. Try to learn something from it and then forget about it. Dwelling on poor shots will drain your confidence quickly, so stay focused on the confidence you have built up in you preparation for the round.
For more tips from Golf Channel to help you improve your mental game, click here.