Mental Toughness Training for Golf by Dr. Rob Bell

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m my own worst enemy on the golf course.  I can be having the round of my life and then my brain starts getting in the way.  When this happens, I can psych myself into some of the worst swings & decisions ever made.   I think it’s something that happens to all gofers of all ability levels.  Trying to keep yourself focused, and at the same time, not putting so much pressure on yourself that you can’t perform is a delicate balance.   We’ll that’s where Mental Toughness Training for Golf: Start Strong Finish Strong can help.

Dr. Bell must have been reading my mind, because he sent me an email a couple of weeks ago asking if I’d like to check out his book.  Perfect timing, my club championship was in a few days, and I could use some mental prep, plus it just plain sounded like something us mere mortals, who can’t afford a sports psychologist, could benefit from .  He sent me a copy and I flipped through it prior to my first round.  Let me tell you, if you’re a tournament player who tends to struggle in pressure situations, this book has a ton of great drills and thoughts that you can put to use immediately.

One of the keys that I took with me to my tournament was Dr. Bell’s thoughts on having “no expectations”.  I wrote this on my wrist each day before I tee’d off so I could look down at it before shots.  Not having any expectations for that shot, or for my score that day helped me relax, have fun, and play better without thinking much about it.  There’s a ton of other jem’s like this that any one of us can take to the course each time you play.

Another is  “Needing, Wanting & Justing”.   Dr. Bell describes how the idea of needing is a handicapping thought and places unrealistic pressure on ourselves.  Such as “I need to make this putt”, or “I need a birdie on this hole”.  I can’t tell you how many times each round I say to myself, I need to get this one close, or I need to hit this fairway.  Then when it doesn’t happen, disappointment and frustration starts to build.   Transforming the “need” thought into “I want” or “just” can eliminate some of the pressure and help you think effectively with a clear goal.  “I want to play well today” or “Just play aggressively today” are alternative thoughts to help provide a positive, but non-expectant voice for your game.

The book is full of these types of ideas, and Dr. Bell has even gone so far as to break it down into various parts of the game, such as pre-shot routine, post-shot routine, putting, drills for golf teams, and a ton more.  I haven’t even finished going through the entire book yet, but I was so pleased with just the little bit that I took with me to my club championship, I can’t wait to try out some of the other mental drills and see how I’m able to perform.

You can pick up Dr. Bell’s book at his website, or at Amazon. If you take only one thing away from this book and it helps your game, then it’s money well spent.  I’m confident you’ll learn a lot about how you currently think about golf , how you can improve your mental game and play better, while enjoying it even more.

You can read more about Dr. Rob Bell here.


9 Replies to “Mental Toughness Training for Golf by Dr. Rob Bell”
  • Nicole
    July 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Great post! Dr. Bell is one of our Golf Professors on We’re launching our online golf lessons on August 1st and Dr. Bell has some great videos with us. I think you’d benefit from watching them.

    His book is definitely going to help reshape the way we think on the course.

    Our Blog

  • 2ndSwingGolf
    July 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    The mental side of the game is so huge. I’m a big fan of Rotella’s books.

  • Amusitronix
    July 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    All sports require a degree of mental fortitude. Golf is the best example. The golfer only plays against himself. He doesnt have a defense to go up against. With that comes amental game, a mind game that one can play with oneself. Dr. Bell is world renowned in this feild.

  • San Diego Golf
    July 27, 2010 at 12:55 am

    I know games like golf really need mental toughness. There are other opponents that wants to talk and talk without you knowing that they are playing with your mind. This is a good post.

  • The Frugal Golfer
    August 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    This book sounds very interesting and helpful. It always amazes me how much mental focus can affect your game. Sometimes I can just tell that I am not in the right frame of mind and it definitely is reflected on the scorecard. Other days I feel very much “in the zone” and before I know it I am starting to visualize myself shooting a record low round. Ah now if only I could harness that power rather than let it have its way with me.

  • mike greene
    August 9, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Awesome blog! Very informative. If you like Golf video games, you should check out World Golf Tour. It is a free online simulator game in HD that requires no download. They have a massive online community. Better then Tiger Woods and Golden Tee and you play on real courses. Check it out for free…

  • mike greene
    August 15, 2010 at 2:03 am

    Awesome blog! Very informative. If you like Golf Video Games, you should check out World Golf Tour. It is a Free online simulator game in HD that requires NO download. They have a massive online community. Voted Better then Tiger Woods and Golden Tee and you play on real courses. Check it out for free…

  • Brad Kamer
    September 10, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Great post. Dr Bell’s book sounds like it would be worthy reading for keeping my head screwed on straight. Self implosion on the links seems inevitable when the putts stop dropping and fairways are missed. My self help solution occasionally results in shredding the scorecard or somehow…….misplacing it.

  • John Gardner
    September 18, 2010 at 4:00 am

    It’s absolutely about what’s happening in your head but I always had problems about trying to get my thinking right. I can thorough recommend Golf Sense by Roy Palmer if you’re into the mental stuff, although his book goes much further in my view. It’s got some great practical tips that combine both the mental and physical stuff. I found I was over-complicating my golf and in Palmer’s words ‘the more you try to do the more you’ll get wrong’. Interesting approach.

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