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Being Grateful To Improve Your Golf Game & Your Life

How Being Grateful Can Improve Your Golf Game & Your Life

Given that we’re in the holiday season, I thought gratitude would be a great topic to write about and how it can influence so many aspects of our lives.  Including our golf game!  I’m sure this past year has really illuminated a lot for many people, including myself.  But most importantly, it has really shown me to not take anything for granted and to appreciate the small things.  Being grateful can go a long way in how you perform day to day off the course.  Having gratitude can lead to better sleep, better self-esteem, physical health, and mental health.  So how does being grateful improve your golf game?

Golf Is A Mental Game As Much As It’s A Physical One

Plastic model of a human brain

I’m sure you know how much of a mental game golf can be.  It’s very easy to get frustrated after a bad shot and have that frustration lead to more bad decisions and shots.  Another big mental game issue among golfers is negative self-talk.  Let’s say one of the weakest points in your game is hitting out of greenside bunkers.  Well, at this very moment you find yourself in a greenside bunker and you start telling yourself you’re never going to get out, because you know this is the worst part of your game.  Well, that negative self-talk is already making sure you don’t succeed in getting out of that bunker.  This is where being grateful and practicing gratitude can really be helpful in your game.


Having gratitude has been associated with improved self-esteem.  A study completed in 2014, found that athletes with more gratitude had a higher self-esteem, which was optimal for performance (Lung et al., 2014).  So being grateful could lead to having a higher self-worth, therefore decreasing the amount of negative self-talk you may have on the course.  Let’s think back to that bunker example.  Instead of looking at that situation as a chance to fail, you could look at it as something you’ve been working hard to improve and this is another chance for you to do just that.  If you get out of the bunker on the first try, that’s great!  If you don’t it’s okay, but look at that situation as another chance to practice and learning experience on getting better from hitting out of bunkers.

Mental Health

Being grateful has been linked to greater mental health. Various research has been done on how gratitude leads to greater happiness and decreased depression.  It has also been found that gratitude can lead to greater resilience (Fredrickson et al, 2003). Resilience is the psychological quality that allows someone to be “knocked down” by an event and come back just as strong if not stronger.  This is 100% relatable to golf!  Think about all the times you had a shot not go your way, but you were able to bounce back either on that hole or the following hole.  Being resilient is what golf is all about!

Physical Health

We all know how much of a proponent I am in regards to physical health and how important that is for your golf game. People who practice gratitude are more likely to report and complain of less aches and pains and just be healthier overall compared to those who do not practice gratitude (Hill et al., 2013). I’m sure you want to play golf as long as you possibly can, just like I do. Taking care of your body is going to be vital in your goal to play as long as you possibly can. Being grateful can make sure that you stay healthier and that you can play golf for a very long time.

How You Can Be Grateful To Improve Your Golf Game

Being grateful and practicing gratitude can be really hard work.  Just like anything else, it takes time and practice to get better and really get good at being grateful.  Below are some ways of how you can start practicing gratitude in your life.

Picture of a pen on a journal from a golfer practicing gratitude

Start A Gratitude Journal

I know this may sound weird to journal.  Isn’t that something you did when you were elementary school?  But it should take you no more than 5 minutes per day to do something like this.  Just write down 2-3 things that you’re grateful for.  I do this everyday and write down 3 things that I’m grateful for everyday.  Another thing you could do is make golf specific.  You could write down 2-3 things that you’re grateful for after your practice round or after the 18 holes you just played.

Replace Emotions

This is not an easy task by any means and will take some serious work to get better at.  But you can really have one emotion at one time.  So instead of being angry or anxious, try to replace that feeling with gratefulness or excitement.  You have to remember, that you and only you, are in charge of how you feel and react to any situation.

Think About The Positive

Again, this can be hard to do and will take work to get better at.  But let’s say you’re out on the course and you have an approach shot that is 170 yards over water.  Don’t think about or focus on the water, because that is making you think about a negative outcome of a shot that hasn’t even happened yet.  Focus on the positive and where you’re going to land it on the green.  In the latter situation, you’re already positively framing yourself that you’re getting the ball over the water and onto the green, which is really the main goal.

Parting Words

I think one of the biggest issues that most golfers face is that we try and think too much about the achievement in golf versus how much we actually enjoy the game. When you really think about it, you’re playing a game where you can be outside and enjoy nature and the beautiful views around you. You can play by yourself, with some friends, or some strangers which might be your new best friends. At the end of the day, all that really matters is that you were able to play a game that you enjoy and love.  When you can remember that, the achievement will come.

I hope this article was helpful to realize how being grateful can really go a long way to improve not only your golf game but your life.

If you’re looking to get started on your own golf performance plan, you can schedule a no-obligation call or in-person appointment with me for no charge at all to get started.  I want to help you move better, get stronger, and swing faster, so you can be your best on and off the golf course!

In the meantime, here’s a link for 9 workouts that I made specific for golf performance.

If this was helpful I would love to know, feel free to send me an email.  If you have more questions or any other comments, I’d also love to know.  You can send me an email directly at and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.


Lung Hung Chen & Chia-Huei Wu (2014) Gratitude Enhances Change in Athletes’ Self-Esteem: The Moderating Role of Trust in Coach, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 26:3, 349-362, DOI: 10.1080/10413200.2014.889255
Fredrickson BL, Tugade MM, Waugh CE, Larkin GR. What good are positive emotions in crises? A prospective study of resilience and emotions following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003;84(2):365-376. doi:10.1037//0022-3514.84.2.365
Hill PL, Allemand M, Roberts BW. Examining the Pathways between Gratitude and Self-Rated Physical Health across Adulthood. Pers Individ Dif. 2013;54(1):92-96. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2012.08.011

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