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  Mental Preparation, Reducing Your Handicap  
Unlike boxing or athletics, where the physical aspect of the boxer or the athlete is extremely important, golf is one game, where the mental setup of a player is equally important as compared to the physical condition. A proper mental preparation will increase your concentration and confidence and thus help in reducing your handicap.
However, if mental preparation was the only criteria to reduce your handicap, then all the best chess players would probably also be the best golf players. But, a high level of mental preparation has to be accompanied by regular practice, in order to improve your mechanics. The right combination of your mental preparation along with rigorous practice is the only way, by which you can successfully reduce your handicap. Often, it is the result of poor mental concentration that can restrict a player from delivering the right shots.

The problem with just practicing to improve your short and long game is that you might be unable to advance beyond a certain skill level after a period of time. This might give rise to boredom or frustration and this could in fact drag you down even further. In such a case, you will need to set higher limits for yourself first and then mentally prepare yourself to achieve them. In order to improve your mental concentration, you will have to dig deep into your sub-conscious mind and ferret out the reasons that have kept you on a leash in the past. Banish all negative thoughts from your mind, when you step on the golf course. Lock your emotional baggage in your locker and only concentrate on the shot at hand, when you are on the green. Golf is a game to be enjoyed and your performance will improve only when you really enjoy playing the game.

Instead of waiting for your confidence to improve after reducing your handicap, you will need to think the other way round. Imagine yourself as an excellent golfer. Even as you stand poised with your club in your hand, paint a mental picture of the ball dropping next to the pin or hear the sweet sound of the putt hitting the bottom of the cup. Let these thoughts get you in the right frame of mind. Do not let the chatter of your fellow golfers or any other distraction divert your attention away from the ball. Ensure that every limb of your body remains flexible by doing proper limb stretching warm-ups before every game. Do not be disheartened by a bad shot and do not analyze every shot to death. Instead, make a quick calculation on areas that need improvement after every shot.
Use the correct club for your swing and bank on your short game, so that you can make pars. You will certainly make additional birdies, once your long game improves. Another mental exercise is to sit every evening and envision some of your best shots during the game. This will provide you with the answer, as to why you love to play the game in the first place and also improve your confidence. In this way, you will find your handicap improving with every game.

Mental preparation is an ongoing process and will be required, as you slowly progress to lower handicap levels. By keeping a calm and uncluttered mind, excluding confidence and constantly practicing towards improving your mechanics, you too can reduce your handicap to your dream level.

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