Have you ever thought about how journaling could help your golf game? OK, before you click away, hear me out…

Occasionally, I have interesting things to say to the athletes I work with. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t.

My favorite thing—genuinely!—is when they come to me with a new idea they came up with, and I realize their great idea is actually something I suggested to them many months ago. After all, an idea is always more powerful to us when it’s our own. If something I said was so meaningful that their brain tucked it away for a time, only to have it reemerge as their own, I’m thrilled. 

One Simple Practice Might Just Help Your Golf Game

The happened to me recently regarding the concept of journaling. Now before you think I want you to go buy a diary with a little heart-shaped lock and key and a set of glitter pens, hear me out. A journal is merely a record—so if you really think about it, your scorecard is a journal of sorts.

Not only that, but some of the greatest athletes in the world have talked about the impact of intentional journaling. If it works for them, why not you? Recording facts, feelings, and thoughts can allow us to capitalize more powerfully on our experience and enhance our performance.

When I suggest my athletes start journaling, I often provide a suggestion on the type of journaling I think they should do based on our conversation. Since I can’t sit down with you and assess what will work best, let’s get you started on the most generally impactful type of journaling to improve your game.

person writing in journal

How To Journal To Improve Your Golf Game

Most of us are willing to try anything—anything!—to get a better swing on the golf course. If you’re skeptical how journaling can help your golf game, why not just give it a try and see for yourself?

Keep a notebook in your golf bag that is for mental game journaling only. Immediately after your round, pull it out and jot down these things:

  • One thing that didn’t go well. How you can improve on this for your next round?
  • One thing you learned today (it can be technical, mental, or even just a fact about your playing partner)
  • Your best shot of the day. What felt good about it?
  • Three things about the round that went well

These questions serve a few purposes. To start, they force you to briefly, positively reflect on what didn’t go as well as you would have liked during your round. Because you’re ending your reflection on what did go well, you’re more likely to replicate shots you’re proud of in the future. These questions also help you to process the round right away, so you can move on without overthinking or second guessing yourself. Finally, making this practice a habit allows you to go back, review old entries, and reflect on what has improved over time, which can be really encouraging on those days where your game really feels like trash.

Journaling—Your Next Great Idea

Advice can only go so far—you have to really embrace journaling to see a benefit. So I’ll give you this: I’ll let you pretend journaling was your great idea. Pretend you never read this, hide a pen and paper somewhere, and in a couple of months pull it out and come up with the novel idea to begin journaling! I think it just might revolutionize your golf game.

PS—I won’t judge you if you do pick the glitter pens. We all love a little glitter now and again.

Dr. Chelsi Day

Dr. Day is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is an Ohio native who completed her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Health and Sport Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio while competing on the Varsity Swimming and Diving team as a diver. She then went on to earn a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology followed by a Master's degree and later a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.