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It is time to get in the zone. For a pitcher about to take the mound in a baseball game, it’s called ‘clear the mechanism.’ There is no game that can be more frustrating than golf. Yet it is a very peaceful, relaxing and rewarding game if you are mentally prepared. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare mentally for your next tee time.

Focus on your pre-shot routine. This goes for drives, chips, puts, everything, across the board. You don’t have to be entirely methodical, as you do want to remain relaxed. But the point is you don’t want to get in a hurry. The more relaxed you are, the better you will be able to focus.

One thing about golf is it is all about the shot you take, without all the hoopla that other sports can brings. Golfers tend to then blame themselves when something goes wrong. If you get worked up, the rest of your round could turn out quite badly.

If you are able to refocus and carry on, the next shot could be the best one you make all day. Keep your eye on that ball. Envision success as you make your shot. If you make a mistake, challenge yourself to do better under pressure, without feeling the stress.

Not only do you need to prepare your mind for the next round of golf, but you need to prepare your body, too. Get those stretches in prior to teeing off. The game of golf requires you to be flexible and limber so that your swing feels natural.

The biggest key to preparing mentally is to remain calm. Happy Gilmore was a great movie, and it showed, albeit in an unconventional way, how a golf game is ruined when players get upset. You don’t want to get upset with yourself, or that scorecard is going to tell the story.

Don’t set the bar so high. Take everything one shot at a time. Many golfers see that par 5 and think they have to make up for everything on the first drive. Well, you do that, and you could end up hooking the ball out into the woods. Nothing is worse than a do-over, right?

Take your time, stay focused and indeed, clear the mechanism. While the game of golf is a quiet one, there are still distractions. And it is easy to take your eye off of the ball when you are focusing on form and everything else. You want to hit that ball squarely and cleanly.

Practicing technique regularly and also practicing ahead of a round will help you prepare mentally as well. You want to be ready to go, with a smile on your face. Remember, there will be mistakes and other things that can throw you off along the way. When a baseball player strikes out, which is often, he doesn’t let it get to him on his next at bat. Take that same rule of thumb and apply it to your golf game.