October 24, 2011

How To Achieve An ACE In Golf

How to Achieve an “ACE” in Golf


Players regularly express frustration about a wide assortment of things with their game.  Among them: inconsistent swings, not being able to take practice shots onto the course, an array of putting difficulties, dealing with slow players, struggling with how wind or cold hampers play. 

What is the one common thread among all of these things?   The common thread is that none of these things are completely within the player’s control.  Even for the professional and elite amateur players with whom I work there is an irrational notion that the harder one works and/or the more knowledge one gains about this game should somehow translate into having control over this game. 

When confronted directly with this, anyone who plays golf would admit they don’t have control over it.  Yet, time and time again, people allow themselves to get caught up in and distracted by the nuances of golf over which they don’t have complete control. 


Here is a tip on how to help defeat this tendency.  Focus on those few things over which you do have control by remembering the acronym ACE. 

Attitude, concentration, and effort (ACE) are the only things over which we have control in golf.  The more we focus on that over which we have control, the less frustration, anxiety, worry and anger we will have on the course.  This regularly translates into lower scores and a higher level of enjoyment of the game.  

One way to help you pay attention to this principle is to keep track of these elements when you play.  One suggestion is to keep track of this on your scorecard.  Try attending to and working on these three factors as you play casual or competitive rounds of golf. Give yourself a score from 1-10 in each of these categories on a hole-by-hole basis.  What we regularly see is a tremendous correlation between high ACE scores and lower stroke scores.  If that seems too cumbersome, reflect after the round about these elements and give yourself an overall ACE score for the round.


Obviously, simply attending to the ACE variables is not going to overcome a poor swing, bumpy greens, wind gusts to 30 mph, or the fact that the players in the group in front of you are slow.  What reminding ourselves of ACE does do, however, is put us in the proper mind set to do all that we can to play the best that we can in that moment, whatever the conditions, and leave the rest for others to worry about!


Jeff Troesch is an internationally recognized expert in the field of mental skills training and performance enhancement and has been involved in training athletes and other elite performers for nearly 18 years.  Jeff served as Director of Mental Training for David Leadbetter’s Golf Academies, where he was instrumental in assisting in the development of the training programs and methodology that continues to produce golf champions around the world. He works with several touring professionals and amateur players – assisting them in the creation of optimal training plans and developmental strategies.  

Jeff’s work and his opinions have been featured in several media outlets, including: Golf Digest; Golf Week magazine; Asian Golf Magazine; Baseball America; Fox Sports’ “Going Deep”; Gillette Sports Week; Wide World of Sports; Tennis Magazine; and several international publications.  Jeff speaks annually at selected AJGA events and continues to be a regular columnist for Golf Extra, Scratch Golfer, Par Four, and Texas Junior Golfer magazines, as well as The Desert Sun newspaper.




Leave a Reply