• Mike Smith, ForeCollegeGolf

What’s holding YOU back?

In golf, as in life, there are the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. We are seeing it more and more in college athletics, and now, even in junior golf. The ‘haves’ not only possess the necessary skills to excel on the course, but also have the secret ingredient that truly separates them from their peers: Self-Belief.

This conversation has popped up recently with a few competitive ForeCollegeGolf clients and as we begin the high-school golf season here in Florida, it’s the perfect time to understand the importance of self-belief.

As everyone knows, the game of golf is a rollercoaster ride. From hole to hole, round to round, week to week, month to month, year to year; you get the point. Your game and your outlook are constantly changing and far too often we are discouraged by our own shortcomings and even demotivated by the successes of others.

In golf, there are times when you feel like you are at the top of the mountain and can’t be touched and there are times where you’re so low that you feel like you just want to climb into a hole. Everyone has experienced these feelings at some point, you’re not alone.

We need to begin to grasp and appreciate that golf itself is a game, a game of variables, a funky game! There will be times where you’ll feel like you’ll never play well again and there will be times where you feel like you’ll never be beat again. In this article, we’re going to “debunk the funk” and show you how to start your journey to unconditional self-belief.

Recently, the topic of self-belief kept coming up when speaking with a few of my clients. Whether it was them being successful on the golf course or mustering up the courage to call a college coach at their dream school; the common denominator of their successes was their unwavering belief in their abilities. Not surprisingly, they kept achieving, some FAR BEYOND what their current skill levels predicted. These juniors were playing better golf and generating more interest from college coaches than ever before.

But how?

As a college recruiting expert and someone who cares deeply about junior golfers, one of the most difficult challenges I face on a daily basis is persuading juniors to believe unconditionally in their own abilities. It’s not because they don’t believe me or trust my opinion. It’s truly because they need something more ‘real’ than words. They need proof. They need facts. They need to see it, touch it, smell it, taste it and hear it.

While coaches can certainly try to build self-belief by communication, ultimately that belief has to be earned by the player.

You may now be asking yourself, so how do I earn self-belief?

In my experiences, the best way for a player to begin believing in him/herself is to remember and look back on past successes. At FCG, we work tirelessly with our clients to help them build their own Success Shelf – a place in their own minds where they have the opportunity to store positive memories and experiences that retell the player that they are capable of excelling. Not in just one area but in an assortment of situations. Not just sometimes but all the time.

In our practices, players who show the most growth also possess thought out, well designed and most importantly – written practice plans. The plans aren’t super comprehensive or overwhelming. They aren’t encyclopedias that only a rocket-scientist could decipher. They’re small booklets of drills and games that keep the player in a state somewhere between complete boredom and overwhelming anxiety. Our practice goal for juniors is this - to refine their techniques and clarify concepts while also building self-belief and working intently on transferring the skills mastered in practice to competition.

It’s that simple? Yes, it really is.

Bottom line, without your own Success Shelf, personalized practice plans and an unconditional belief in your abilities; you might not ever get the opportunity to ‘tap-into’ your own potential.

Don’t believe me? Take a peek inside Jason Day’s mind in this short documentary:

“Never Say Die!”

The real message here: Whether you’re a highly skilled pro or just a junior golfer trying to develop your game, you will only get so far without Self-Belief. Have personal conviction with everything you do, become better at who YOU are & most importantly, believe in yourself and your abilities NO MATTER WHAT!

Mike Smith is the Founder & CEO of ForeCollegeGolf and specializes in assisting junior golfers & their families through the college recruiting process. Email him @

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Special Note- Per NCAA Bylaws, I do not market a prospective student-athletes athletic ability or reputation, negotiate or promise scholarships, or serve as an agent or swing instructor in any way. I may serve as a reference for PSA's. In addition, it is permissible for ForeCollegeGolf to distribute high school academic and athletic records to college coaches without jeopardizing a PSA's eligibility. I help my clients manage all forms of communication (email, phone calls, personal meetings) with college coaches, and encourage the players I work with to correspond directly with coaches as part of an effective personal marketing plan. 


In accordance with NCAA Rules & Bylaws, fees and services are not contingent on a prospective student-athlete being recruited or receiving financial aid. All payments are due based on the terms of the enrolled program. Michael J. Smith, Golf Excellence LLC and Fore College Golf do not serve or act as an agent in any way. ForeCollegeGolf TM, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 


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