Butterflies in your stomach on the first tee. Negative thoughts as you prepare to hit your approach shot to the green protected by water. Sweaty palms when you trying to make that critical putt on the 18th green.
Nerves on the golf course are not a bad thing. It shows that you care about your score, and you want to improve. Listen to PGA tour professional interviews and you will hear them talk about being nervous. Being nervous isn’t the problem – letting your nerves impact your next shot is what you need to avoid.
Regardless if you are playing in a local tournament or simply have a wager with friends, learning to execute golf shots under pressure is the key. We think we can help!
3 Tips to Manage Your Nerves on The Golf Course
The best way to learn to play under pressure is through repetition. For example, the first time you play in a golf tournament you will be nervous, but the second time it will get easier. By the tenth time, you may not even notice your nerves.
Successfully executing golf shots under pressure will build confidence, but this does take time. Here are some techniques to try when you start to feel the nerves.
Tip #1 - Remember A Time You Played the Next Shot Well
One of our favorite golf quotes was from Bobby Jones. He said, “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course, the space between your ears.”. When you start to get nervous on the golf course, negative thoughts try to enter your mind. You start thinking about shanking a shot or missing a short putt.
Push these thoughts aside by focusing on a time you properly executed the shot you are about to hit. Are you standing on the first tee? Think back to a time you crushed your first tee shot down the middle. Don’t make the swing until you can see that shot in your mind.
Tip #2 - When Flustered, Take a Breath (Or a Few)
If your mind starts to race and everything seems to be happening too fast, take a moment to collect yourself. Simply taking a deep breath can re-center you and help you focus on the next shot.
Find a method that works for you, but we like the 478 technique. Inhale through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth making a whoosh sound for a count of eight. Now make a confident swing!
Tip #3 - Develop and Stick to A Routine
Have you ever watched basketball players on the free-throw line? They all have a specific routine. Two dribbles, spin the ball, focus on the rim, and shoot. You need the same thing on the golf course.
If you see a player on the course that starts to take more practice swings later in the round, they are feeling the nerves and can’t pull the trigger. Establish your routine and never break it.
For example: select your club, stand behind your ball & take a practice swing, take your stance, and make a confident swing. Teach yourself to repeat this sequence on every shot. If something happens during your routine that throws you off track, start over.
It doesn’t matter if you are playing in a major championship or practicing on the driving range – stick to your routine!
Learn to control your nerves and watch your scores (and golf handicap) start to decrease.
Make sure to check out www.Mullybox.com for more tips, tricks, and a monthly subscription that makes life easier for golfers!
Author: Ray Dingledine
Ray has played golf for over 30 years and competed at the collegiate level. He now enjoys coaching his local high school team and playing in amateur events.