How to Play Better Golf Under Pressure
Whether you are gearing up for the high school golf season, prepping for an upcoming Member-Member, or just getting ready for a big weekend round with your friends, you are undoubtedly worried that all those great shots you hit on the range won’t transfer to your next competitive round. A good golf game is not something that can just be turned on and off—it has to constantly be tuned and developed. In this article, I am going to give you a few suggestions as to how you can keep your game sharp and always bring your “A Game” to the course.If you want to be able to play well in your competitive rounds, all of your practices on the range and fun rounds have to be more about quality than quantity. It is nearly impossible to go from rapid firing balls on the range without a care in the world to needing to knock it close because your partner hit it in the woods. The more we can put ourselves in game-like situations, the better we will perform when it really counts. There are several ways to go about doing this:
- Always pick a specific target on the range, and change that target often. I would recommend spending the first part of your time on the range working on whatever changes your PGA/LPGA Instructor has given you to make (while still focused on the those targets) and the second part playing pretend holes. Pick tricky holes that you have trouble with and play them on the range. Be sure to go through your routine on every shot, just as you would in a real round. Doing this type of practice on the range will keep you in each shot mentally and will make hitting it to a specific target on the course nothing out of the ordinary.
- Practice short game! Practice short game! Practice short game! No one ever seems to practice their short game, yet the majority of shots on the course are played from inside 60 yards. When you practice your short game, make it count. Try to get up and down with just one ball. Pretend like each shot or putt is to win something big. Don’t just pour a pile of balls and whack away. A good short game takes a lot of pressure off the long game.
- Don’t take gimmes or mulligans (or even that “well I won’t play this second ball, just let me see what I can do” shot). It’s not that I don’t believe that you can make that seven incher, it’s that not finishing each hole or hitting extra balls takes us out of a competitive mindset and causes us to lose track of how the round is actually going. Play only one ball, play it as it lies, and finish even the shortest of putts. This will give you closure on each hole and allow you to stay mentally sharp by letting you know where you really stand score wise.
- Always put pencil to paper. Keep score even if you’re playing alone. This adds pressure and keeps you in a game-like situation. Not only should you always be keeping score, but also you should be keeping it correctly. If you hit a shot out of bounds, proceed under the Rules of Golf, don’t just say “oh I’ll drop one up there”. Play and count every shot like you are in a tournament.
- Finally, develop a routine and stick to it. Whether it’s how many practice swings you take or how many times you inhale and exhale before a shot, make sure you do the same thing every single time. Focus on the routine, not on what the shot means. This will instantly alleviate the pressure.
Hopefully these tips will allow you to transfer those beautiful shots and incredible putts from the practice tee to the first tee of your next competitive round.
Enjoy the game and, remember, if you are interested in more tips visit my website or stop by the Kandi Comer Golf Academy located at Old Trail Golf Club in Crozet and just outside Charlottesville, VA.