Do You Feel Pressure When Golfing?
Do you become overwhelmed by pressure situations on the golf course?
When the game is on the line, are you able to stay calm and focused or does fear and anxiety well up within you?
Think of a moment when you needed to make a shot at a critical time of a tournament… Were you able to maintain your focus?
Pressure situations can cause a flood of worry and fear…
You start thinking about all those “what ifs.”
Your breathing speeds up and you can feel the mounting tension in your shoulders…
You become so sweaty that you readjust your grip several times…
You can see the ball but you sense catastrophe is about to happen.
During critical moments in golf, there are so many things battling for your attention (physical and emotional responses to stress, negative thinking and fear of failure, etc).
Focusing on what you need to do may seem impossible even though you know that’s exactly what you need to do.
Blocking out distractions and focusing on your game plan are key skills that help you play optimally at critical moments.
Justin Rose is a 33 year-old professional golfer who has six career PGA Tour victories.
Rose most recently won the 2014 Quicken Loans National by beating Shawn Stefani at the first playoff hole.
Tied for the lead on the 18th hole, Rose landed a shot in the water and had to sink a 15-foot bogey putt just to stay in contention. Rose two-putted the playoff hole for par and the victory.
Caddie Mark Fulcher informed Rose he was tied for the lead and let go of his past shots. Rose regained his poise and focused on sinking his putt.
“So everything else was forgotten at that point [his water shot]. I wiped the slate clean and just focused on my putt on 18,” Rose said.
Rose focused on his strengths even though he had difficulties with parts of his game throughout the tournament:
“I had to rely on different parts of my game all week. Thursday I just really struggled and then had to dig deep mentally on the back nine, and Friday I putted much better. Saturday, I hit the driver really, really well. Today I struggled off the tee. And you know, I had to find a different way to get it done today… today was a bit more of grinding it out.”
Fulcher advised Rose to focus on his game and not on his opponent during the playoff.
“You’ve just got to play the hole, play the course. You can’t really get too much into playing the man,” said Fulcher.
Try these tips to improve your focus during critical shots…
- Let go of the last shot or hole quickly… The past no longer matters because you can’t change it. The great thing about golf is that you can still recover and shoot a good score despite some bad shots.
- Focus on what’s relevant to execution. This starts with awareness of what you want to focus on for each shot or putt. When you realize your focus is drifting off your preshot routine, refocus or restart your routine altogether.
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