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Handling the "Pressure" Shot

Tom J

The recent discussion of "most nervous" on the golf course prompted me to think about ways to handle the "pressure" shot. Some advice I've heard and tried to put into practice: developing a consistent pre-shot routine, emphasizing positive self-talk, and rehearsing the specific shot required on the first tee just before completing pre-round warm-up.

Anyone have a tip or an approach to calm the "nerves" that works for them?

6 Replies

  1. Patrick B

    For me (8 hcp), it is all about having a good routine and keeping it simple. In the end, it is only ever just you, the club, and the ball. Keep your muscles loose and don't grip the club too tight (in pressure situations I'll squeeze very tight and then relax to a normal grip just before my shot)...beyond that, your body knows what to do. One of my favorite aspects of this game has been finding the right state of mind to focus on just those few things.

    I got to put this to the test last year teeing off on the first hole of the Old Course at St. Andrews with about 300 people watching. No single swing has ever bolstered confidence in my swing more than smacking that one 280 right down the middle. :)
  2. Ryan M

    Yeah the "stay positive" might work for you, can't go wrong staying positive. Also after hitting a bad shot you can try to psych yourself up about how this next shot will be a great recover shot, and re-jumpstart your round positively (again just trying to stay positive).

  3. Gary D

    Is it just me or do a couple of cold ones help with nerves. I seem to play better with a little "swing oil". Helps to handle those pressure situations.
  4. Joshua B

    Breathing is key from what I hear...slow your walk, think about how great the course/scenery is...and breathe easy (not fast and rushed)
  5. Ralph C

    If you treat every shot like it's a pressure shot, there ARE no pressure shots... Pretend you're driving at the Long Drive Championship, putting to win the Masters, every shot you take. That way, when the heat really IS on, you're cool as a cucumber.
  6. Chris Hatem

    This is probably the most important thing I learned from my time with swing coach Derek Hooper: "practice with consequences". If you want to play well under pressure, you need to practice under pressure. To do this he would have me go through the irons hitting shots - in order to go to the next club down (longer) I would have to hit 3 in a row on the green and right of the flagstick (as my miss was usually left). So when I have already hit 2 on the green and just need one more to advance to the next club - there came the pressure. This got pretty difficult when I got up to the 5 and 4 irons.

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