Will Your Golf Swing Work Under Pressure?

OK, so it wasn’t the US Open, but having the honor and opportunity to do a “beat the pro” day for the Richmond Henrico Rotary Club was fun and adds that element of pressure you need, to see if you’re swing will perform under pressure.  The pro has to hit about 30 shots in a row of the same shot, (with the buys back there watching probably hoping you will top it so they feel better about themselves) and of course no one can hit 30 in a row close to the hole.  You have some close ones, some really bad ones and a bunch in the middle.

I like it because it gives me a chance to meet the guys and gals personally and shake their hand.  It is the amateurs that make this game great not the pros.  If folks didn’t like the game so much, that they are willing to part with their hard earned cash to play the game, I wouldn’t have a job.  Or maybe I would have to get one!

Every golfer has several swings.

Swing 1: Your swing on the driving range practicing
Swing 2: Your swing when playing a casual round of golf with a friend
Swing 3: Your swing when playing in a Captain’s Choice tournament with your buddies watching you, praying for you to hit a decent shot and take them off the hot seat.
Swing 4: Your swing when playing in a real golf tournament such as a State Golf Organization like the VSGA we have here in Virginia.

Tiger said that you have to work on a swing change on the range.  Then prove you can take it to the golf course.  Then use it in a golf tournament and then use it in a major.  There is a significant difference in each step.  Questions is: “Why does it fall apart under pressure?”

I might have the answer.  Yes, I say might.  Who really knows?  My contention is you can only think about one thing at a time.  Your focus should be on the shot you want, picturing it in your mind, seeing it happen before it does.  You should NOT be thinking about a swing motion position.  You must nag your swing change into submission so that it is natural to you, (your body wants to go there) before testing it on the golf course.  Nothing wrong with testing it on the golf course while you’re working on it but don’t expect consistent results until it’s second nature.

Like Arnold Palmer used to say, “if you don’t bring it with you when you come, you ain’t gonna get it while you’re here!”

Of course confidence is a big factor but confidence comes with consistent performance, so which is first?  One can be falsely overly confident in their abilities only to be disappointed.  In my old gambling days we searched out theses individuals and called them a sweat roll.  An over analysis of one’s self which leads to a great payday for those who know how to exploit it.

Every golfer has to have their own pre-shot routine and thoughts which meld with their personality.  Here’s what I do, which may or may not help you.

Step 1: I read the defense.  The golf course is the defense.  Is there trouble on the right or left, short or behind the green that I MUST avoid.

Step2: Choose the shot pattern I want.  Let’s pretend the trouble is on the right. Maybe I’ll set the golf club face about 2 degrees closed at address as an insurance policy to make sure the ball doesn’t go right, (you move the ball with your golf club face, not your swing).

Step 3: Picture the shot you want in your mind’s eye.  Actually see it fly in your mind and feel what the shot will feel like when you hit it.  That doesn’t say you will always pull it off.  Golf is a game of miss-hits.

Step 4: Get behind the golf ball and align yourself, the ball and your target line, all in a straight line.  Set your golf club face where you want to go, (then close it two degrees).  Align the rest of your body according to the path you want to hit the golf ball.

Step 5: Now go hit it and only think about the shot you wanted and perform.  Your golf shot should be an instant reply of what you already envisioned.

If you do NOT even come close to what you hoped for make a note.  Do NOT try and fix it on the golf course!  Keep taking notes, keep trying to perform what it is you want to perform, make the assessment after the round.

This seems like a lot to do but once it’s a habit, it’s not.  Keep in mind that there might be some golfers behind you pulling their hair out, so please keep that in mind.  Get a rhythm going during your pre-shot routine so it becomes repetitive.

Hope this helps and please consider this. Once you set up a plan give it time to take effect.  Be patient!  It took Tiger 18 months to implement all the changes Butch Harmon added and Butch is NOT one to change much.