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Playing Golf Under Pressure

Written by Bobby Lopez


Posted on June 19 2009

Playing Golf Under Pressure

Whether it’s the US Open or a $2.00 Nassau with your buddies everyone feels some kind of pressure when they attempt to perform. An entertainer experiences pressure before starting a show, as does a concert pianist etc. How about Doctors about to perform a major operation…now that’s pressure! Somebody could die…this is only golf.

Let me give you a few tips that helped me. Please understand that we are talking about the mind and individual personal conditions that each of us carry along with us. Differences in personality and mental makeup. Also consider that sometimes the pressure is strictly psychological.

The first hurdle I had to climb was to NOT care what other golfers think. A touring pro I would used to take lessons with would make me rip up my score card after the round whether the score was good or bad. He would say…”it’s over and nobody cares.”

It true…can you remember who finished third in the US Open in 2005? You might not remember who won! I don’t…and yes I don’t care.

You’re not out to impress anyone and if you are concerned that you are going to be looked at in a negative manner just because you had a bad day on the golf course then you need to NOT play competitive golf.

My son Brandon was a football place kicker. I think the pressure place kickers experience is far greater than that of a golfer. You have 40 guys who are sweating on the side line after working their tails off all day and you are asked to make a 35 yard field goal to win the game. You have to face those same guys in the locker room after the game and during practice all week long.

What I taught my son I will now share with you. I always told him, “if you are busy enough trying to accomplish your pre-kick routine then you won’t have time to get nervous.”

I believe you need a very good pre-shot routine before you hit a golf ball. First you decide what club to hit and how the shot will look once you hit it…all in your mind’s eye. Then you start your pre-shot routine of approaching the golf ball the same way every time. Taking the same number of waggles before you hit every time…then let her go. What ever happens…..happens! No use worrying

You have to believe in your practice habits first…believing that you practiced the proper things and that you did them the proper way. Then you need to believe that you’re making the right decision in club selection and shot selection. Then believe in your pre-shot routine and again let it go. Don’t second guess yourself.

Stay focused on these tasks and you won’t have time to get nervous.

Jimmy Demerit gave me a tip once. He said whenever he would get a little tight on the golf course he would just say to himself. “well they can’t electrocute me if I play bad”. He said he would relax and do fine.

Relax and enjoy the game. They won’t electrocute you if you play bad but if I find out I might water board you!

Bobby Lopez, PGA