Golf Mental Game Essentials: How to Control Your Fear
Golf isn’t a sport that most people associate with fear. When you think about fear in sports, you probably think about those that are physically dangerous – such as downhill skiing or driving a race car. While golf will never be lumped into those categories, there is a certain type of fear that can take over your mind when playing a round of golf. It is the fear of failure. The fear of hitting your ball into a hazard, or behind a tree, or missing a short putt. It isn’t fear for your safety, but rather fear for your success.
If you find that you are fighting fear on the golf course, try using the following tips to regain control and play your best –
- Get lost in the shot. Golf is simply a collection of individual shots. As you go through your round, work hard to mentally separate one shot from the next, rather than thinking of it as an accumulation. Of course, each shot on a given hole is connected by the position of the ball, but you can still think about your round in terms of each shot being an isolated event. This helps from a mental perspective because you won’t be thinking about the big picture of your score, since you are simply focused on hitting each individual shot to the best of your ability.
- Pick shots you know you can hit. Fear quickly increases when you try to take on a shot you aren’t sure you can execute properly. For example, if you decide to try and carry your ball over a water hazard all the way to the green, but the distance might be too much for you to handle, you will instantly become afraid of the shot. Avoid this situations and feelings by making smart decisions. Only pick targets that you are confident you can reach, and your emotions will be far more positive.
- Keep it in perspective. At the end of the day, it’s just golf. While all golfers want to play better and improve their scores, there are more important things in life than your golf score. With that in mind, relax and let go of the fear that you have about any specific shot or the round as a whole. Enjoy the chance to play the game, and push the fear aside so you can have fun while playing your best.