Fearless Golf!

Play with a better mind and shoot lower scores

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Play your pattern:
If you normally hit a 20-yard fade, then play for the pattern of that shot. Under pressure, you'll tend to hit your pattern of shot and sometimes it will get even more exaggerated. Don't try to hit a shot that's uncomfortable for you to pull off, even if the hole is more suited for, let's say, a 20-yard draw. Stick with the shot that works best for you that's also the easiest for you to pull off.

Club selection:
Just because the first hole is a par-4 or par-5, it doesn't mean you need to hit a driver. If you're more confident you can hit a solid shot with a 3-wood or hybrid, then keep the driver in the bag on the first hole, second hole or any hole thereafter. If you do feel confident with the driver, be ready to swing it 100%. Any less than that likely will result in a swing that tries to steer the golf ball.

Stay calm & breathe:
Fear shows up in your body through increasing your grip pressure, which in turn, changes swing mechanics and how the clubface goes through the shot. Get your grip pressure in the proper place by moving the club in a circular pattern. This will help you become aware of how tight you're gripping the club and get your feel back before you get over the golf ball.

Fear equals tension, and tension destroys golf swings. Use careful breathing to regain control to minimize tension and help you swing in good tempo. Breathing should be done with deep, diaphragmatic breaths that will change your focus from the result of the shot to getting relaxed.

Master the fundamentals

To hit better pitch shots, it's always best to stick with basic fundamentals and avoid trying to finesse the ball with the hands. Instead, play the ball with a slightly open stance, put the ball ahead of center in your stance, and use a very light grip pressure. From there, swing the handle low and left while sliding the clubhead under the ball. I like to think of keeping the clubface facing the sky through impact, which helps me get the ball higher into the air. Also, notice the divot I took in the photo above? Yes, that's right. Divots are for short shots, too, so don't be afraid to cut some turf. Notice my weight, too, and how at impact it's leaning left. That's a surefire sign I wasn't intimidated by the bunker and I swung with an accelerating stroke.


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