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Golf mental tips and how to play golf well under pressure

Hi there

I was having a chat with my dear old Dad last night and he voiced his astonishment – as he does quite often, at why two of our best Australian golfers (Robert Allenby and Marcus Frazer)- who were shooting it out in a 3-hole play-off for our Australian P.G.A title on the weekend, both hit it left into the water with their Drivers on the first playoff (hole #18).

Dad’s a pretty conservative guy and he voiced his bewilderment at:

1. The club choice and

2. How such good tour pro’s could make a mistake like this.

Greg Chalmers who also won the Australian open the week before the Presidents cup, hit a 3-wood down the center and had an easy win. I explained to Dad a couple of things:

Marcus Frazer would never have been under such pressure before. Allenby has been in a dozen or so playoffs and has a very good record.

It comes down to 1. ACKNOWLEDGING that you are nervous and realizing you have a whole lot of “nervous energy” circulating round your body and 2. Having the coping strategies to deal with the situation.

And one of the problems is that pro’s and amateurs don’t often get into these situations very often – so it is hard to prepare for such a scenario. Obviously they are at very different levels but they have similar physiological phenomena occurring in their circularity systems.

Players that realize when they have “cracked” and really want to develop and learn from the experience, take a cold, hard, reflective look at what went wrong and come up with “coping strategies” for the next “pressure situation” – which could be some time away. They become better players as a consequence. This is key to improving in golf and in life.

On the club choice, yes a 3-wood has more loft on it which means more backspin and less side-spin, compared to playing a driver – hence – less curve on a poorly struck shot.

Having said that, many good golfers can hit a hook quite easily with a 3-wood (the water was on the left in the play-off). The coping strategy for the situation I think is slightly more important than club selection (of course you must go with the club you feel comfortable with).

I get nervous on the golf course and probably naturally have an “aroused-energetic default level” compared to a laid-back Freddy Couples or Jack Nicklaus. But over the years I have studied and learned how to relax enough to harness that energy under pressure and use it for good!

I’m quite a reflective, analytical guy and big on personal development, whether that is health and fitness, learning about new subjects

or getting the most out of myself when on the golf course. Golf can teach us so much about life. How to learn from our mistakes, how to be creative, how to take calculated

risks, how to prepare and how to grow and improve – if we are willing to improve that is.

If you have “choked before” (that means everyone:) and would like to learn how to cope with pressure better so you can keep that “personal-best-score going” or how to make less dumb mistakes on the course, take a look at Golf Mental Mastery. It’s a short E-Book on Golf Mental keys that I have written.

It is over at my Truth About Putting Website. I’m sure you will like it.

In part 2 of “This Golf Mental Tips Series” on how to Play Golf Well under Pressure I take a look at why a great Australian golfer with over 90 International Professional victories

struggled when closing out majors.

Cheers,

AP

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