Almost everyone, who is playing golf regularly or even occasionally has been in a competitive environment, when it comes to the game of golf. Whether it's the Club Championship, as being a guest, a corporate outing or even just the regular Sunday game, nervousness or anxiousness or even self-doubt may not be very far behind.
For many, these feelings are a major reason they don't continue playing golf. Golf seems to take more time than most sports to get a good grasp of how to hit the ball, or even how to act on a golf course. People are afraid to get in an environment where they and their game are exposed for all to see.
So the question becomes how to control these emotions, to play to the best of everyone’s own abilities?
First of all, being able to play every day with continuous repetition can help with your game, and most importantly, your confidence.
But most people are not in the position in their lives, where playing every day is a possibility.
Setting goals like making sure to having each and every day a club in your hands for at least ten minutes will have a great impact.
It doesn't sound like much, but even if hitting balls, putting, or even swinging in a mirror for just a few minutes, your mind feels and remembers the touch.
Now, with the knowledge that most people aren't going to do this, just grabbing a club and swinging it for a few minutes whenever possible, can and will make a huge difference on the mental side of the game for you.
The difference between being nervous and scared is being prepared.
When you do show up for that next important round you will feel like you've done just that little more than the next guy, only with setting a new mental state.
As for when you show up on the day of the event, there a few things that you can do to try and kill that self-doubt:
While nothing is more important than being prepared for the day of the event, getting there early enough to hit a few of the different shots you'll face that day can be very reassuring.
There are certain ways to start a routine to warm up for a tournament, this is one of them:
- Showing up a good hour beforehand.
- Going directly to the putting green and hitting a lot of long putts to try and establish a feeling of the greens. (During this first session, do not try to hit any short putts, since the mindset for this event is to win, and losing directly with short puts in the warm-up can build up a blockade)
- After about fifteen minutes, it's time to go to the driving range, working once through the bag starting with the lob wedge and hitting a few balls with every other club.
- Even if it sounds odd, making yourself nervous during warming up is can be very beneficial.
Trying to visualize that a few shots are while playing already on the course can change your behavior later. This not only will gives you a better idea of how you're hitting it that day, but when you get to a similar shot on the course, it will feel easier.
Almost all golfers, when they get under some pressure, tend to speed up their swing and get too quick, so while you're warming up, really focus on that tempo and balance.
- When you finally work up to that driver, make sure you hit a few shots envisioning you're on that first tee. It will make a big difference when you finally stand up there.
- After warming up, it's time for the chipping area, hitting a few bunker and chip shots, then going back to the putting green, to finally work on the short game
Going through a routine like this will only make you feel more prepared when your big round starts, but nothing is going to cure you of all your nerves.
Try to remember, that being nervous is a great part of the game.
Try to embrace being in a position where your shots mean something, and even though it's easier said than done, this is the kind of attitude you need to find before you step on that first tee.
After all, golf is a game, it's meant to be fun, it's not life and death, so don't be afraid of failure and believe in your abilities. And remember, the guy standing next to you is going through the same emotions you are!!