How to Turn Pressure Into a Positive
The funny thing about pressure is that it can either help or hurt your play on the golf course.
Most golfers have trouble believing that pressure can fuel performance and even fewer golfers buy into the fact that pressure is necessary to perform at your peak.
Here are the reasons why pressure gets a bad reputation:
- Many golfers equate pressure with anxiety – “When I’m faced with a difficult shot, I get so anxious.”
- Many golfers attribute mistakes to pressure – “There was too much pressure on the 18th hole that I drove the ball right into the sand.”
- Many golfers believe that pressure is an all-or-nothing proposition – “I was calm on the first two holes, then pressure took over.”
- Many golfers conclude that pressure leads to failure – “I was overwhelmed by the pressure and choked during the round.” Or, “I always play bad when I’m under pressure.”
It’s all a matter of perspective.
These major events have seen some of the best golfers in the world succumb to pressure.
In the majors, there are so many factors that could potentially add to the pressure; crowds, top competition, media attention, rankings and prize money.
Therefore, to succeed on the Tour, a golfer needs to be able to regulate pressure and focus on their game.
LPGA golfer, Georgia Hall, was up against a lot in the 2018 Women’s British Open. At 22 years-old, Hall was competing in her first Tour event, which so happened to be a Major.
Those two aspects alone could raise the “pressure bar” to insurmountable heights.
Hall dueled Pornanong Phatlum throughout the final round and only took the lead for the first time after a 20-foot putt for birdie at the 16th hole.
After taking the lead, Hall stayed steady and won the tournament by two strokes.
How did Hall regulate pressure, remain composed, stay focused and win the biggest tournament of her life?
Hall viewed the final round as a challenge, not as a crisis.
Hall’s “challenge” mindset was the key in helping her hit successful shots down the stretch to take the title with a final round of five-under-par 67, which included six birdies, and gave her a finish of 17-under 271.
HALL: “I was loving it deep down, hitting the shots under pressure. To get six birdies in the final round of a major is not bad.”
“Loving it” are not the words many golfers would use to characterize their experience with pressure but when you see the challenge in the shots you are facing, there is an excitement that fills your mind instead of worry.
It is the sense of excitement that helps you rise up to the challenge no matter what scenario you are facing.
You can to learn effective strategies to manage pressure and perform your best in a vast array of golf circumstances.
A present moment focus is key to manage the pressure you feel.
Using Pressure in a Positive Way
The pressure you experience is directly related to your perspective of the situation. If you don’t think you can cope, you will feel stress.
Start by questioning your thinking in the moment about what you feel.
“Do I always miss 10-foot putts or is that something I am exaggerating in this moment?”
“If I miss this shot, does it negate all the good shots I’ve made?”
“Even though I just double bogeyed, what can I do to make up some shots over the next few holes?”
Think: pressure will help me be alert and focus my best.
When you’re alert, you have higher intensity, which leads to better focus.
As my mentor Ken Ravizza used to say, “Get the butterflies to fly in formation,” don’t fear the added adrenaline and energy.
Learn more strategies to cope with pressure with “The Golfer’s Mental Edge” audio and workbook program:
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