Conquering FEAR in Golf

Hitting the ball short of the hole is a constant problem for amateurs. Off all the challenges I face on the links, under-clubbing is the most frustrating and obvious in my game. Using the wrong club can stem from many reasons, but for me it boils down to one thing. FEAR of going long! Yup, that is it. For some reason I am afraid to hit the ball past the hole or even worse over the back of the green.

As of right now, this FEAR is over! I choose not to let this FEAR influence my game anymore! I am exposing this dark cloud to the sunshine and making it disappear!

There are many reasons I can accept for playing a short approach shot. A poor lie, small green, blind approach shot, being outside of 175 yards or poor playing conditions. These challenges are realities while playing golf and proper course management usually helps reduce their effect on my game. Occasionally, I can accept misjudging something that results in a short approach shot, but none of the above cause any real frustration in my round of golf! But, hitting the ball short of the hole because of being afraid of hitting it long….well lets just say it really affects my next shot.

Sam Snead Fear

It is time for a change! Proper mental preparation will help me conquer my FEAR of hitting the ball long on approach shots. I must reframe the feeling of hitting the ball long from anxious to relaxed. To accomplish this, I believe that visualization will be the key. As I wait for the golf season to start, I mentally and physically prepare to play golf. This year, my mental preparation will include visualizing hitting the ball to hole on every approach shot!

If there is a situation on the golf course that causes you to feel uncomfortable or afraid, now is the time to address it! It is time to rip off that Band-Aid!

Personally, I like to use visualization. Others like to use positive self-talk to reframe the tough situation. Others hit the range using focused practice. Regardless which method you choose, you have accomplished the toughest part – deciding to make a change.

Improving your golf game is very much about conquering FEAR. Mine is mostly centred around hitting the ball short of the hole. I am choosing to make a positive change!

How about you? Are you ready for a positive change?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


9 thoughts on “Conquering FEAR in Golf

  1. Pingback: Using My Favorite Wedge to Lower My Golf Score – The Grateful Golfer

  2. Hi Jim, stood on the tee on a par three yesterday, the shot is all carry to the green. My playing partner asked me how many times had I been over the back of the green. The answer was never, I was usually short. So I took what I thought was too much club, hit the green and was happy with par, on a hole I usually bogey.


  3. Jim, I find that most players think they can hit their approach shots further than they truly can. I am also in this category. I would often hit 8 iron to a pin that was 145-150 yards away. Almost always, I would be short. If I did hit it long enough, I normally over hit the ball and hook it away from the green. I now hit 7 iron in these situations, which allows me to make a comfortable swing and I am rarely short to the pin. It took 2 sessions at a range that tracked distance electronically for me to understand that I simply do not hit the ball as far as I thought. This is true for all of my irons. Great article as Fear often creeps into our thoughts as we push to successfully manage the course.


  4. That’s interesting Jim. What caused the fear of hitting it short in the first place? Was it a hole with a water hazard fronting the green on a particular course that you dunked it several times?

    Always club up on approaches! 90% of amateur players are short on the approach (I think I’ve read that somewhere). I’ve seen it as much in all the pro-ams I used to play.

    Good for you for addressing this in a positive way for yourself!


    • Rick

      Great question. I think it started about 20 years ago in a tournament. I shot between 95 and 100. It was my worst game of tournament golf ever and was over the back of the green about 4 times. This scenario happen a couple times through the years since….hence, I will never be long again.

      I thought of this today while watching golf at the waste management 16th hole. Every player except 5 were one club short on their shot. Got me to thinking and poof, an epiphany!



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