FEAR – Golf’s Greatest Enemy

Talking about FEAR is nothing new at The Grateful Golfer. It ultimate paralyzes us when playing and forces most players to change their approach to shots. False Evidence Appearing Real creeps into our minds and poisons our ability to play our best. Conquering that FEAR is key to shooting low golf scores. As a matter of fact, it is paramount to being a scratch golfer!

This quote drives home my point. Everyone player has that one shot they fear the most. Mine is any approach shot to the green over a hazard. It does not matter where the hazard is or how large it is, I FEAR making that shot. It is something I have mentally struggled with for years. That is until I was given some sage advice: aim 10 yards past the pin to the back of the green. 

I realize this seems strange, but what this advice empowered me to conquer my FEAR of hitting my ball into the hazard and being aggressive at the same time. I would say that because of this golden nugget, I have almost conquered this FEAR and will be able to move on to the next challenge in my shot making.

Sequin Valley Golf Course, 7th Hole. I used an extra club and made the shot without concern.

However, the FEAR of hitting the shot still bubbles under the surface. My FEAR of hitting over a hazard stems from years of hitting he ball short on approach shots. Of course, being short is disastrous when hitting over a hazard and it took years before I could not break the cycle. However, now I rarely hit the ball into a hazard due to FEAR (miss hits yes, FEAR no). I am still wary of hitting it short, but by being overly aggressive, I am less likely to lose strokes due to poor shots.

The strange thing is I cannot remember where I acquired this sage advice. It could be from a reader or a friend, but no matter it has helped me fight my FEAR of hitting an approach shot over the green.

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

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5 thoughts on “FEAR – Golf’s Greatest Enemy

  1. Pingback: FEAR – Golf’s Greatest Enemy | Golf Keola Life

  2. I think Fear of failure is a huge issue in golf. Just playing a round of golf with your buddies doesn’t invoke much fear, but playing in tournaments is a different thing. As Davis Love III has said, “Golf is a different game when you have a pencil in your pocket.”

    The only thing scarier than standing on a tee box with water in play or the dreaded white stakes hugging the fairway is your third shot from the same spot after the first shot found the hazard.

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    • Brian

      Hitting the same shot from the same position is very scary! I generally walk around and rethink the hole, then start freshish…..the poor shot is tough to banish sometimes. Thanks for pointing out another fearful shot.

      Cheers Jim

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  3. My biggest fear was always hitting my 3 wood off the deck. Because I was really bad at it for so long. Tee it up and that same 3 wood was a favorite. But off the deck I would freeze up. While I still don’t consider that a favorite option, I’ve overcome it enough that I no longer blow it just because of the fear.

    There a golf course I’ve played a few times behind a tiny little town about an hour outside of Atlanta Georgia called Helen that has a course called Innsbruck. There is a par three there that will test your fear of hitting over a hazard to the max. It’s a totally unique in my experience. The sign at the blue tees says it plays 135 yards which doesn’t sound hard at all but you can’t see anything from the tee box because your hitting into a little canyon and with the green deeper than it is long. You have to look over the rail near the cart path before walking up two levels to the back tee box. It’s got woods close in on 3 sides and a creek/marsh area you need to clear to reach the green. The big problem is during times of the year when it gets foggy. The fog sometimes fills in so thick in the little canyon around the green that they have a huge 5 foot fan down behind and left of the green to blow it out. But if you play the course early enough that the fog is still around, all you can see is a swirling white cloud. Nothing but white mist. Not even the top of the flag. Hitting a totally blind shot over water to a relatively small green when you can’t see a thing is a true test of faith in your swing. The rest of the course is pretty fun too. And if your wife isn’t a golfer, she’ll have no problem spending time shopping in Helen which is set up like a little swiss village. All chocolate and Christmas type shops.

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    • Kevin

      That hole sounds awesome and frightening at the same time. A totally blind shot is one that takes plenty of trust for your game. The entire combination sounds like a scene out of a horror show when the audience is telling the hero golfer not to go there! Thanks for describing the hole in detail. I can almost see it now!

      Cheers Jim

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