In my earlier years, I was wracked with worry when I teed it up! If I entered into a competition (friendly or serious) forget it; I would seize up for a hole or two until I hit a few good balls and had time to relax. Of course as time progressed and my game improved, I started to worry less and less. This does not mean that I do not have any worries, but any fears about my general game is overruled by my mental game.
During the past 10 years or so, I remember four instances where I was worrying so much that I could barely swing a golf club. Twice was on the first tee and twice was on my approach shot into the 18th green. I all cases they were in a tournament, but that is not the reason I started to worry because competition is the best way to test my overall golf game.
To cut to the chase, the reason I was so nervous was there was a crowd of my peers watching me hit. I all four cases, I was the first to hit and was setting the stage for a possible head to head playoff. I guess there was a bit of pressure in these stroke events, yet I believe that I should have been able to perform regardless of the situation.
Interestingly, I was less nervous on the fourth shot, so that is a positive. I feel that my mental game was developing and I realized that most of my worry was self-imposed. Actually, ALL of my worry was self-imposed. As a take away, I now have a more relaxed approach to all shots. Hit or miss, I react the same way (or at least try too).
Now, if I am in a situation where I must hit a great shot, I rely on my pre-shot routine to focus my thoughts and to let my body know it is business as usual. I worry less about making any shot now than ever in my playing career. Now, I think the only time I would be nervous is if I teed it up with e-friends and fellow golf bloggers.
I am sure Brian, Kevin, Mike or Josh would not give it a second thought watching me hit, but I thing I would want to impress them and as such the pressure would be on. Actually, I would probably be more excited to tee it up with these guys and hopefully I will be able to in not to distant future.
Every golfer worries about something on the golf course. The trick is to not let it affect your game. I use my pre-shot routine to set the stage for success, what do you use?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!