Anyone who has played golf for at least a year would realize that golf is 90% mental and 10% skill.
This is so more true as you get to a higher level such as scratch golf or pro golf.
The truth is, most PGA Tour players today can hit the ball as good as the guy next to him.
The real difference between top players who win tournaments and the guy who finishes last in a PGA Tour tournament may be blamed purely on mental state of the player.
I have mentioned in many of my previous tournament analysis that the player who is tougher nearing down the last 3 holes of the tournament usually wins the golf tournament.
That is completely true, most golf tournaments are decided on the last 3 holes.
For example, even the 2009 U.S. Open came down to the last 3 holes where Lucas Glover made a birdie on the 16th hole and parred out the rest while everyone else had at least 1 bogey. I am sure it could have been different if Ricky Barnes, Phil Mickelson, or David Duval birdied couple of those last holes.
Or even take a look at the miraculous win by Tiger Woods at 2008 U.S. Open, where Tiger had to birdie the last hole to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate. Tiger dumps his drive in the rough, then procceeds to hit his 2nd shot to the rough, and barely makes it to the green. But Tiger’s mental toughness has helped him make that 10 footer downhiller under intense moments of pressure, not just his skill or luck.
So, how to get this mental toughness?
Well, first you need to be in that state of pressure, if you have nothing to go for, there’s no pressure.
You can easily practice this type of pressure while you practice on the driving range or play a round at your favorite golf course.
What me and my pro golfer friends like to do is actually bet money and play a skins game during the course of the round. This “pressure”, even if it’s a dollar a hole, will make you focus more on “playing” the game and also let you “practice” pressure golf.
When I am at the driving range, I like to play games with myself. I will challenge myself to hit 10 of 10 shots to within 100 yards. (You can also read about developing your bread-and-butter shot by signing up for my newsletter in the free E-book I provide.)
Another way to engage yourself in pressure golf at the driving range is to actually play a round of golf in your mind.
That’s right, I will imagine my favorite golf course and actually hit my drives, approach shots, and pitch shots. I make it so real that I actually go through my whole pre-shot routine, which is a must if you want to play great golf. (I will also do a blog post soon on how to develop and maintain a pre-shot routinne later this week.)
A lot of people don’t like to gamble on the golf course but gambling with your friends is actually one of the best ways to improve your game and practice “pressure” golf.
You don’t have to bet a lot of money, even pennies will do, just so long as there’s something on the line, mainly which boils down to your confidence, not really money itself.
So again, make sure you play for some money (or even house duties) the next time you play golf with your friends and family.
One of my favorite things to do was play skins game with all the seniors at my local club and take all their money, even with handicaps given for them. Now, that was a lot of fun because the seniors enjoyed playing with good young golfers like me, even if that was losing couple bucks every time.
Next time you go out on the range, don’t just mindlessly bang golf balls after another, practice “playing” on the practice range.
I hope these golf tips help you play better the next time you try to let your friends pay for your dinner and I will have to get back to getting my golf game up to par so I can try out for the PGA Tour next year.
P.S. One of the keys to playing well under pressure is to simply enjoy golf and have fun. Can you remember how many times you played good and had fun?
Oops, another golfing secret spilled…