Adopting A Proper Practice Routine Will Calm Your Nerves Out On The Course
I’m often asked by my students how professionals handle their nerves on the course. “How do I avoid choking under the pressure of a shot to a green that’s surrounded by danger?” For amateurs, how they control their nerves and be confident with their club choice before taking aim is absolutely critical to consistent scoring. The simple answer behind this is practice. Not just practising hitting the ball, but simulating the shots you will need on each hole during your next round.
I often tell my clients to “play their course” when on the practice range – go through each shot from tee to green in the order they would if they were playing the course itself. Professionals do this simulated routine week in, week out on tour. They always know the course they are playing and the shots they will need on each hole. It’s why they have practice rounds, to see what shots they’ll need to practise. After simulating this on the range, they go out and eliminate pressures caused by tension and doubt over each shot simply by replicating what they’ve just practised. This style of practice will give you the confidence required to play any hole on your course, too.
QUICK TIP: Overcome the fear on holes with danger around the green – like water – by always aiming for the centre of the green, not the flag. Too many amateurs attack the pin and inevitably get penalised with a poor result because taking on the flag is generally the low-percentage play with the highest risk of failure. Take your medicine, block out the lurking danger by aiming for the heart of the green – or the section with the largest landing area – and play for a two-putt par at worst.
Remember, if you practise the correct way, your mind and results will change dramatically because you will have eliminated any perceived pressures that previously haunted your game.