By Paul Myers
Playing good golf under normal conditions can be a tough task, as you surely already know. Playing good golf under pressure? That can seem downright impossible, at times. One thing any golfer can do to test his or her skills is to play in a few tournaments and find out how their game holds up when there is some pressure involved. If you take this step, you can quickly find out what parts of your game are solid, and which need more work. In addition to being fun and exciting, golf tournaments can be a great way to take another step in your development as a player.
With that in mind, it makes sense to work on putting together a golf swing that is resistant to the pressure and unlikely to break down just because you get nervous. It is important to understand that no golf swing is ‘pressure proof’ – the nerves can get to everybody at one point or another. However, the more fundamentally sound and consistent your golf swing is, the better chance it has of being there when you need it most.
Limit the Role of Your Hands
When the pressure starts to get intense, your feel and touch may not be as sharp. That means chipping and putting can become much more difficult, and a golf swing that relies on timing and a lot of hand action through impact may cause some struggles. Players who have a golf swing that limits the role of their hands, and especially mitigates rotation through impact, are in much better position to hold up against the nerves.
When you are working on your golf swing on the driving range, try focusing on making a swing that uses your big muscles to bring the club back and through. Some people can handle being more handsy, but minimizing hand action on approach shots and around the greens might be worth trying. Of course, your hands can still play a part in the action, but if you can do a lot of the work with your big muscles, you may be more resilient to pressure.
Focus on Balance
This point goes along with the previous one. Golf swings that are off-balance at some point can sometimes use a lot of hand action to ‘rescue’ them at impact. Try improving your balance so that you are swinging from a solid base on each and every shot. This can be good for your game overall, when you are playing under pressure and when you are just playing for fun. Practicing balance is a good way to help improve your golf swing, so make it a habit to include some basic balance drills in your regular practice routine.
Control Your Trajectory
It can be fun to launch the ball way up into the air – but shots like that when not necessary may be difficult to control under pressure. Instead, make a golf swing that hits controlled trajectory shots (lower to the ground) so you might have an easier time hitting your targets when you start to get nervous. There is a time and place for high shots, but that time is not always for when the pressure gets turned up. Work on hitting some lower shots on the practice range and you may start to feel a level of control that you don’t have over higher shots.
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