Golf & Stress

Every time I go out to play golf I find that I experience differing levels of stress throughout my round.  It can vary from anxiety over hitting your first tee shot in front of strangers, hitting a ball OB at an important point in your match with a buddy or even no stress at all since you are just out screwing around with some friends which can lead you to not focus enough and make haphazard swings.

The funny thing about stress and golf is that sometimes I feel like certain levels of stress or anxiety can actually help me focus.  I am not talking about the kind of stress where you walk up to the tee box and all you can think about is the OB water to your right and you inevitably hit your ball dead right into the water.  I am also not talking about the kind of stress where all you can think about is the potential negative outcomes that surround your next shot, rather I am talking about the kind of anxiety that makes you take into account all of the hazards in your way before hitting a shot.

It is not wise, in my opinion, to just hit shots and not take into account the possible pitfalls around each shot.  That to me seems a bit cavalier.  Rather, I like to see the hazards in front of me, accept them for what they are and visualize my shot once I have registered them.  There is nothing wrong with seeing hazards for what they are, accepting them as potential hazard and moving on.  To pretend they do not exist is naive.

I find that when I am able to feel that sense of anxiety on the course and accept it for what it is it allows me to focus on the shot I need to hit as opposed to just hitting a shot and hoping it works out.  The course is what it is and it does not change much each time you play it so why do we let ourselves get caught up in the negative outcomes that can potentially take place instead of thriving in the moment and visualizing success?  If there were an easy answer to this question more people would be better at golf, but I would be interested to hear what some of the mental coaches out there think about stress on the golf course.

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One Comment to “Golf & Stress”

  1. I am not a mental coach but the best advice I’ve received to combat stress is to develop a sound pre-shot routine and follow it on every shot regardless of the situation or stress level. Once you become automatic in your routine you execute the same every time and insulate yourself from the pressure. Yes, this is advice from Dr. Bob, but you might have guessed that. Good luck!

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