To a non-golfer, it’s tough to imagine what could scare anyone about playing such a docile game. Any actual golfer can list a bevy of terrifying scenarios, none more frightening than a long shot over water.
It’s true, no bodily harm is threatened by such a shot. Unless you’re a professional competing in a tournament, the only financial implications are the potential loss of a new golf ball or two. And knocking a ball into the drink is unlikely to damage your marriage or other key relationships.
So why do these situations strike such fear in the hearts of golfers? Well, there’s the universal aversion to failure, for one. Number two, a shot into the water invokes a score-damaging penalty – and golfers can be serious about their scores.
The irony is, the more you fear a bad result, the more likely you are to suffer one. If nerves often get the best of you in challenging circumstances, try the process vs. outcome approach.?
- Acknowledge the hazard in planning your shot, then put it out of your mind.
- Focus intently on your pre-shot routine, taking care to follow each step until you draw the club back. In other words, control that which you have control over.
In any tense situation, it’s good to take deep breaths and slow yourself down.