How to Play Fearless Golf

By: James Murray

The golfer who is relaxed and confident plays a better game of golf than one whose knees are shaking at the thought of sand traps. Fear is one thing you never want to take with you to the driving range.

Problems with a good player are almost always mental in nature. Thinking clearly really is the name of the game. And a clear head is impossible when fear reigns.

So if you change how you think, you change your game. Do not worry why the ball flew where it did. Just keep your mind focused on the next shot.

One of the big problems for some folks is that they constantly worry about what others will think of them if they make a bad shot. If you are thinking about how someone else is going to perceive you, you are not concentrating on the ball, on your swing, on the basics.

Must you have the approval of others? In the grand scheme of life, is hitting a bad shot truly a disaster you can never overcome?

Psychologists tell us that we tend to become a composite of the five persons we are around the most. Maybe you need to find some more relaxed folks to practice with.

Playing with a perfectionist translates into "no fun". Why ruin the joy of the game for yourself? Find friends you can play the game with just for the pure enjoyment. Your game will likely improve as you are less tense and able to swing more freely.

One help in this aspect of overcoming fear is to concentrate solely on your game. Ben Hogan wrote that "to ignore the gallery and the other golfers, and to shut my mind against everything but my own game" was key to his concentration.

If you are worried about what others think, chances are your game is really inconsistent. You are overly aggressive one second and overly conservative the next.

The key? Focus on the target, not the situation. Ignore the stakes. Just concentrate on your game.

Perfectionism not only causes ulcers, but it ruins the joy of the game. Top players refine their skills every year. They are always improving in little ways that add up. You are not always going to play your best game, and you will never play a perfect one, no matter how skilled you are. Work to improve little faults and your game will gradually get better and better.

Smiling widely relaxes your facial muscles, and serves you well in overcoming anxiety. Get into the habit of smiling before hitting the ball instead of furrowing your brow.

Do not dwell on mistakes. As Tiger Woods says, "I hit it and forget it." You can't go back in time and replay a shot, so just forget about it and move on.

Do not worry about what others think of your shot making. Overcoming that fear alone will improve your game vastly! And when you are ready to play your next game, think confidently and stay focused.

You will soon become a master of fearless golf!

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