Originally posed by Michael Breed, host of The Golf Fix on Golf Channel and posted by Adam Young from Turnberry Performance Academy, the multiple choice question was...
Which golf shot gives you the most pressure?
For most golf beginners, almost every shot comes with its hair-raising moments, from setting-up to standing over the ball and then taking the shot, but there is one time which most players agree gives them that extra shudder.
Choices for most anxious-laden shot included:
Opening Tee Shot
Shot Over Water
Pitch Over a Bunker
Can you guess which golf shot was selected?
Yes, it was the dreaded drive on the first tee. Why would this shot cause more stress than flying your shot over water? Perhaps it's the pressure while people are watching or not knowing that you have visualized the shot properly - and would you believe that even the former number one golfer in the world steps up to the tee with reservations?
Tiger Woods definitely has first-tee jitters, says former teaching pro Hank Haney. "He has no problems finishing, but he's had problems starting, Most players are the other way around."
If, as Hank Haney states, golfers have the most trouble finishing a hole, it would be safe to assume that putting offers almost as much anxiety as driving the ball.
In my opinion, putting or finishing out the hole, can lend itself to a yip or two with about three hundred thousand mentions of "The Yips" on Google. Putting to save par or when you have the opportunity to make birdie or even EAGLE, can bring out a cringe or two in almost any level of player.
What can be done to help you relax before your shot and relieve some of that "in-the-moment" angst?
Visualizing your shot and focusing on your game, hole-by-hole, instead of your score with your mental thoughts being "one shot at a time" can take the worry out of a round and help you perform with confidence.
Taking a deep breath before you're ready to "pull the trigger" definitely helps, writes Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club Director of Instruction Jerry Mowlds, and having confidence, knowing that you are going to make a great swing, is another way to help calm the nerves as you start your round.
Performance anxiety is a normal part of any sport; it's how you rise to the challenge which will determine how you finish. Believe in yourself and your score will take care of itself.
How do you deal with golf course jitters? Let us know on this golf blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.