In team formats, it pays to get the ball to the hole, if only to give your partners a good read. Most putts come up short because the player decelerates on the through-stroke. Instead, make sure your through-stroke is as long (or slightly longer) than your backstroke. It may not be pretty at first, but with practice and experience, your golf under pressure will be a thing of the past.
Golf Under Pressure: Minimize Your Swing Thoughts
Keep your game plan simple. Write it down on a piece of paper and keep your thoughts with you (in the cart, on the steering wheel- wherever). Refer to your game plan before each full shot.
Preshot: Visualize what you want the ball to do.
Address: Align the clubface where you want the ball to go.
Swing thought: Freely swing the clubhead.
Golf Under Pressure: Survive The First-tee Jitters
Excitement and nerves make you speed up your tempo, which affects consistency and accuracy. Take several deep breaths as you get ready to hit your first drive, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Swing your driver smoothly, as if you want to hit it only 100 yards, but firmly, to knock your nemesis ball into next week.
Golf Under Pressure: Make More of the Tough Short Putts
Playing a format that requires you to putt everything out? Set your putterface square to the desired line, then square your feet and shoulders to that line. Make a smooth stroke while looking at the target, and not at the ball.
Golf Under Pressure: Take More Club on Par 3’s
Few amateurs hit the ball over or through the green on par 3’s; because of this, most come up short. Select a club that will get you to the yardage at the back of the green. If you hit it flush, you are on; if you hit it less than solidly, you still might make it to the putting surface.
Golf Under Pressure: Score Lower on Par 5’s
Take a “do the math” approach. Most par 5’s are 500 yards or more. Make the last shot your favorite yardage into the green. Subtract that yardage, then divide the difference by two. With this strategy, you are hitting lofted clubs that are easier to hit and more accurate.
Golf Under Pressure: Get Out of the Sand in One Try
Good greenside bunker players accelerate the clubhead through the shot, letting the sand “splash” the ball out. This one time, it is okay to throw sand (sorry, Mom.). Set up with the face of your sand wedge slightly open, the ball slightly forward in your stance. Hit the sand behind the ball, and finish your swing like you are hitting with a full 5-iron.
Golf Under Pressure: Chip with Your Putting Stroke
To avoid chunking or skulling your chip shots, take a lofted club, like a 7-, 8- or 9-iron, and grip it like your putter. Lean the shaft and your body toward the target for a slightly descending blow. Make your putting stroke, allowing the loft of the club to carry the ball over the unpredictable turf and onto the green.
Golf Under Presure: Get Your Irons Airborne
Most topped shots occur when you try to help the ball into the air with a scooping motion. To hit down on the ball, set up with more weight on your left foot than your right (left-handers, you know the drill.). Take the club back more vertically and return it on a downward angle of attack.