Golf is one of those games that you really don’t know how good someone actually is until they have some pressure put on them. Most good players can hit quality range shots and even light it up playing 9-holes with their buddies. A true test of pressure is competition. This past weekend at the Ryder Cup you saw a ton of players under pressure. Some handled it well (like most of the Europeans on Sunday), and others had struggles coming down the stretch. These are the top players in the world and they have trouble at times when the pressure begins to be poured on. The easiest suggestion is to challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to fail.
As golf instructors and coaches, we here it all the time, “I don’t want to play in that event because I’ll make a fool of myself”. The problem is that if you never challenge yourself to be in an uncomfortable position then it is hard to reach your potential. A player that may have a 22 handicap and wants to get it down to the ‘teens can do a lot more than just improve their skills. Although that will help, playing in a few club or local tournaments will get them understanding how their body and mind react in certain situations. You can’t tee up another ball for fun or give yourself the 4-footer after a hard chip. Competition makes you focus and execute each shot.
Often times, players tend to fail in their first few events but then something magical happens; they evolve as golfers. Each player matures at various levels and times but it is the player who puts themselves in uncomfortable and challenging positions that learns the most in a short period of time. When you understand your tendencies and can play a tournament on a different course set-up and with players you don’t know then you have taken the next step in the game of golf. You have evolved your mental toughness and had to execute shots that were not necessarily in your wheelhouse. These players that put it all on the line to see where they are really at in the game of golf can achieve levels that they never thought were possible.
Next time you have the opportunity to play in your club championship or even a Captain’s Choice event around the area, I recommend to sign-up. Not only are these events fun, but it will give you a chance to look yourself in the mirror and see if you can pull off the shots you have poured so much of your time into practicing. It is often the most challenging of events that brings out your best.
Are you curious about your potential?
Please let me know if tournament golf interests you and we can discuss this more in depth and help you on your way to becoming a better player.