Three Keys To Handling Pressure
Terry "The Wedge Guy" Koehler is in New Zealand this week speaking at a PGA Seminar. While he's out, we're going to feature a "Best of The Wedge Guy" article from the past. This article was originally published June 30, 2009. Enjoy!
Whether you play competitively or not, "pressure" is a big part of this game. Even if we are out for an evening practice nine, when we get over any shot, from drive to putt, we are putting "pressure" on ourselves to perform to our best capability.
So just what is pressure? My Dad used to tell us the story about a guy who wanted to learn how to walk the tightrope. He strung a rope across his yard about a foot off the ground and started practicing – first just balancing, then walking, skipping...he got where he "owned" that tightrope. So he decided he was ready for the big top, and joined the circus. The circus manager says, "Well, climb up there and show me what you've got." When he got to the top and looked down about thirty feet, he couldn't even get off the platform.
Pressure affects all of differently, but it affects all of us. How can we totally jack a two foot putt sometimes? Or chunk a chip shot? We don't do that on the practice tee! But then, how can tour pros hit some of the gosh-awful shots we see them hit coming down the stretch? No one is immune.
Thank you to Clinton F., from Quantico, VA for asking about pressure. His email said:
"How do you handle pressure putting and hitting shots around the green when you are amped up and can't feel your hands?"Well, Clinton, that does happen to all of us, and I'm going to share my Three Keys To Handling Pressure. I'd like for all of you to chime in with your own personal keys that you use with success. But here are mine:
And let us know your keys to handling pressure, too.
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[ comments ]
I eat pressure for breakfast. Just kidding I just felt like saying that.
My breakfast usually causes a build up of pressure.
Scott Shields says:
I would add that a good pre-shot routine is helpful. It helps me leave whatever situation I'm in (mentally), and put myself back onto the range or somewhere that I'm comfortable.
I think Ben Hogan has said that under pressure he would make a swing with one or even two fingers of his left hand off the end of the grip to ensure that he had a light relaxed grip and could feel his hands. Try it on the practice tee.
7 Days in Utopia was published in 2006. Hardly a new book.
I eat pressure for lunch.
Kurt the Knife says:
I get pressure after eating breakfast and lunch
The biggest problem for me is recognizing that I'm starting to get worked up. It would be nice if I had an early warning system before I chunk that shot because I'm too tight.
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