9 Tips for playing well under pressure
Get Every Putt to the Hole
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.
Minimize Your Swing Thoughts
Keep your game plan simple. Put it on a piece of paper on the cart steering wheel and refer to it 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.
Survive The First-tee Jitters
Nervousness makes you speed up your tempo, which affects consistency and accuracy. Take several deep breaths as you get ready to hit, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Swing your driver smoothly, like you want to hit it only 100 yards.
Make More 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, not at the ball.
Take More Club on Par 3s
Few amateurs hit the ball over or through the green on par 3s; 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’re on; if you hit it less than solidly, you still might make it to the putting surface.
Score Lower on Par 5s
Take a “do the math” approach. Most par 5s 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’re hitting lofted clubs that are easier to hit and more accurate.
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. 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’re hitting a full 5-iron.
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 onto the green.
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. Take the club back more vertically and return it on a downward angle of attack.