Do you know how to stay calm under pressure?

Golfers at all levels have pressure at some time on the golf course. Stressful situations can either work for you or against you. If you try too hard it will interfere with your rhythm and coordination and you will lose your motivation. Only hit shots that you know you can pull off. Let go of trying to hit perfect shots.  When you are feeling uncomfortable in a pressure situation, know that you can calm yourself by changing your thoughts. Deep breathing will calm your body and slow down your mind. Know that you are in control of your mind and your emotions and how you interpret the situation.

Here are five mental golf tips to practice for staying calm in a pressure situation.

  1. Think flexibility. The more flexible you are in your thinking, the more control you will have. If you are rigid in your thinking you have limited options. Be ready for anything unexpected that might happen. It is said that golf is a game of recovery. Mistakes happen. Large numbers happen. Three putts happen. Accept what has happened and move on.
  2. Believe in your ability. If you don’t believe that you deserve to play well, you won’t. Belief in yourself and in your ability is what separates the winners from the losers. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there is something wrong with your golf swing. Thinking will make it so! Believe in your ability no matter what the results are. Trust that you can pull off the shot.
  3. Focus on the task at hand. You have a very active mind. Be decisive! Once you make up your mind don’t change it. Stay in the moment by using a consistent pre-shot routine. Visualize the positive result you want. Thinking negatively leads to a forced, steered swing. See the shot you want, feel the swing, trust it, hit it and enjoy it. Align your focus with the solution and not the problem.
  4. Talk to yourself positively. We all have negative thoughts that we replay in our heads. These are the voices of fear of poor shots we hit in the past, or anxious “what if” thoughts of what we think might happen. To keep your mind in the moment, put all self-talk in positive, present tense, active verbs. Instead of saying “I can make this putt,” tell yourself, “I am making this putt.” To reinforce the affirmation, visualize the putt rolling along the line and dropping in the cup.
  5. Accept your own personality. Most people like to think of themselves as who they would like to be, not whom they really are. You will play your best if you honor your own unique style. Ben Hogan felt most comfortable keeping to himself. Fuzzy Zoeller and Chi Chi Rodriquez felt most comfortable joking and talking to the gallery. Keep your focus on how you are most comfortable. Decide to be yourself.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

If this information was helpful to you, and you want to learn more about how to improve your mental game, call Joan for a complimentary 15-minute consultation. She can be reached by phone at 828.696.2547, or through the Positive Mental Imagery website or blog. Other tips to improve your mental golf game are available on the website, where you can purchase empowering self-hypnosis mental golf CDs. 

A new mental golf book is available now on and 

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.




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One Response to Do you know how to stay calm under pressure?

  1. jim martin says:

    joan you have really help me with your help i started this year in the high nineties now i’m in the low mid nineties thanks to you i only play once a week and 71

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