Let’s talk a little about putting under pressure. What is it about that 3 footer for par on the 18th green that makes our mind race, and ultimately miss what would normally be an easy putt? Is it really the 2 dollars we wagered on the backside or something else?
Years of practice and tournament play lead us to believe its something else. Pressure is something that we assign to ourselves. The demons of the mind and the fear of failure all come into play here. We’ve all done it. Whether your Fred Couples stabbing at that 5 footer to win the Shell Houston Open or Billy Bob trying to win the Club championship we know and or have seen people put horrible strokes on putts under pressure. There is something in the mind that recalls and duplicates the missed putts of the past under pressure. What’s interesting here is we have far more experiences of making the same putt. The pressure will not allow our minds to recall this.
For years it seemed only Tiger Woods was exempt from this phenomenon. For well over a decade he was able to make putts under pressure from any length to win or force playoffs. Sadly even he now suffers from what all other golfers do. It’s summed up in a single word. DOUBT! He is no longer convinced he will make the putt. We mere mortals of course can only marvel at his ability in the past to not be plagued by doubt.
The simplest way to deal with pressure is to remember that in the end this is a game that we play because we love it! Whether the putt is made or missed. Whether we win or lose, our dog will still be wagging its tail thrilled to see us when we return home victorious or vanquished. Let’s face it the only person who really cares about that putt is you. A clear sign it doesn’t really matter one way or another. The Sun will rise tomorrow. You will play again. So here’s the best formula for putting when it really counts. First off RELAX !! In your mind put yourself in a practice mode, on a practice green you’ve spent hours on. Your looking at a putt you’ve made a hundred times, stay in your routine, take a nice deep breath and EXHALE. Failure to breathe won’t help here. Remember you’ve made this putt hundreds of times. Then roll the rock without expectation. Follow these tips and you’re going to make a lot more of these shots from now on.
When working on improving your game, you may find our other golf tips helpful. Let us know what you think and how you deal with pressure in the game.