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No matter what level of golf you play at, chances are you’ve been in a situation where you’re under pressure. That pressure is never greater when you have the chance to shoot a fantastic score.

Whether that is the course record or breaking 100 for the first time, the feelings are the same. You can feel your heart beating faster and the club is a little heavier in your hands. It can certainly make golf tricky, but it’s still possible to play great golf when you feel like that.

For the majority of players, the game becomes more difficult when there is something on the line. I’m sure you can relate to a moment when you have had the best front nine of your life and you’re mind starts to drift to how many shots your handicap will come down by, or the message you will be sending your friends once you finish. It’s at this moment that the wheels come off and your mind gets in the way of you playing good golf for the remainder of the round.

Next time you find yourself in this position, remind yourself of these three keys things.

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1. Remember to breathe

Concentrate on your breathing as you walk into each shot. When we get nervous and anxious, focusing on this will help to relax you and take your mind off your score or the situation. Breathe in for four seconds, inflating your stomach, hold for four seconds, then breathe out for four seconds. Simple. 

2. Fully commit to the every shot

Commit to the decisions you make. Whatever club you pull out the bag, you must 100% believe that it is the right club for this shot, and put a positive, committed swing on it. If it turns out it was too much or not enough club, you will probably only be about ten yards out. However, if you stand over a shot still wondering if you have chosen the right club, the chances of you hitting a good shot will drop. 

Best golf down the stretch
Never hit a shot unless you’re fully committed to it. (Credit: Getty Images)

This is true at any time at your round, but especially when you’re under pressure. Commit to the shot and you won’t go too far wrong.

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3. Break it down

Instead of thinking of what score you need for the back nine to shoot your best score, break the round up into three-hole chunks and set yourself a score target for these holes. For example, a 12 handicapper should, on average, bogey two holes out of three holes if they are playing to their handicap. A target for them may be to play holes 10, 11, 12 in one-over, as two of the holes might be easier; on holes 13, 14 and 15, the target may be two-over as there is a tough par-3 in that stretch.

The main benefit of this is to not think too far ahead, and almost distract you from the bigger picture. It may be that if the player finishes two-over for the last three holes, they will break 80 for the first time in their life. It might be wise to set a target to play the last three holes in one-over and not think about the 18-hole score. 

If you follow these steps, you’re going to give yourself the very best chance of keeping that dream round of golf going.

Alistair Kyle is the senior PGA Professional at Trump Turnberry and a member of the bunkered Performance Panel. You can find out more about his coaching HERE.


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