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Mental Game: How to think like a champion

Mental Game: How to think like a champion
Jesse Lenz
How to think like a champion.

STEEL WORKER: Try these pressure-packed games before your next round and watch your on-course nerves fade away.

ADVERSITY
Against a friend or in two-man teams, play three "holes" from just off the practice green. Start with your ball behind an unusual obstacle, like a beer cooler or golf cart. Lowest score wins.
THE BENEFIT: Fannin says it trains you to not only accept adversity, which is part of golf, but to see it as an "opportunity for heroism."

GRAND SLAM
On the practice green, try to make four straight five-footers, each on a different hole; as you go, imagine that each putt is to win the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA. If you fail to "win" the British, back to Augusta you go. Play until you win the Slam.
THE BENEFIT: "This taps into what's called 'situational imagery,'" Fannin says. "Champions visualize doing great things before doing them."

MOMENT OF TRUTH
On the range, give yourself a clear task -- say, hitting drives between two flags, or landing wedge shots on a green. If you hit your target, that's a "birdie" (1-under); if you miss, it's a bogey (1-over). Play until you win (reach 5-under) or lose (5-over).
THE BENEFIT: This gets you aiming at targets, not hazards, Fannin says, and calibrates your mind to deliver in the clutch. "Stress can either choke you to death or lift you up. This game turns you into a pressure player."

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