I’ve been teaching the short game for more than 30 years, and it continues to be a wonderful ride in Golf Magazine, between the ropes at PGA Tour events, on the Golf Channel and at our schools with everyday golfers like you. To celebrate this 50th Anniversary of Golf, I want to commit to giving you the best possible instruction to improve your game over the next few years. That may sound like a difficult task to accomplish, but I can do it based on something I’ve learned from my teaching: When you set up over a shot with fear, anxiety, dread, or a feeling that “this probably won’t turn out well,” you’ve got a problem. The tension of fear tightens your muscles, restricts your swing, degrades feel, and distracts your mind with negative thoughts and apprehension.
For example, check out the photo at left. I’m pitching the ball over one sand bunker and stopping it short of another. This shot strikes fear into many golfers’ hearts. Because you fear it, you’re toast before you start your backswing. Even if you’re okay with this situation, there are others out there that induce dread and anxiety. Everyone has a “least-favorite” shot. By focusing on these shots, and then teaching you to play them with confidence, I can remove tension from your game.
What shots do you fear? I bet you can think of at least three. Many golfers don’t like to pitch from tight lies. Others start shaking in their spikes when facing a lengthy lag putt or driving to a tight, tree-lined fairway. Whatever your least-favorite shots may be, the only way to conquer them is to apply the I-L-P Process: 1) Identify your weakness; 2) Learn a better technique; and 3) Practice to groove your solution. If this sounds simple, it’s because it is. Only after you face a weakness and work to improve it can you turn it into a strength.
To identify the shots you fear the most, visit www.pelzgolf.com/fearedshots and choose from our candidate list (add new ones if yours are not already there). Then, look for our “fear” series in the pages of Golf Magazine and the Pelz Vault. By the time the new golf season hits, you will have completely removed fear from your game.