Every Shot in Between
You don't just need a pressure-proof swing, you need a pressure-proof brain
When I Needed It
I've always known I had enough game to win on Tour, and my runner-up finish at the 2002 U.S. Amateur confirmed that for me. But before I could really compete out here, I needed to pressure-proof my game on every shot. That's why I turned to sports psychology consultant Neale Smith, left.
How You Can Do It
Neale says that an effective pre-shot routine gives you your best chance to hit the shot you have planned Follow his pre-shot routine like I do and you'll remain rock-solid under pressure.
Step 1: Collect the appropriate information for the shot. For example, gauge the yardage, the wind, pin placement, etc.
Step 2: Select the shot that fits the situation and is also something that you're comfortable with at that time. If you're not playing your best today, be more conservative.
Step 3: Imagine or describe what you are about to do. This will help create the intention of what you are going to do.
Step 4: Connect to the feel needed to produce the shot. Most players connect with their practice swings. Some don't rehearse at all. Find what works for you.
Step 5: Aim your clubface, body, eyes and mind. These four key elements must be aligned to start the ball on the line you've planned.
Step 6: Make a trusting motion using the cue that best helps you hit the shot you have planned. It may be a target cue, swing thought, swing feel, rhythm cue, or nothing at all whatever works best for you. Direct your attention to what you want to do and how you're going to do it. Fear of the potential result may get in the way of making a smooth, trusting motion.