Sand – The Struggle is Real

by: Andy Fish, PGA Professional The summer before my freshman year in high school I was playing golf with a couple buddies. On the third hole, I chunked a chip and smashed my club into the dry July ground. I looked down and saw the head of my sand wedge laying on the ground. I felt sick. A few months before, my family gave me this set of clubs for my birthday. We were living with my grandparents, my mothers parents, since my Mom and Dad split up the previous Fall. Mom was on the couch of our small upstairs apartment. I sat down next to her and told her what happened. She paused for a moment, then told me she thought this was a great lesson in self control. The sand wedge would not be fixed. I tried to explain that the sand wedge was a very important club, specialized to the point of only being less important than the Putter and Driver. I wanted to find a way out of this mess, but my hormonal adolescence was giving way to a sliver of maturity and I accepted that this was my problem. Over the next few weeks I practiced with every club in my bag, trying to cover the gap in my set. I worked on a bump and run with a seven iron which developed into a decent shot around the green. It worked well from the light ruff, fairway and collar. I opened my pitching wedge to hit higher softer shots. I was encouraged with my progress and my guilt was quickly replaced with a...

5 Skills for Overcoming Fear and Anxiety on the Golf Course

By: Andy Fish, PGA Professional Our brains react to things that are frightening. It’s a valuable trait for avoiding danger and staying alive. Unfortunately, our brains don’t have much nuance in this area and we react similarly to situations that are unfamiliar or uncomfortable. As a freshmen in high school, I had a fear of teeing off over water.  I was playing in a sectional golf tournament at an unfamiliar course and one of the holes by the clubhouse was a par three with an island tee box and a green on a small peninsula. My anxiety elevated through the round until I got to that hole. So, of course, I hit three shots into the water before I got a ball on dry ground. First tee jitters, the final holes of your best round and 2 foot putts can all constitute a stimulus for anxiety. They’re not dangerous, but your brain knows it doesn’t like the situation. Your palms sweat, breathing shallows and you might get quick with your actions and decisions. It’s very difficult to play in this state, so let’s fix it and look at some ways to overcome fear and anxiety on the links. Get familiar with the situation It’s simple, practice in the situation that brings you fear. A few years ago a student of mine had trouble with one hole on the course she played. It was a par 3 over water (sound familiar?). We walked out to the demonic par 3 with a bag of golf balls. One mission, slay the beast. Kristi hit many of the balls into the water at...