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...