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Under Pressure? Centre yourself.

As we return to golf, competitions will hopefully soon resume and in this blog we’ll look at how you can mentally prepare yourself for the pressures that a round of golf can bring.

Whether you’re having the round of your life, or a round to forget somewhere across your 18 holes you’ll be met with some kind of pressure, on the tee or on the green either from yourself or your playing partners.

Now, if you’re anything like me, this pressure often causes tee shots to be sliced, putts to be left short, and a long walk to retrieve my thrown club. But what can you do in these situations to prepare yourself when the temperature rises?

Centre yourself.

Based around removing the negative thoughts and focusing on the shot at hand, centering is a way of maintaining composure and retaining control of the situation, no matter the occasion.

How Do I Do It?

There are 4 key steps to centering yourself and they are crucial in removing distractions and executing the intended shot.

  1. Replace negative thoughts surrounding the shot at hand with a positive one; e.g. turn “this is a long putt” into “I’ve made these putts before”
  2. Centre your attention, focus internally on the shot at hand; how will the putt feel? How will you swing the putter to ensure you sink the putt?
  3. Begin to focus externally on the shot, what do you need to account for; how are the greens running? What breaks are in the green and this putt?
  4. Execute the shot. When you’re ready, take the putt, be sure not to overthink the shot, and prepare for execution as soon as you feel physically and mentally ready.


Can I just use it?

As with any psychological techniques, these must be worked on individually as it may take more time not only to implement into your game, but also to execute.

With more important shots it may take more time to centre yourself, and with different types of shots, for example a tee shot may take less time than a putt. Therefore it is important to understand how you centre yourself and how long it takes you.

To find out more

For more psychology resources visit psych-chek. To learn more about the effects of centering, have a read of this research using it in ice hockey. Although it’s a different sport, the same principles can apply.

About the Author

Luke Vidler

An amateur golfer and recent graduate of Chichester University. I have both a BSc and MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology and am keen to utilise my knowledge in practical situations, even if I can’t help myself!

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