It's that time of year where clubs and courses are starting their tournament calendars. And that puts your game on another level. Bobby Jones said that there was golf and tournament golf, and they're not much alike. I think he's right.
Pressure does strange things to people, and it is best illustrated when you put your game on display with something on the line. Some people like to gamble on the golf course. It's totally different playing a friendly game for a few dollars than it is to have a hundred or more on the line. And some people rise to the pressure better than others.
We saw that on television on Sunday. The best players in the world hit some shots that probably made you scratch your head.
How does Tiger Woods hit a pop-up dead pull on 14? Then follow it with a clutch birdie? How do these guys dunk short 9-iron and wedge shots on 17? Even at their level, the nerves can tighten and put you all out of sorts.
If you like to play tournaments, just understand that your game will be under a different kind of pressure than your regular daily game, even if you play for considerable wagers. There's just something about it. But playing for something every time you are on the course does help prepare you for the pressure of tournament golf. If you don't like gambling on golf, find other ways to put pressure on yourself. Challenge your performance with something you like or dislike ... mowing the grass, doing dishes, household chores, etc.
The key is that you have to subject yourself to pressure in order to get comfortable with it.
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“There are only two types of player–those who keep their nerves under control and win championships and those who do not." - Harry Vardon
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