Before taking their first practice swing on a hole like this, many golfers may jinx their shot by visualizing the ball ending up in the trees, in the water hazard or in the fairway bunker.
Instead of dwelling negatively on the challenges of a narrow hole, take a deep breath, shift your focus to the middle of the fairway and plan the shot you’ll need to make in order to achieve your goal. Use these three Pro Tips when preparing for a challenging tee shot.
Your best shot at avoiding trouble starts with accepting the challenge. So, stop fighting — that’s your first step.
Settle your nerves by taking a few deep breaths and visualizing your shot soaring down the middle of the fairway. Fixating on the trees, water and trouble ahead will only make it more difficult to hit the target. Tricking yourself into imagining that the hazards aren’t there can help you eliminate the built-up pressure as you address the ball.
Next, put that driver away.
While some professionals feel most confident using their driver in difficult situations, amateur golfers are commonly more accurate with fairway woods, hybrids or irons. Although your tee shot may not make it as far as you’d like, playing a longer second shot from the fairway is closer to ideal than playing a shorter second shot from behind a tree.
Once you have your club selected, fixate on a landmark or specific aiming point. You have the ability to hit this target, so continue visualizing your shot ending up right where you want it to go.
As always, your last step is to swing.
Glance at your target one last time, take a practice swing or two and then take your shot. Golfers of all skill levels commonly adjust their swing subconsciously in order to avoid trouble. However, this can also cause problems. Picking a target and taking your natural swing can drastically improve your odds of achieving a desirable outcome.
Although it might be impossible to eliminate nerves from the game of golf, developing a repeatable and calming routine is a great way to improve your play on difficult holes. Practice these steps during each round and you could repeatedly find the short grass.