On a recent trip abroad I picked up a book to read on the journey, it was called “Deep Survival” by Laurence Gonzales. It looked at some of the elements of why some people survived in certain situations and why others did not. In the book one of the things it describes is that fear is a natural survival mechanism and that part of our brain is hard wired to create certain responses to this fear. The Amygdala is considered part of the limbic system and research has shown one of its primary roles is our emotional reactions. I’m sure this small almond shape part of our brain is going to be important in a certain way if we are stuck in a Peruvian jungle after a plane crash, but how does it affect our golf.
Sometimes we are going to be faced with certain situations on a golf course that we are going to be fearful of, a lob shot over a bunker off a tight lie perhaps or a drive down a narrow fairway. These are by no means life or death situations but non the less your amygdala may not know the difference so it kicks off its emotional response to fear and before you know it you’re in no shape to deal with the shot. Fear breeds tension it can also set off chemical responses in your body that are going to have a very negative affect on our abilities to execute precision golf shots. But we can learn to deal with these situations.
Practise and play under pressure, invite this fear so you can prepare yourself and you then begin to know the sign and responses you need. Concentrate on the procedure of your golf shot work on your routine don’t focus on the outcome. Keep an awareness of the state of your physical tension let those deep diaphragmatic breaths help to slow and compose everything.
Fellow PGA Professional
Appointments with Paul for golf lessons in Wicklow can be booked via Powerscourt Golf Club Reception: Tel (01) 204 6033 or the Golf Shop Tel (01) 204 6031. Read more about lessons from Paul Thompson by visiting the Powerscourt Golf Club Website.