Overcoming Fear While Golfing

By | on March 7, 2022 | 12 Comments |


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12 Responses to “Overcoming Fear While Golfing”

  1. David, I think the fear is caused by a lack of technique which leads to fear over problematic shots. It’s the same fear I had when taking an exam after not studying enough. Once you’re confident in the correct technique, which eventually leads to successful results, much of the fear dissipates.
    Yes, I’ve got a Phd in water balls and I finally realize they’ll continue to happen until I correct the faulty technique.

    Thanks, Ron

    • actually ron ur part right. bad or faulty technique leads 2 ur fear over ur upcoming shot,which than invariably leads 2 grabbing the club with too much pressure in ur hands & arms,which then leads to tightening,and tension,etc etc.try taking a big exhale of breath b4 swinging and i;ll bet ur technique will improve

  2. Hi Ron and Rich.

    Interesting you talk about poor technique and it is true. I’d like to also add that even players with good or great technique can experience fear. I don’t believe technique to be the deciding factor–fear can and does arise from something else–a past experience, poor interpretations, projections into an uncertain future and so on. A golfer who does this may or may not have good technique.


  3. To have this sensation of “tickling down in your stomach” is what makes many sports interesting :you have to overcome this “fear ” and when you do so you are exhilarated .
    Though I play pretty good golf ,I always have this “tickling in the stomach “sensation when I have to pull off a difficult shot from a bad lie ,lost in the forest ,over a large space of water ,hole a critical putt in match play ,the same sensation I had when passing an exam at the blackboard in front of a very stern looking examinator when I was young ,with a difficult mathematical problem to solve.My method was to tell myself :”he’s just another man like you ,imagine he’s naked in front of you ,then don’t be afraid ,he’s no better than you ”
    I do the same at golf ,except the difficulty is then my ennemy :I just negate it ,it isn’t there anymore .
    I’ll try your alternate method next time I face a tough shot or on tee number one ,in front of a large crowd !

  4. David, Please can you help me?
    I have a psychological blocking with only 2 clubs : 7 iron and 6 iron…
    However I perfectly know the technique ! My Pro wants to help me but… no succes at all. No problem with Driver 3 wood or hybrids and no problem with short game. I know that the only problem is in my head!!! Any thought ?

    • Hi Michele,

      First, I would get rid of the “claim” you make to the psychological blocking. The more you say it, the more it will be your experience. So, first step–STOP TELLING THAT TO YOURSELF AND ANYONE ELSE!

      I said this to a PGA golfer one time whose jaw dropped (what I really said is, “Here’s your first assignment–Shutup!). When he did–things began to shift.

      Explaining an answer via email can also prove difficult as the answer is NOT an intellectual one which is what you get in this venue–more tips and strategies.(which is why other tactics you’ve tried don’t really work).

      The simple truth is you “fall asleep” when it comes to the 6 and 7 iron and by “fall asleep” I mean you automatically and unconsciously slip into fear and doubt and self negativity about those clubs. It’s a TAPE that plays in your head without your permission.and when it starts–off you go with the negative ramifications of it.

      It’s not a reality at all (although you might think it is). It’s nothing more than a “lie”–you’ve put on tape.

      At the risk of self-promotion I would suggest getting “Wired to Win–7 Laws–21 Days…” because it’s not based on any intellectual change (meaning no tips or strategies) but rather an experiential one because there is one simple truth when it comes to real change and it is this:


      You’ve tried (and many others have) the intellectual approach (tips and strategies) and like most golfers–find sporadic results–if any at all. which is why I’m not a fan at all of that most common approach out there in the world of “Sports Psychology”.
      The false notion is that the tips/strategies will be the catalyst for the change and in many cases–they are not.

      Hope this helps?

  5. Waou ! Thanks for the prompt reply David.

    I’ll follow up your advice I am sure it will help

  6. Hi David,

    I wondered (from the above video, questions, and your feedback) about “expectations.” How expectations may or may not be related to what a player or participant in a situation gets excited or focuses upon what they are excited about. Expectations would be more directed towards potential rather than possibility-the former perhaps being less known by the player and this that much more interesting or exciting. However this could also be your skydiving example!

    Thanks for your insights. I regularly remind myself of your video about how much a player enjoys a good shot rather than time spent responding to a bad shot. I don’t always remember in time (!) but it is very useful.

    Craig Smith

  7. December 2, 2014


    greetings Coach Because i have been playing for a long time and have experienced most every kind of shot/ not all but many/ i am not really fearful of a shot because i probably have made the shot before/ i am though anxious as to whether i can pull it off/What i try to employ is something you taught some time ago /Intend /Expect/ Desire/ is this tip almost the same / Thanks

  8. December 3, 2014


    For me, there may be only a couple of instances on the course where I may fear hitting a bad shot, but on the greens from 3 to 5 feet away I am fearful every time of missing the putt, and I usually do.

    I assume asking myself “what am I excited about” and thinking about dropping the putt should help me improve as the focus is on the positive instead of the negative. Putting tips often suggest you envision the putt dropping, which I do, but then when I stand over the putt, the fear kicks in. I know I stand over the putt too long which allows the fear to creep back in, so need work on both mind and fundamentals.

    Any other mental tips on putting?


  9. November 7, 2016


    I think this is an outstanding comment! Interestingly, not only are you correct about the association between “excitement” and “fear,” but (as I think you are suggesting) in almost every situation the excitement comes BEFORE the fear, and then is either dampened by fear, or sometimes destroyed completely by it.
    Your comment also reminds me of a quote I once heard (by a famous coach, whose name escapes me at the moment). It goes something like this: “Make your greatest weakness, your greatest strength.” The only problem with that quote is that it is not always easy to see how to do that. Your comment supplies that missing link by reminding us to concentrate on the excitement about the opportunity that usually comes BEFORE you start feeling any irrational fear, and by doing that use the excitement to kill the fear, rather than letting the fear kill the excitement.
    Thanks again for an excellent thought and one that, as you observed, can be applied to almost any area of living!

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