Whether you’re on the first tee at a PGA Tour event, or facing a big putt against your buddies, at some point, we all get nerves when we play golf.
But even though the nerves happen for different reasons, the way golfers of all skill levels deal with them can be remarkably similar.
For that, just ask Wyndham Clark.
The up-and-coming PGA Tour player has played his way into contention a handful of times so far in his career, but every time he’s felt the nerves.
“The thing about the Tour is that winning changes your life,” Clark says. “You’re a little bit tighter, you’re a little bit shorter with your swing, it’s not that anything changes, you can just feel it.”
That’s what led Wyndham to ask some PGA Tour veterans for some advice on how to handle pressure, which he discussed on his recent appearance on GOLF’s Subpar podcast.
According to Wyndham, some guys said it was simply a matter of getting reps, plain and simple.
But Clark said his best advice came from David Duval, the former British Open champion who won an astonishing 11 times in 18 months between the end of 1997 and the start of 1999.
“He said ‘it’s amazing what happens when you hit fairways and greens”
He continued, relaying what Duval told him:
“Try to hit every fairway, try to hit every green. It doesn’t matter where it is [on the fairway or green], but just try to hit all of them and add it up at the end.”
Now, of course, recreational golfers aren’t going to be able to hit every green like a pro might be able to, but the principle is the same.
When you’re playing a big match against your buddies, are competing in the club championship, or even just trying to play well at your first time at a nice course, follow Duval’s advice to Wyndham: Forget about chasing at pins or bombing drives.
Try to hit it anywhere in the fairway, and aim for the middle at greens. When you’re done, add up the number of fairways and greens, and see how you did.
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